Interval Training (cont.)
In this Article
Is interval training the same as cross-training?
Interval training is not cross-training. Cross-training is a break from your normal workout where you train using alternative exercises. For instance, you could use the treadmill instead of the elliptical, the bike instead of the treadmill, or some other combination. With cross-training intervals, you could switch machines and start intervals (for example, switch from the elliptical to the treadmill), or you could stay on the elliptical and start intervals. A cross-training workout that includes intervals will increase your fitness and performance and can break up the boredom of your normal routine.
I'm a bodybuilder. Should I do intervals?
There's conflicting opinions on this. Some individuals suggest that intervals will burn too much muscle and reduce mass. Others argue that the conditioning from intervals will allow for more weight lifting in the gym, which ultimately leads to more muscle. I suggest experimenting until you find the right combination of intervals and weight lifting that works for you. Cut back on interval training if you find your muscle growth isn't what you expect or you're too tired from the intervals to give 100% to your bodybuilding workouts.
Should I warm up before interval training?
Absolutely. Intervals are tough on your muscles and your heart and so you need a good warm up beforehand. I recommend an 8-10 minute warm-up or performance at your active-recovery intensity before you hit the work intervals. As previously mentioned, consult with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about interval training being too tough on your heart.
What should I do for a cool-down after interval work?
I recommend a minimum of five minutes of cool-down at a low intensity after your intervals. I also recommend stretching afterward because the leg muscles will be tight after an intense session. Quad, hamstring, calf, and low-back stretches will help. Sometimes muscles are too tight to stretch immediately after your interval session and so you might want to stretch later in the day.
Wrapping it up
There you have it. Interval training is an efficient and effective training method that will help you improve your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, your performance, your recovery from short and intense bouts of work, and all in less than one-fifth the time of traditional aerobic conditioning. Intervals are tough but worth the effort. Give it a try and see what you think. Good luck with your training!
Burgomaster KA. "Similar metabolic adaptations during exercise after low volume sprint interval and traditional endurance training in humans." J Physiol. 586(1) Jan. 1, 2008:151-60.
Last Editorial Review: 6/6/2008
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