This is where the true benefits of interval training become clear: Our soccer player, however, may be guilty of the cardinal sin of all training: The very nature of the session working at high-intensity leads to the belief that the athlete should be thoroughly exhausted at the end.
Yet it is the route to that exhaustion that is often ill-considered how to make the session more than simply running flat out for as long as possible and then going again on command. The coach should have a clear idea of the physical demands of the sport concerned, particularly the metabolic demands with regard to which energy systems are utilised during the performance.
Video analysis of a match can determine typical activity patterns for games players, or heart rates and lactates can be monitored in a race. Armed with such information, you can make sure that the session you are considering is geared to the demands of your sport. Most coaches can gather this information from books and articles about their sport, but measurements on individuals can also help to build up the picture.
With the demands of the sport in mind, the coach should carefully consider each of three key aspects of the session: Each of these can combine to govern which energy system is utilised to provide the bulk of energy in the muscles used during the mechanical work. If, for example, our soccer player wishes to improve his speed off the mark, he should choose a session with short but explosive activity such as 30m sprints at maximal speed.
In such short intensive work, the recovery should be long enough to allow repletion of the HEPs, because if the recovery is too short an alternative energy system will have to be recruited and the quality of the session will be impaired. Judging the exact recovery time to perfection is not always easy.
High-Intensity Interval Training
Research has shown that the repletion of HEPs, after a sprint, starts very quickly and then slows. It takes about 20 seconds for the HEP stores to get back to half of their resting level, but a further seconds to be topped up to normal. Therefore, if our player wants to keep the quality high, the recovery period should be about three minutes. In winter this may mean putting on and taking off clothing in between the short reps. Sprinting quickly is only one aspect of soccer, and there may need to be a session dedicated to the ability to repeat high-quality sprints in rapid succession.
This will require a different type of interval session because the player is working on the recovery aspect. Here he should cut the recovery between bursts so that the work is repeated before the HEPs are fully back to resting levels. Such activity requires a greater contribution from glycolysis, a different energy pathway that breaks carbohydrate down, producing ATP very quickly. A series of such sessions may well improve not only lactate tolerance but also the time required to replenish the HEP stores, both of which should enhance soccer fitness. The type of recovery between efforts is also of paramount importance.
Simply standing around with hands on hips, or bent double, is far less effective than walking or, better still, jogging. This active recovery actually helps to remove and disperse lactate that accumulates in the working muscles during intensive exercise. Indeed, active recovery can almost halve the time that is taken for muscle and blood lactate to return to resting levels after an intensive burst and is likely to be even more effective in the aerobically training athlete.
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Another type of session can work on both of these aspects as well as on the oxidative system. My policy became "intervals only" if you wanted to do extra work. I did not do this as a fat loss strategy but rather as a "slowness prevention" strategy. However, a funny thing happened. The female athletes that we prevented from doing steady state cardiovascular work also began to get remarkably leaner.
I was not bright enough to put two and two together until I read the above-mentioned manuals and realized that I was doing exactly what the fat loss experts recommended. We were on a vigorous strength program and we were doing lots of intervals. With that said, the focus of this article will be not why, as we have already heard the why over and over, but how. To begin we need to understand exactly what interval training is?
In the simplest sense, interval training is nothing more than a method of exercise that uses alternating periods of work and rest.
Conditioning - Interval Training - HIIT or Miss?
The complicated part of interval training may be figuring out how to use it. How much work do I do? How hard should I do it? How long should I rest before I do it again? Interval training has been around for decades. However, only recently have fitness enthusiasts around the world been awakened to the value. The recent popularity of interval training has even given it a new name in the literature. Interval training is often referred to as high-intensity Interval Training HIIT , and it is now the darling of the fat loss and conditioning worlds.
Truth is, you can also do low-intensity interval training. HIIT may make you vomit if you do not work into it. A recent study by Gibala et al.
The result was amazing. Subjects got the same improvement in oxygen utilization from both programs. What is more amazing is that the minute program only requires about two minutes and 30 seconds of actual work. A second study by Tabata et al. Tabata used a unique protocol of 20 seconds work to 10 seconds rest done in seven to eight bouts. This was basically a series of second intervals performed during a four-minute span. Again, the results were nothing short of amazing. Swain  stated "running burns twice as many calories as walking. I am not a running advocate, but we can put to rest another high-intensity running versus low-intensity walking debate.
Let us look at the maths.
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Swain goes on to state that running at seven mph burns twice as many calories as walking at four mph. This means a runner would burn calories in roughly eight and one half 8. The walker at four miles per hour would burn 50 calories in 15 minutes the time it would take to walk a mile at four MPH. That is less than four calories per minute of exercise.
Please understand that this is less a testament for running and more a testament for high-intensity work versus low-intensity work. More intensity equals greater expenditure per minute. There are two primary ways of performing interval training. The first is the conventional Work to Rest method. This is the tried and true method most people are familiar with. The Work to Rest method uses a set time interval for the work period and a set time interval for the rest period.
Ratios are determined, and the athlete or client rests for generally one, two or three times the length of the work interval before repeating the next bout. The big drawback to the Work to Rest method is that time is arbitrary. We have no idea what is actually happening inside the body. We simply guess.
Interval Training on a Treadmill
In fact, for many years, we have always guessed as we had no other "measuring stick. With the mass production of low-cost heart rate monitors, we are no longer required to guess. The future of interval training lies with accurate, low cost heart rate monitors. We are no longer looking at time as a measure of recovery, as we formerly did in our rest to work ratios.
Interval Training - HIIT or Miss?
We are now looking at physiology. What is important to understand is that heart rate and intensity are closely related. Although heart rate is not a direct and flawless measure of either intensity or recovery status, it is far better than simply choosing a time interval to rest. To use the heart rate method, simply choose an appropriate recovery heart rate. After a work interval of a predetermined time or distance is completed, the recovery is simply set by the time it takes to return to the recovery heart rate.
When using the HR response, the whole picture changes.
Benefits of Interval Training
Initial recovery in well-conditioned athletes and clients is often rapid and shorter than initially thought. In fact, rest to work ratios may be less than in the initial few intervals. If you maintain some form of speed training throughout the year, your muscles and nervous system do not lose the feel of moving fast and the brain will not have to re-learn the proper control patterns at a later date. In the training week, speed work should be carried out after a period of rest or light training.
In a training session, speed work should be conducted after the warm-up and any other training should be of a low-intensity.
The following are sample speed workouts for competitive runners Dr Karp . The athletes start in a variety of different positions - lying face down, lying on their backs, in a push-up or sit up position, kneeling or seated. Repeat using various starting positions and with the coach standing in different places so that the athletes have to change directions quickly once they begin to run.
Speed reaction drills can also be conducted whilst controlling an item e. Murray  looked at weighted sledge training and their effect on sprint acceleration and they concluded that training with a weighted sledge will help improve the athlete's acceleration phase. The session used in the research was 4 x 20m and 4 x 50m maximal effort runs. Lockie et al. Starts over metres performed on a slight incline of around five degrees have an important conditioning effect on the calf, thigh and hip muscles they have to work harder because of the incline to produce movement that will improve sprint acceleration.
Downhill sprinting is a method of developing sprinting speed following the acceleration phase. Use 40 metres to 60 metres to build up to full speed and then maintain the speed for a further 30 metres. A session could comprise of 2 to 3 sets of 3 to 6 repetitions. The difficulty with this method is to find a suitable hill with a safe surface. Over speed work could be carried out when there are prevailing strong winds - run with the wind behind you.