Sunday, June 7, 2009
Interval Training- How to Look Like the Man Below
It is widely known that interval training is a better method for burning calories, increasing cardiovascular capacity, and athletic performance compared to steady state work. During interval training, your body will work very hard for a predetermined amount of time, and then there will be a recovery period provided for up to 5 times the duration of the work period (or perhaps even more in some special cases). Although we know this information, there are still people looking to reach their fitness goals , but doing so in an outdated manner (steady state). Here are the facts:
Burning More Calories- Interval Training forces your heart rate above comfortable levels during the work interval. During the recovery interval, your heart rate drops a little bit back down to a comfortable level, but is then increased again. Over the workout, your heart rate will more than likely drop less and less during the recovery interval (depending on how efficient your cardiovascular system is). The Result is a higher average heart rate over the course of the workout and thus more calories burned over the same amount of time.
Increasing Cardiovascular Capacity-While performing intervals, there are two key components increasing your cardiovascular capacity, both are adaptations to the workload. First, the work interval is producing lactic acid in your muscles and your body's ability to regulate this lactic acid, and remove it from the system is an adaptation that will increase your Anaerobic Threshold and allow you to do more intense activity for a longer duration in the future. Secondly, your body is adapting by increasing capillary beds (i.e. more blood vessels) to accompany more oxygen to be effectively delivered to the working muscles of the body. With a greater area of oxygen delivery, your body will get more oxygen in a shorter amount of time- More efficient, and therefore be able to tolerate more work- Increased Capacity.
Athletic Performance- Tailoring Interval Training to a the demands of a specific sport will increase your fitness level fro that sport. For example, if it's found that during a soccer game, a player will run 15 yard sprints on average 20 times per half, you know that your training should last about 15 seconds in duration (work interval) accompanied by jogging periods (recovery interval) for about 20 times in 45 minutes. This is specific training. Obviously intervals do not necessarily need to be exactly on time, but the closer the better I think and the more the athlete will benefit. Maximize your benefits with a more specific conditioning plan.