Interval training is all about a specific type of physical training which combines or alternates between low intensity and high-intensity exercises within a specific time. The short bursts of activity rev up the body and the slower periods help the body recover before it can move into high-intensity phase again. For example, one such interval training session can be a few minutes of warm-up followed by 15 minutes of working in which every alternate minute is the high-intensity workout. At the end of the session, there are a few minutes of cooling down.
Does interval training help in increasing muscular endurance?
According to many fitness experts and sports coaches, interval training is the best possible way to enhance aerobic capacity, cardio fitness and push back the lactate threshold. The lactate threshold is the time when lactate starts to accumulate in the body. Its slow formation is better for muscle endurance.
- Interval training may be better for weight loss since it boosts metabolism significantly during the high-intensity phases and gives the body enough time to recoup for the next phase.
- It helps in enhancing glucose metabolism which is essential to build muscle endurance. It can also lend itself to building up aerobic capacity.
- Fitness improves quicker with interval training. The more intensive interval training sessions can show results in a very short time frame and this can help professional athletes too.
- Muscular endurance is enhanced with muscular recovery time and with interval training, such recovery time is shortened. Muscles are able to bounce back faster and therefore become stronger for continuing with the interval training.
The different interval training methods or exercises:
- The simplest way is to devise a program that lasts for around 20-30 minutes. With a comprehensive warm-up session, the interval training session can start with a minute of slow walking or jogging and then a minute or 2 of rapid walking or jogging. Slow down again and speed up again and carry on for 15 minutes. At the end, take another 4 to 5 minutes to stretch and cool down. This kind of interval training is called HIIT or high-intensity interval training or sprint interval training.
- There is also a Little Method which has a minute of high-intensity workout and 75 seconds of rest. This regime is carried out 3 times a week. In 2009, this study demonstrated that the results were similar to the results achieved by people who worked out 5 times a week.
- The Tabata Method first came in 1996 and based itself on the IE1 protocol. It advocates 20 seconds of highly intensive exercising followed by 10 seconds of rest. This schedule should be repeated for 4 minutes continuously. This is done 4 times a week.
- In terms of exercise routines, one can choose from stair climbing, sprint and walk routines, jumping rope and plyometric exercises.
Interval training is a great way to enhance muscular endurance and for first timers, it is important to start small. Instead of undertaking a training session for 30 minutes, do it for 15 minutes and then build up speed and time gradually.