If you are exercising regularly and have established your basic fitness level, interval training is a way for you to develop your endurance and your strength capacity.
Interval training refers to varying the pace of your workout session from easy right through to a maximal effort. A combination of slow/fast paces engages both your aerobic energy system for endurance and anaerobic energy systems for power and speed.
Here’s how intervals work:
You engage in a series of short exercise blocks (from 10 seconds up to a few minutes long) separated by a rest or low-intensity period. For example, 45 seconds at 65-80% effort (huffing and puffing!) followed by 45 seconds at 50% effort (taking it easy!) repeated a number of times.
As your fitness improves, you can lengthen the higher exertion times, adjust the easy times, or adjust the total duration of the interval training set (easy plus hard). Always make sure you warm up properly before doing your interval set.
Interval training might sound complicated at first, but you’re probably already doing some form of interval training in gym class or on a school team. For example, short burst of high intensity is exactly what happens when you play team sports such as soccer, hockey, or basketball. If you’re already participating in these types of sports you’re already doing interval training! However adding additional interval training on the side will improve your fitness for your game.
Remember that you have to go fast to get fast! With this approach, you’ll get faster by mixing going faster with going more slowly than usual.
The best part about interval training is you can mix up the workout each time you do it so it never gets boring. Try playing around with your interval sets to make it more stimulating both physically and mentally.