Interval training improves cardio systems, Soldier skills

| June 4, 2010 | 0 Comments

Maj. Vancil McNulty
U.S. Army Public Health Command (Provisional)

Courtesy PhotoABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Interval training is an excellent way to train the cardiovascular energy systems the body requires for performing military duties, while minimizing mileage wear-and-tear on lower extremities.

Too much distance running has been shown to increase overuse-injuries without significantly increasing fitness levels.

Distance running more than 30 minutes has been shown to increase the risk for injury, so replacing most of a program’s distance running with intervals should reduce the number of overuse-injuries.

A good idea is to run intervals two out of three running days.

Besides preventing injuries, interval training adds much-needed variety and intensity, as well as more functional speed and agility training to a program.

Adding more speed and agility training to a physical training program is vital because Soldiers face the occupational need to run quickly over short distances much more often than the need to jog slowly over a long distance. Plus, long-distance running is less fundamental to physical tasks Soldiers actually do day-to-day.

Interval training guidelines and ratios for running can be applied to activities such as cycling and swimming.

Interval running is performed with multiple bouts of all-out, high-intensity running interspersed with periods of recovery. High-intensity activities include sprints, shuttle runs and hill or stair running.

Intervals are performed by adhering to a work-to-recovery ratio of 1:3 or 1:2. For example, a work-to-recovery ratio of 1:3 would be a sprint of 10 seconds followed by a 30-second relief period of walking or a slow jog.

Intervals can be intensified as fitness improves, for example, a ratio of 15:45 or 20:60. A 1:2 work-to-recovery ratio would be a sprint for 10 seconds followed by a relief period of 20 seconds, which could progress to a 15:30, 20:40 and 30:60 ratio.

Start intervals with sets of five and progress to a maximum of 10 by adding no more than one set every two weeks.

Shuttle runs, which are running back and forth between two fixed distance lines, or repeated runs up and down a hill or stairs, are other forms of interval running that can be conducted in similar ratios to those described above.

One of the best aspects of interval training is that a great workout can be performed in a little time, either individually or in ability groups.

Examples of an aerobic cardio workout for high-intensity interval training include the following:

•Warm up. Jog at 50-percent max for five minutes.

•Sprint for 20 seconds, plus 10 seconds of rest, six times.

•One full minute of rest.

•Sprint for 20 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest, six times.

•One minute of rest.

•Sprint for 20 seconds, plus 10 seconds of rest, six sets.

•One minute rest.

•Cool down. Jog at 50-percent max for five minutes.

 

Category: Army News Service, Community, Health

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