After only 6 interval training sessions, athletes are significantly faster
Of course you know that interval training is an efficient training method. Short interval workouts have an amazing effect on fitness and performance. But what you may not yet know is that interval training also has an effect in a surprisingly short time. Already after two weeks of interval training, athletes have significantly increased their performance capacity, report Spanish researchers from the Catholic University of Valencia in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.
The researchers experimented with 16 well-trained students. The students had been running for at least three years, trained 3-5 times a week and covered at least 50 kilometers a week.
The students added a little interval training of 14-28 minutes to their workouts for 2 weeks. The test subjects did this 3 times a week.
Each workout consisted of a warm up and a number of sprints of 30 seconds. The students sprinted back and forth during those seconds between two cones that were 5 meters apart. The students rested for 4 minutes between the sprints.
The training schedule below provides more details about the interval training schedule.
The researchers determined the maximum aerobic speed [MAS] of the test subjects before and after the two weeks. At maximum aerobic speed speed your body uses as much oxygen as it can absorb. You can see at the bottom right that the interval training increased this maximum aerobic speed by almost 3 percent.
Before and after the two weeks, the researchers got the test subjects to run 3 kilometers as fast as possible. Interval training reduced 3K-time by almost 6 percent.
"Modern coaches often deal with an increasingly large number of competitions during the competitive season, which subsequently reduces the preparation time available", write the researchers.
"The results of the current study demonstrate that a very short-term low-volume sprint interval training on a track or field is an effective means of improving both endurance and anaerobic performance."
J Strength Cond Res. 2018;32(3):617-23.
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