High Intensity Interval Training

One of the side-effects of being laid up at home after a minor operation on my foot is that I have time to read about fitness, instead of trying to get to the gym and actually do something about it…

Like many people I’m a convert to the power of interval training to give measurable fitness effects whilst minimising the time spent on a boring cardio machine at the gym, and I’ve started to think about what workouts I might need to get back into the fitness habit when my foot is recovered.

I spotted this article in the current edition of Men’s Health, reporting on studies at the University of Oklahoma into the effects of interval training. The results they claim are impressive, after 6 weeks of three 20 minute sessions per week the subjects had an average increase in maximum oxygen uptake of 18%.

The routine is based on a 2 minutes work / 1 minute recovery cycle, with 5 sets per workout (except Wk 5/Day 1 and Wk6/Day 2 which call for 6 sets). With 5 minutes warmup before that comes to 20 mins per session.

The target work heart rate in this plan is very high – from 90% to 115% of calculated Maximum Heart Rate. As various people have pointed out in the comments to the original article, how can you work at > 100%? The answer seems to be (i) calulated MHR is just an estimate, and (ii) for targets >= 100% just go flat out…

When I get back into the gym (which might be three weeks at this rate) I’ll give it a go…

Reference: Cardiovascular Interval Training – Men’s Health.

I’ve started planning this out on this wiki page

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