Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sample Workout: Sprint Intervals

I hate doing cardio.  Have I mentioned that yet?  So when I force myself to get it in, it's quick and simple (don't confuse that with "easy").  Interval training is definitely a staple in my weekly workouts. 

Alternating bouts of high-intensity exercise with a rest period two to three times that length is a popular way to do intervals (i.e. 30 second interval followed by a 60-90 second rest).  The total numbers of sets completed in one session depends on your fitness level.  What you choose to do (sprinting, cycling, squat jumps, burpees, etc.) is up to you.  Get creative! 

Keep in mind, this is no joke.  High intensity means working as hard as possible for the given time period.  So hard that you'd have trouble mustering out a few words if someone asked you what the hell you were doing.  And so hard that if you had to push for an extra ten seconds more than you intended to, you'd struggle to maintain the same effort level.


I decided to torture myself spice things up by varying the rest periods to increase the intensity.  I sliced 15 seconds off each rest period until the sprint was actually longer than the break:

  • 30 second sprint*
    • 60 second rest**
  • 30 second sprint
    • 45 second rest
  • 30 second sprint
    • 30 second rest
  • 30 second sprint
    • 15 second rest
After pyramiding down, I went in reverse and added the 15 seconds back on:

  • 30 second sprint
    • 15 second rest
  • 30 second sprint
    • 30 second rest
  • 30 second sprint
    • 45 second rest
  • 30 second sprint
    • 60 second rest
  • 30 second sprint
    • DONE!
Nine and a half minutes later I was sucking down air like it was going out of style. 

It's a great option for fellow "cardio haters", after a weight training session, or in place of the usual bounce-on-the-elliptical-for-an-hour-while-simultaneously-flipping-through-Us-Weekly-and-glancing-up-at-the-TV routine. 

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!


*Sprints were done in an indoor multi-purpose room
**Rest periods were just that - rest!  This consisted of me pacing around, catching my breath, and keeping an eye on the clock.

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