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Website about swimming: interval training – methods, effects on the body, limitations, intervals and weight loss

The method of interval training began to actively develop since the beginning of the twentieth century. To this day, there are active research in this area. Interval training is used in swimming, running, cycling and many other sports disciplines. In modern fitness industry, the interval training method is successfully used for fat burning.

Interval training is an effective method, but also quite hard physical labor, requiring a certain level of training from the practitioner.

Interval training is the alternation of periods of high-intensity physical work with short periods of rest or light (recovery) load. The main idea of ​​the interval training method is that rest periods allow you to do more work at a higher level of intensity than you would do with a long workout. That is, a large amount of high-intensity work is performed in less time.

Tasks of interval training and effects on the body

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The initial and main task of interval training is the development of endurance of the cardiovascular system. Interval training helps to prepare the body for several weeks to very strong loads. Therefore, in professional sports interval training is most often used in cyclic (swimming, running, cycling, etc.) and team sports (football, basketball, hockey). Variations in duration, intensity and rest periods are attached to the requirements that are relevant for a particular sport.

Interval training allows you to get used to both strength training and endurance training. For sports lovers, periodic interval training can help develop and strengthen the heart muscle, improve the strength indicators of the muscles for which the exercise cycle is designed.

Interval training allows you to increase the amount of burned fat without visible loss in muscle mass and strength, which led to the popularity of this method among those who want to lose weight and reduce the thickness of the fat layer.

The interval training method is very rational and saves you time. For people who do not have time for 4-5 full-time classes per week, interval training is ideal.

Limitations of the interval training method

Since interval training involves the use of very large loads, it is contraindicated for people with weak hearts and patients with chronic diseases. Improper interval training can lead to various heart diseases, and excessive interval training can cause a decrease in muscle volume and strength, so the exercises should be approached very responsibly.

For those who start interval training for the first time, preliminary physical training is obligatory for at least two months (ideally – more than a year); consultation with a doctor is desirable.

Beginners to engage in the interval method should also have appropriate aerobic training. Unprepared may need from three weeks to a month of regular cardiovascular training before embarking on an interval program.

Interval training frequency

Interval training should be conducted no more than two or three times a week, otherwise the body may be depleted. Rest between interval training should be at least two days.

With the inclusion of interval training in the training program, other high-intensity training should be reduced to the level of maintenance. For example, strength training for legs can be reduced to once a week, if interval training is performed regularly. Or, if you are doing aerobics 4 times a week and you want to include one interval workout, then you should reduce aerobics to 3 times a week.

Interval training can not completely replace aerobic and anaerobic training. After several weeks of intense interval training, you need to switch to regular training. Then you can repeat the interval training cycle again. The break between cycles of interval training should be at least 2 months.

Duration of interval training

The duration of each time period of intense load can range from 15 seconds to 10 minutes or even more. The shorter the interval of a strong load, the higher its intensity, and vice versa. So, unlike the 5-minute interval of a strong load, the 15-second interval must be performed with maximum effort. Most people should start with low-intensity segments of the load, with a high intensity untrained person can simply vomit. The intensity of the working segment in beginners is selected depending on the level of physical fitness.

The main indicator of the intensity of the load is the pulse (HR). During high intensity (heavy) segments, the pulse should average 75-80% of the maximum for your age and should not exceed 85-90% of the maximum. The heart rate during the recovery (rest) phase is 60-70% of the maximum value, but the pulse in this phase should not be lower than 40-50% of what it was during exercise (otherwise, it can lead to cardiac arrhythmia over time) .

maximum heart rate

The recovery time between the segments of intense physical activity can be determined by one of two methods:

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Depending on the time interval of intensive work. Duration of rest is expressed in some relation of rest time to time of intensive work.

The longer the period of intensive work, the shorter the rest period as a percentage of it

This ratio remains constant during the whole workout, the rest period usually exceeds the period of intensive work by 2-3 times (in the interval training session of Tabata, on the contrary, the rest period is shorter – 20 seconds of work for NATURAL BODYBUILDING – HOW TO START WITHOUT STEROIDS – Blue Mountain Spring Water 10 seconds of rest, 2: 1 ratio).

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At the very beginning of the training path you should use the ratio of periods of intensive work and rest 1: 3 (for example, with low-intensity intervals – five minutes of intense omnadrenu running and fifteen minutes of easy walking, with high-intensity intervals of 30 seconds exercise and 1.5 minutes of rest).

The problem with such intervals is in their orientation only for time, and it is not exactly known what happens in the body of the student.

The rest period lasts until the heart rate is restored to the desired value. This method is more individual and requires an appropriate level of training and a fairly accurate method for measuring the pulse.

When using this method, the first few rest periods for a trained athlete would be much shorter than they would have been at a constantly specified time (see first method). An example of this interval training:

Cycle 1: 60 sec load / 45 sec rest

Cycle 2: 60 sec load / 60 sec rest

Cycle 3: 60 seconds load / 75 seconds rest

Cycle 4: 60 sec load / 90 sec rest

Each cycle (cycle = intensive period + rest period) is repeated 5-10 times, and up to 15 times for experienced athletes who are used to the load. It is important not to overdo it, so as not to harm the body. The total amount of high-load sections ranges from 5 to 25 minutes of high-intensity work.

Beginners are recommended to start with a low number of cycles and increase their number before increasing the intensity. Once a high number of cycles has been reached, the intensity can be increased. You should also consider the need for a progressive increase in warm-up before training and the length of the intervals as you are prepared.

Pulse during interval training

During high intensity (heavy) segments, the pulse should average 75-80% of the maximum heart rate for your age. During recovery between intervals – about 50-60% of the maximum heart rate.

Most often, the required area of ​​the pulse is determined by the formula:

HR = (220 – age) * (% intensity / 100)

For example, for a 30 year old person with an average level of physical fitness, pulse during an intense load, should be (220-30) * 0.75 = 161 beats per minute, during the rest period (220-30) * 0.5 = 95 beats .

This formula is incomplete and not suitable for most people.

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A more accurate method takes into account the heart rate at rest and is called the Karvonen formula:

HR = (220 – age – HR at rest) * (% intensity / 100) + HR at rest

For example, for a 20-year-old athlete, with a pulse at rest 60 beats per minute, the pulse of the working segment at 80% intensity will be (220-20-60) * 0.8 + 60 = 172

Cycle load rest Cycle

Types of interval training

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There is a huge number of types of interval training. The basis of all of them is the following principle – high-intensity segments alternate with brief periods of rest. Here are the most well-known interval training techniques.

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Gershler method

The German coach Waldemar Gerschler, the founder of interval training, decided to include more speed work in the interval training. The Gerschler system focuses on high-intensity intervals and periods of slow running, which allow you to partially recover.

Example of training: run a run for 3 seconds slower than your record, then catch your breath for two minutes. At the same time, the pulse should drop to at least 120 beats. Then run another 100 meters, rest again, counting the pulse. Training ends when the pulse stops recovering in the allotted 2 minutes.

Training time: individually, but not more than half an hour


In the mid-30s, Swedish coach Gosta Holmer developed a different style of interval training. His method called for the athlete to change the speed of running, based on his feelings. For example, in the long run, a runner could switch between fast and slow running, or between average pace oral oxandrol 10 and jogging. In Swedish, it was called “fartlek” or “speed game.”

An example of a workout: first perform a warm-up – 5-10 minutes of easy running, then speed up a little and run 1–2 km, then go for a quick step and restore breathing.

Workout time: 20 minutes

Tabata Method or Tabata Protocol

In 1996, the Japanese doctor Izumi Tabata from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in the city of Kanoi conducted a study that resulted in a four-minute workout arranged in seconds. According to Tabata, this method allows you to burn 9 times more fat than regular jogging.

How to train: choose any exercise – twisting the abdominals, squats, pushups, etc. Perform it at high speed, having to repeat 20-25 times in 20 seconds, after which you need to rest 10 seconds. Repeat the cycle eight times. Before training, warm yourself up, after performing 8 cycles of intervals, make a hitch.

Interval training time: 4 minutes.

Of course, this is not all techniques. Many experts have developed their own program of interval training. In any case, the advice of an experienced trainer before the start of classes in the interval method will never hurt. In drawing up an interval training program, it will help to take into account your goals, level of fitness and capabilities.

maximum heart rate

Interval training for weight loss

If the goal is to lose weight, interval cardio training is the most effective and quickest way to fight fat. The fact is that such training does not just burn calories, but also turns off the program of storing fat. During one workout, you switch from high-intensity anaerobic exercises to longer and less intense restorative exercises. For example, you run 20 seconds with all your strength with a pulse of 75–85% of the maximum value, and then 60–80 seconds at a relaxed pace. During one workout you need to go from 5 to 12 such cycles. The duration of each interval, the intensity of physical activity on the segments Natural Bodybuilding – Bodybuilding World, the total number of cycles is selected depending on the level of training. In short periods of intense stress, your body thinks that its survival is at risk, you live in extreme conditions and that it (the body) needs to be slim in order to react quickly and survive. This information is received by our "control center" and regulates the metabolism in accordance with the data obtained.


Interval training lasts about 20-30 minutes and burns, according to various sources, from 3 to 9 times more fat than classic cardio training for 40-60 minutes. In addition to saving time in the process of interval training, compared with normal aerobic training, the risk of getting fatigue injuries is reduced, and in addition to fat burning, you strengthen the muscles through anaerobic elements. Interval training can be applied to many types of activity – jogging on the street or treadmill, elliptical trainer, swimming, cycling or exercise bike, exercises with a rope. Do not forget to warm up before training and knead after it, it will make classes more effective and reduce the likelihood of injuries ..

Interval training is an advanced technique that only works effectively for people with certain physical training and good aerobic training. It is believed that if a person cannot pull up on the crossbar 15-20 times (men) or run 40 minutes without stopping with a pulse of 150 beats per minute, swim at least 500 meters without stopping in the pool, then the use of interval training techniques will not be effective.

In any case, if you have the opportunity to consult with a coach – use it!

See also:

Slimming swimming

Recovery after exercise

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Aerobic exercise

Anaerobic exercise

Mixed Physical Exercise

Swimmer’s main muscles

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