Intervals for Better Performance, Beyond Tabata Training

High intensity training (HIT) can double your results in less than half the time and it has been proven to burn calories for up to 14-hours beyond the initial exercise session which can aid in weight loss. In one study the post-exercise burn accounted for an extra 190 calories burned after the initial exercise session (reference 1).

Tabata demonstrated that just 4-minutes of intense exercise can improve conditioning. While the 4-minute Tabata training protocol provides a great introduction to high intensity interval training (HIT), it only scratches the surface on interval training for performance conditioning. A progressive exercise program will soon require additional training time. A performance specific training program will also require specificity in training, because the way you train will equal the way you perform.

This article will give you the tools you need to assemble your own high intensity performance workout.

ABOUT METABOLISM

Most people are limited by their metabolism. The metabolism is time and intensity dependent. It makes sense that we strive to improve the metabolism so that we can perform both harder and longer. The metabolism makes 3 main transitions in order to produce a continuous cycle of energy for the body.

Picture an athlete that just burst into vigorous activity, the metabolic response includes;

  • The first 10-20 seconds of energy produced comes from cellular energy which is produced anaerobically, meaning “without oxygen.” In metabolism’s 1st gear the Adenosine triphosphate / Phosphocreatine (ATP-PC) energy system is the predominant energy system. This brief energy comes from the cellular level and supplies are limited.
  • Metabolism’s 2nd gear occurs after 20 seconds of vigorous activity when “glycolysis” becomes the main energy producer. Glycolysis produces some energy aerobically “with oxygen” and the rest anaerobically. This lasts up to 2-minutes of continuous activity. Glycolysis works to sustain energy levels and to clear the muscle-burning sensation.
  • The 3rd shift in metabolism occurs at around 4-minutes or greater when it’s clear that the aerobic oxygen (O2) energy system becomes the predominant energy producer. At 4-minutes of longer, energy is mainly produced by the bodies cardiovascular system.

WRITING YOUR CUSTOM INTERVAL WORKOUT

  1. Look at chart B below to find your activity. Write down the recommended number of reps per energy system type. Chart B was created though studies which examined the performance requirements of a variety of sports.
  2. Look at chart A for the workout prescription to target the select area of the metabolism.
  3. Before you begin your interval workout be sure to warm-up for at least 6-10 minutes with moderate intensity exercise and include some dynamic stretches. If you have any question about your ability to safely exercise, talk with a doctor or fitness professional before you begin.

Example: Basketball conditioning intervals
Chart B lists: Type #1 = 32 reps; Type 2 = 1 rep, Type #3 = 0 rep
Chart A gives the workout description:

  • Warm-up 6-10 minutes of moderate-intense exercise and do some dynamic stretches, like body weight squats or body weight lunges.
  • Pick an exercise specific to basketball – today we’ll practice court sprints
  • Sprint 20 seconds all out then rest to a 1-on: 3-off ratio. Rest 20 seconds minimum to 60 seconds maximum; repeat this process up to 32 times if you can. Between reps, take rest-relief by walking or stretching.
  • Include one type #2 sprint interval to finish off your workout. Take 2-minutes and do a moderate intensity sprint around the entire gymnasium. After this your workout is complete.
  • Start easy and work into this program as your conditioning improves. For your first time plan on completing 50% of the workout and build up weekly from here.
  • Cool down with an additional 6-10 minutes of easy recovery or total body stretching.

Chart A

Energy System Workout:

#1

#2

#3

ATP-PC

GLYCOLYSIS

O2

Training interval work time (min:sec)

0:20

1:30-2:00

4:00-6:00

Work-to-relief ratio

1 to 3

1 to 2

1 to 0.5

Type of relief

Rest relief; walking or stretching

Work relief; light exercise or jogging

Rest or Work relief

Chart B
Sport & Activity Conditioning (reps per workout):

#1

#2

#3

ATP-PC

GLYCOLYSIS

O2

Reps

Reps

Reps

Baseball

32

1

0

Basketball

32

1

0

Diving

39

0

0

Field Events

36

1

0

Field Hockey

24

2

1

Football

36

1

0

Gymnastics

36

1

0

Ice Hockey

32

2

0

Marathon

0

0

4

Recreational Sport

0

0

4

Rowing

8

2

2

Run (1.5km)

2

3

2

Run (400m)

16

4

0

Run (5km)

1

2

3

Run (800m)

4

5

1

Skiing, downhill

32

2

0

Skiing, cross-country

0

0

4

Soccer

24

2

1

Swim (1.5km)

4

2

3

Swim (100m)

32

2

0

Swim (200m)

12

5

0

Swim (400m)

8

3

2

Swim (50m)

38

0

0

Tennis

28

2

0

Volleyball

36

1

0

Wrestling

18

4

0

Reference:
(1) http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/news-releases/2011/09/01/vigorous-exercise-burns-calories-for-14-hours-after-exercise
Fox EL, Mathews DK (1974). Interval training: conditioning for sports and general fitness. Saunders College Publishing, Orlando, FL.
Charts created by by www.asimplehabit.com

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