Tag Archives: Interval training

7 Interesting Intervals.

Sadly we live in a world where the larger majority of people don’t wish to know ‘why’ something works, they just want something that works.

Now, what works will largely depend on these following factors:

– Training age
– Chronological age
– Health status
– Physical status
– Individual difference (genetics)

We can throw in a few more however those are some pretty notable ones people tend to miss along with this one:

– What is the desired outcome/goal

It’s fair to say not everyone wants to know how things work.

This is cool, however that means that said people should do as they’re told because if they don’t wish to know more than they don’t get to sit at the big table.

A fair compromise, wouldn’t you agree?

Well here are the intervals for you, no further detail, just protocols you can use, then reuse time and again.

1 – 30/30/30 –

Pick on lift and do 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for 30 rounds.

2 – 12/8 x20min –

12 seconds all out sprint, 8 seconds recovery, repeat for 20min. Use a watt bike or erg for the ability to track power output (make sure it stays high/consistent).

3 – 30/60 x30min –

Pick one movement/activity and do 30seconds work, 60 seconds rest, repeat for 30min.

4 – 1/2/3/4/5 –

An accumulation of work. You start off doing an interval of 60 seconds, then rest 60 seconds. Next do 2min of work and rest the same 60 seconds, then 3min of work and so on, all the way up to 5min. Hill sprints are nice here.

5 – 20/20/20 –

Pick two opposing movements/activities.

Perform the first for 20 seconds, rest 20 to change moves, perform the second for 20 seconds, repeat for 10-30min.

This works well with classic lifting movements.

6 – 5/15 x10min –

5 seconds on, 15 seconds off for 10min, best served with power related movements, such as medicine ball slams, rope slams, etc.

7 – 5/2.30 x30min –

5 min on, two and a half off. A classic aerobic interval.

Try this with loaded carries of 30-50% body weight, by the end of 30min (4 rounds) you will know its benefit.

There could be many more options.

In truth the original title of this was 17 Interesting Intervals.

Why did I chop it down to 7?

Put simply it’s because simply copying protocols won’t get you anywhere because you will always lack that deeper understanding of why you are doing what you’re doing.

While I may know the reasons for the above, you still don’t and that won’t help you become better, either as a coach/trainer or a person who enjoys training.

My real advise is as follows:

Learn how to program based on correct work to rest ratios for performance.

This is instead of doing what every other jackass does just to make people tired.

If tired is how you want to feel then go run marathon, do 1000 burpees, or 20 3min rounds on the bags, you will feel nice and dead however you might not get any benefit from it.

Go away an learn about interval programming, what true HIIT actually is, for the love of all that is holy do better because you owe it to yourself.


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What the HIIT?

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” – Inigo Montoya
The myth of HIIT.
As popular as the coined term is, I can count on one hand the number of people over the last year I’ve personally witnessed actually doing a high intensity interval session.
It is a sad truth that many people confuse pushing themselves at a moderate pace with no rest as HIIT.
That is not HIIT, it’s more akin to basic endurance work.
It is in this knowledge I feel no guilt about telling those who champion this method that they’re not doing what they think.
Let us break down the different style of interval training based on the literature and what energy systems it is playing with.
Energy Systems & Timings
Alactic Anaerobic – (ATP-CP) – 1 to 12 seconds – Immediate
Lactic Anaerobic – (Glycolytic – Fast/Slow) – 60 to 120 seconds – Intermediate
Aerobic – 120 seconds to potentially hours – Long term
WE all have a limited amount of maximal power efforts, typically lasting for a fraction of a second or a few seconds rely entirely on stored ATP.
The limitation to continued effort lies in the availability of ATP and our own ability to re-synthesise it during training with insufficient rest, hence why some strength/performance coaches recommend up to 15min rest between these efforts. Fairly logical, however not suitable for the average joe.
This being said, that is the price of a high intensity effort.
Moving on, if we sustain out effort (as mentioned above) after a few seconds, CP is called upon to replenish the rapidly dwindling ATP as best it can. The CP contribution reaches a peak approximately around about 5-7 seconds (this is where most start to lose significant output capability, they’ve peaked), it is around this point the oxygen-independent glycolysis has already begun to start.
If we are to follow this then true HIIT would require people to stop here, rest and aim to repeat this effort, or at least as close to it as possible, alas many keep going because of misguided ‘Insta-Bro/Hoe’ information.
Persisting in to a continued effort (while admirable is now hitting a different energy system) maximal force development no longer becomes possible and muscular endurance becomes the dominant component because that’s how the body works.
Don’t get me wrong, it is in the next few minutes that a lot of people can attain great benefits from because for most everyday tasks that require effort we rarely ant them to last longer than 2-3minutes. While not quite HIIT, more anaerobic intervals it’s still very useful (most will still call this HIIT by the way).
Strenuous activity which lasts approximately up to 30 seconds starts the oxygen-independent glycolysis system to rule the roost, however with appropriate rest intervals it help will prevent the build-up of blood lactate allowing for more repeated efforts of this style.
If we keep going the more oxygen-independent glycolysis reaches its peak after about 30-40 seconds (in most, this can of course be trained to higher thresholds), and after about 90-120 seconds its contribution becomes minimal as it is replaced by the oxygen-dependent glycolysis.
^^ This is the fast/slow glycolysis bit.
It is at this point where people confuse HIIT with what they end up doing which is to keep going at a less than ‘high intensity’ pace wth allows the exercise intensity to be kept below the blood lactate threshold or at least allow intra-exercise adequate recovery to be allow allowed, kinda.
As such the lactate and protons will be removed (at the same rate as their production for the most part) so that prolonged muscle activity becomes possible.
^^ This is where people claim to do HIIT for extended periods of time and while nobel in their idea, it’s no longer what they think it is.
Knowing this becomes the reason behind using intervals other than the popular on that trolls social media, such as fartlek, basic interval training, interval circuit training (strength circuits, power circuits, anaerobic circuits etc), which allow for recovery and repeated efforts of muscular work.
In doing this you can stay in the glycolysis side of training (up to 120, perhaps 180 seconds of sustained work efforts), which while not technically HIIT, it yields more benefit to the majority of people.
The work to rest periods for this would be the classic
– 1-1
– 1-2
– 1-3
So 3min on 3min off, or 3min on 6min off, etc.
^^ In the rest you may do some corrective work or other endeavours so the time is utilised effectively.
Many typical gym goers will wither away in fear when seeing this because they have been Indoctrinated in to the realms of –
“You must be constantly working! Keep going! Never stop moving! It’s not going to count unless you DIE!!!!!”
Which is just silly to be perfectly honest and you can see that it just doesn’t work for the majority of people because they have low levels of overall CV, strength, and poor body composition.
Does this mean if you’re one of the above with that mindset that you’ve been wasting your time in your training so far?
Potentially yes, yes it does, however that doesn’t mean you can change it now and actually become more productive in your training sessions.
Believe it or not you will get more out of doing less better then more worse.
Trust me, I’ve been the person who did more and it didn’t do me better in the long run.
So, your turn.
What style in HIIT training do you do and is it actually HIIT of some hybridisation that is something else entirely?
Leave your thoughts below.

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How to EMOM effectively

EMOM, perhaps you’ve heard of it?
Every minute on the minute you perform a select amount of exercises for a specified amount of reps.
It is a popular training method, which was actually developed in the S&C realm and meant to function as a weight based interval.
So for example utilising a 1-3, 1-2 or hard 1-1 work to rest ratio.
Typically a good EMOM will have about 15-20 seconds of solid work then 40-45seconds of rest (1-3 work to rest ratio).
This would allow for maximal effort each minute and the most bang for ones buck, or at least it always used to because as with any method people got a hold of it and decided to bastardise it, sadly.
You know, some is good, more is better, so 50 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest kinda stuff, foolishness really for any long term progress.
Ideally the working section of an EMOM will last at the longest 30 seconds, once you go beyond this you start to severely sacrifice your performance and increase the potential risk of injury.
Not what many of the fatigue chasing people want to hear these days, however it’s still worth saying.
Here are a few to try that will start off each and then slowly start to kick you in the ass.
1 – Thrusters x3-5 (start at 3, don’t be a hero) x10-20min
2 – Snatches x2-3 x10-20min
3 – Kettlebell Swings x10 x20min
4 – Sprints 30-50m x10min
5 – Clean & Push Press (or Jerk) x2-3 x10-20min
Now for a tricky one:
6 – Exercise Complex of 4-6 movements, 1-2 reps per move x10min
Example: RDL, Power Clean, Front Squat, Push Press, Penally Row.
Just adding one of those as a finisher will improve your conditioning to no end just keep an eye on how long each one takes, good ones last as mentioned about 15-20 seconds as this gives some buffer time as you start to fatigue in the later sets.
Aim to pick movements that offer a large return on investment and keep the reps low (manageable), you can always increase the load if you wish to make things challenging.

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