Wright: Interval training protocols
The Fitness Trail
Last week we discussed the circuit training protocols and this week, the protocols of interval training will be highlighted. As mentioned, you may utilize interval training within a circuit training format. However, interval training drills may be integrated into many different training formats including outdoor cycling, indoor group cycling, Olympic/power lifting, swimming, track/field and every other sport/activity you can imagine. And, the purpose of the interval training drills is critical in determining the structure and application of the intervals.
For example, if the purpose of the interval training program is to promote muscular strength, the intervals may be similar to 30 seconds exertion, 15 seconds recovery and 30 seconds exertion with the tempo of the movement patterns kept slow and controlled. Versus a power interval training program that might feature Tabata-style intervals which are usually 20 seconds all out exertion, 10 seconds recovery and repeated several times with a longer recovery interval between blocks of high intensity interval training drills.
Consequently, a few basic protocols may be followed to ensure that the interval training intervals are set up and designed to achieve the desired outcome of the training program. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
• Protocol #1 In general, the higher the exertion interval level, the longer the recovery interval. You may certainly apply a one-to-one ratio such as 30 seconds of exertion and 30 seconds of recovery to many different training modalities. However, if the expectation is to truly go all-out, to a point of 100 percent exertion, then the recovery interval, in general, must be long enough to enable the client to recover adequately to exert at that highest level again during that training session. Olympic and power lifting intervals, true sprint interval training on a bike or track/field, when performed to true failure, require longer recovery intervals in order to perform the next set of repetitions to failure again.
• Protocol #2 And, if you are attempting to perform HIIT and you recover prior to the end of the recovery interval, this may indicate that you are capable of pushing more intensely during the following interval.
• Protocol #3 While there are variations, as mentioned earlier, Tabata training, as another interval training example, may be four or more exercises such as pushups, squats, burpees and mountain climbers, performed in sequence. Each exercise is performed for 20 seconds exertion/10 seconds recovery/8 rounds. Consequently, you would perform pushups for 20 seconds, recover 10 seconds and repeat that series eight times, then recover for one minute and move on to the squats, burpees and mountain climbers in that same exertion/recovery/repeat eight rounds/1 minute recovery sequence. Due to the high intensity level of this type of interval training, the entire program duration tends to be shorter and the program should be performed on non-consecutive days to avoid over training.
• Protocol #4 You may interval train every day of your weekly training program, with different training modalities. Avoid consecutive days of HIIT programs. Perhaps add an aerobic, sustainable aerobic power or stability/mobility/balance interval training on the days in-between. This keeps the interval training workout interesting, less likely to cause over training and subsequent overuse injuries and, consequently leads to the outstanding fitness outcomes and results that interval training may provide.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at http://www.mtnlifefitness.com, her email at firstname.lastname@example.org and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.
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