Home Sports and Fitness Interval training: you should know that!

Interval training: you should know that!

by Josephine Andrews
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It is suitable for jogging, walking or swimming: In interval training, units with high and low intensity alternate. It burns more calories than moderate exercise. It also improves strength, endurance and general athletic performance. Read more about interval training here.

What is interval training?

So-called interval training is a training method in which high-intensity stress phases alternate with recovery phases. In principle, you can use it in any sport. Jogging, walking, swimming or cycling are particularly suitable for interval training.

A complete program consists of several moderate-to-intensity exercises separated by low-intensity sessions or rest breaks.

This is how interval training works

Interval training typically consists of a warm-up period, followed by repetitions of high-intensity exercise separated by low-intensity sessions or rest periods. A cool-down follows at the end.

Beginners can make stress phases shorter and recovery phases longer. After some time, the performance can be increased and the time of the respective intervals individually adapted to the training level.

Interval training: these types exist!

Depending on the intensity of the exercise, a distinction is made between aerobic and anaerobic interval training. Both types can be combined with different sports. Interall training is possible while running, with the racing bike, while swimming or even on the treadmill.

Aerobic Interval Training (LIIT)

Aerobic interval training is also known as low-intensity interval training (LIIT). You alternate between moderate to moderate intensity training intervals and rest periods, with training periods being longer (up to 10 minutes) and the pauses being shorter (about 2 minutes). Overall, the training should last between 10 and 60 minutes.

Aerobic describes a metabolic process and means “with oxygen”. The aerobic energy metabolism starts at low to medium training loads. But what happens in the body?

During aerobic interval training, the body burns fat and carbohydrates to provide energy . For this he needs oxygen. This conversion takes place in the S-fibers of the muscles. These are designed for sustained, moderate loads.

Ideally, the heart rate during aerobic interval training is no more than 85 percent of the maximum load, in the rest phase it ideally drops to 100 to 110 beats per minute. So you shouldn’t push yourself to the limit during aerobic training.

Tip : You can roughly calculate your maximum heart rate. It depends on your age. Men calculate it as follows: 220 – age. For women, the calculation looks like this: 226 – age.

Anaerobes Intervalltraining (HIIT)

During a particularly intensive workout, the so-called high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a lot of energy is needed quickly and the body’s own oxygen is then no longer sufficient. In this case, the body uses carbohydrates from which it can generate energy even without oxygen. This includes the glycogen in the muscles and glucose in the blood.

With high-intensity interval training, high-intensity phases (about 30 seconds) alternate with rest phases that are twice as long. The load is usually above or close to the anaerobic threshold – the point at which lactate builds up in the body and leads to tight muscles. The heart rate can be 85 percent to 100 percent of the maximum value in the stress phases.

The disadvantage of this rapid generation of energy: Under certain circumstances, degradation products such as lactate and protons are formed. They cause muscles to become acidic, which in the long run threatens a drop in performance.

Read more about HIIT here .

Does Interval Training Help You Lose Weight?

The high intensity in the stress phases puts a lot of strain on the muscles, which burns a lot of calories even during the sports unit. Interval training can support fat burning and contribute to fat loss.

In addition, the muscles need a lot of energy after exercise in order to regenerate. Due to this so-called afterburn effect, the metabolism remains elevated even after training, which consumes additional calories and helps with fat loss.

Interval Training: Benefits

In addition to the increased calorie consumption, interval training has other advantages. We have summarized them for you:

  • Endurance improves in less time than moderate exercise
  • positive effects on heart health
  • anaerobic threshold is shifted upwards
  • Oxygen and blood circulation is improved
  • the metabolism is stimulated
  • Movement in general has a positive effect on the psyche

Interval training: disadvantages

Interval training puts a greater strain on the body than moderate exercise, for example. Especially overweight people and beginners should be careful at the beginning because the heart and joints can quickly become overloaded.

Also, don’t be too ambitious: Otherwise, the risk of overuse injuries such as torn tendons or ligaments as well as joint damage is high. So get started slowly and ideally have a trained trainer show you the exercises.

Who is interval training suitable for?

In principle, interval training is suitable for both beginners and professional athletes, as the training can be adapted to individual fitness.

People who are very overweight, have joint problems or other physical limitations should consult their doctor beforehand. Pregnant women and women after childbirth are better off avoiding interval training.

Training plans for interval training

Almost every sport can be practiced as interval training. We have summarized some examples of a typical program for you:

This is how interval training works while running

In principle, you can design interval training while running freely in terms of the length and number of tempo runs – depending on your performance.

A full circuit (400 meters) is ideal for this. Do a tempo lap on the track and then trot 200 meters. Then another tempo run of 400 meters follows. Repeat this about four times. As your fitness increases, you can add more tempo runs.

How fast you are in the fast intervals depends on your personal fitness and the intensity of the training. Try to use your heart rate at 85 percent to 100 percent. A fitness bracelet or a heart rate monitor can be a good tool here.

Interval training exercises at home

You can also do interval training at home. Some classic exercises can be used for this, such as:

  • Hampelman
  • pushup
  • plank
  • lunges
  • squats
  • Burpees (sequence of movements of squats, push-ups, and stretch jumps)

For interval training, do one of these exercises for 15-20 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat this process for several minutes, varying the exercises during the high-intensity phases. 10 minutes of interval training is enough to get started. Later you can increase the total training time.

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