Fitness Articles

Get Results with Interval Training

Add Fun and Variety to Your Workouts

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During a complete workout, you go through five to ten cycles of high and low intensity. Depending on your fitness needs, you can vary the length of each interval, number of intervals, distance, and speed.

Try these interval workout ideas!
(Always remember to warm up for a few minutes before you start, and don’t forget the cool down at the end.)
  • Cycle or run at high intensity (determined by your fitness level and/or your heart rate monitor) for one minute. Follow this with three minutes of lighter cycling or running. Repeat this cycle ten times for a 40-minute workout.
  • If you are walking outside, walk as fast as you can for one block, then an easier pace for two blocks.
  • If you are on the elliptical machine, increase your speed and/or incline for the first minute of a song, and slow down on a flatter grade for the remainder of the song.
  • If you are up for the challenge, utilize a one-to-one ratio, with three minutes at high intensity followed by three minutes at lower intensity.
Remember, the point is to push yourself just beyond your comfort level, but not to the point of complete exhaustion or injury. Tailor the timing to what you want to accomplish. If you are a beginner jogger, interval training (alternating between jogging and walking) can be a good way to get started without having to run for 30 minutes straight. Happy intervals!
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About The Author

Liz Noelcke Liz Noelcke
Liz is a journalist who often writes about health and fitness topics.

Member Comments

  • I absolutely LOVE interval training! It gets my heart pumping, my muscles toned, and the workouts just seem to fly by! Great article, thank you! - 6/10/2014 7:08:32 AM
  • SKOLOTAJA
    I just turned 70, and am in good health and would like to keep it up. Is HIIT safe for this
    age? - 6/7/2014 8:13:28 PM
  • Wow, without realizing it (and knowing I needed to do something) I added jogging into my daily walks to raise my heart rate. Gee, am I finally realizing I want to exercise, rather than I have to exercise. - 1/23/2014 11:22:13 AM
  • CKTALL
    Good info that I can begin to incorporate immediately - 1/4/2014 10:56:30 PM
  • Great article. - 9/14/2013 9:58:12 AM
  • At my aerobics class the instructor sometimes does what she calls interval. We do warm up, cardio for 10 minutes then pick up our weights and do 4-5 different strength exercises without restine, then back to 10 minutes of cardio, second set of strength, back to 10 minutes cardio, third set of stength, then cool down and stretch. The class lasts 60 minutes. Always feel like I've gotten a good workout. - 7/9/2013 10:13:48 AM
  • Martial art and other self defense practice are natural forms of interval training, because the rule of specificity makes high intensity the right way to do it. Once you learn basic technique, like blocking, striking with the hands and feet, changing position, and so on, the exercise can be done about anywhere, and takes no special equipment.

    These movements tend to involve the entire body, and concentrate on the midsection (if they're done right). Also if they are done right they are good meditation, since focus is on relaxation and concentration. And since you are also increasing your ability to defend yourself, you get more bang for the buck, as the saying goes.

    One of the best self defense techniques is running as fast as you can, over all sorts of terrain (even in your own house), mixed with walking when you are too tired to run. This is also good interval training. - 4/14/2013 12:11:49 PM
  • LNBLACKSC
    CJT 183
    how are you doing on your interval training ? - 4/13/2013 9:14:56 AM
  • I love, love, love interval training! It is TOUGH, but I love it. Usually I do interval training on the elliptical, stationary bike, treadmill and with DVDs. On the elliptical, I'll push myself to the limit during the chorus part of a song and then level off during the verse of a song and if on the treadmill, I'll jog for a entire song, then rest one minute, walk at a steep incline for an entire song, then rest for one minute, then repeat. - 4/13/2013 8:34:04 AM
  • SNYDERSOFVLORA
    good article. Interval training definitely helps get into better shape, BUT, where is the weight training?? That can be done in intervals as well and is an important part of any fitness program.
    To answer the question "Can Intervals be done IN THE POOL"
    YES! Basically interval training means that you vary the intensity of your workout, so swim at "sprint speed " for a short period of time until you heart rate in up, then at a slower pace while you recover, repeat this cycle just like the article recommends for running! - 4/13/2013 6:01:02 AM
  • NSSREENIVASAN
    It seems to be a good work out. I too do the same. Run for 200 to 300 m and walk for 1 km and again run for 200 m and walk. This way I can maintain the energy level. - 4/13/2013 5:04:24 AM
  • ANDYI1950
    I like the interval type...still trying to figure out what controls it ..heartbeat? Time? OR?
    I am 62 , 198... - 3/3/2013 9:48:43 AM
  • is there a way to do intervals in the pool? - 11/8/2012 8:13:29 AM
  • is there any way to do intervals in the pool? - 11/8/2012 8:11:14 AM
  • TWEITZY
    Oh, one other point: one reason that interval training helps burn more fat overall is because of the AFTERBURN. It all comes down to elevated metabolism after your workout is completed – the afterburn, a.k.a. POST EXERCISE OXYGEN CONSUMPTION.

    Let’s put this in perspective: Say that you worked out at 8AM on Saturday. By way of metabolic resistance training or interval training, you’d still be burning calories from that workout while out at the TV on Sunday.

    You want to burn calories while watching Sunday football? Now you can.



    - 8/27/2012 12:11:27 PM
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