By Shawn Arent, the director of the Center for Health and Human Performance at Rutgers University and a Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine.
You can go hard or you can go long; however you can’t do both. Big results from shorter workouts-yes, it’s possible. When you do intervals, you can train at much higher intensity then you normally can and also you need to sustain it for 20-30 minutes. So, interval training takes a lot different forms depending on how you’re talking about it.
You can be talking about more like interval sprint training and you go hard with that for 30 seconds to a minute, taking about 2-3 minutes break in between.
Or, if you are talking about more traditional High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), we might be talking about longer intervals; maybe they last 2-4 minutes at a time, heart rate is 90 to 95% maximum. You will take the same recovery time: 2 minutes on, 2 minutes off and 4 minutes on and 4 minutes off.
This is actually what’s actively used by athletes for over the years, such as soccer players. It aims to improve their aerobic capacity. In short, this method is effective because it uses much higher intensity.