Cardio training series (Part 2 of 4)

Introduction to Interval Training

Victor Tringali MS, CSCS, PES, CPT

In part one I discussed working towards achieving the minimum levels of physical activity. Now that you are able to maintain 30 minutes of exercise I thought it would be appropriate to introduce you to an efficient protocol for improving cardiorespiratory performance.

High-intensity interval training is a time-efficient strategy to induce rapid adaptations in skeletal muscle. Furthermore, high-intensity interval training has also been shown to reduce risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome compared with moderate-intensity continuous exercise in a variety of patient populations. [i]

During this phase of training you will complete a two day rotation that consists of a lower intensity day followed by a higher intensity day.

Day one will consist exclusively of performing lower intensity training (65-75% of maximum heart rate) for 30-60 minutes. Day two will begin with a 5-10 minute warm-up of lower intensity training.  You will then perform a one minute interval at higher intensity (80-85% of maximum heart rate) followed by a 3 minute recovery period at lower intensity. You can repeat this 1:3 rotation for 20-60 minutes. As your conditioning progresses you may increase the time in the higher intensity zone until you achieve a 3:3 ratio.

Performing your cardio training on equipment such as a Smooth Treadmill, Elliptical, or stationary cycle will reduce impact and stress and provide a more enjoyable workout.[ii]

Train Smart and good luck!


[i] Jonathan D. Bartlett, Graeme L. Close, Don P. M. Maclaren, Warren Gregson, Barry Drust, & James P. Morton; High-intensity interval running is perceived to be more enjoyable than moderate-intensity continuous exercise: Implications for exercise adherence; Journal of Sports Sciences, March 15th 2011; 29(6): 547–553

[ii] Michael A. Clark and Scott C. Lucett,  2008 NASM Essentials of Sports Performance Training pp163-164

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