Many of us want to get in and out of the gym as quickly as possible but still have an effective workout. This goal is achievable but will require a bit of planning. Here I will explain how you can ensure a successful fitness program using interval training.
Cardio & interval training
Unlike low-intensity steady state (LISS) cardio, which is slower in pace and can be at times boring, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) aims to introduce periods of sprinting within the cardio session to provide spikes in energy demand.
For instance, your session is 10 min long, and you aim to sprint in an on and off fashion over 30 second periods (30s sprint, 30s rest, 30s sprint…). Meaning there will be 5 min worth of sprinting and 5 min recovery from the sprints.
The heart needs a warm-up too, to avoid sprinting from the outset, rather taking two to five minutes to ease your body into the cardio before introducing an interval.
Interval training is fantastic for increasing your calorie expenditure in a shorter period of time, and will over time increase your aerobic capacity. It can be performed on any cardio machine to spice up your training!
Commonly known as a super-set, the idea is to perform one exercise set and then while resting perform another exercise using a different muscle group.
An example is performing a set of seated leg extensions (Quadriceps) followed by seated leg curls (Hamstrings) followed by a brief rest and restarting the exercise rotation. The aim of the super-set is to get more done in less time, and one can literally super-set any two or more exercises.
The secret though is to choose two exercises that work opposing muscle groups. This way, one is working while the other is resting, vastly compacting the workout and increasing the density of the workload.
Remember that super-setting is very effective for saving time, however, it’s very taxing on your energy reserves. Super-setting will increase one’s work capacity and endurance strength over time.
Utilizing both of these techniques one is able to get a great deal of fitness-related work done in less time. The balance to these techniques is your recovery time, as your recovery time will reveal to you when you are able to sprint again or when your next super-set begins.
So pay close attention to how you feel, and if you have a heart rate monitor; be sure to check its reading when resting and when sprinting or super-setting.
Tyrone Wessels is a Personal Trainer and Power Yoga Teacher based in Johannesburg, South Africa