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Beyond Ripped: Enter the Shred Zone

Interval Training to Get Ripped

by: Robbie Durand

What would you rather do to get a smaller waist? Spend an hour on the treadmill running at a slow speed or 20 minutes doing interval training. Interval training has a ton of benefits when compared with steady state cardio activity. It takes less time time to perform interval training and it also creates more of a metabolic demand to perform and raises metabolic rate. In a previous study, participants performed hour-long workouts four times a week. While everyone did 40 minutes of strength training, they were divided into two groups for cardio. One group ran for 20 minutes on treadmills and the other group performed body-weight intervals for 20 minutes. At the end of eight weeks, the interval participants lost two inches of belly fat compared to the runners who lost less than one inch.

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So if you want the best gains in cardiovascular and anaerobic power from interval training, keep your rest periods short.

A new study published this year suggest that very short rest periods between bouts are the key for making the most out of interval training. Researchers had cyclists do interval training for about 40 minutes twice a week for ten weeks. They combined the interval training with their regular training. Half of the cyclists did more or less classical interval training: cycling for 4.5 minutes as fast as they could and then 2.5 minutes cycling gently to recover. They repeated this cycle until the 40 minutes were up. The other half of the cyclists did a more explosive kind of interval training, with shorter cycles: they cycled as fast as they could for 30 seconds and then cycled gently for 15 seconds. They repeated this cycle for 9 minutes and then rested for 3 minutes. Then they started a second series, completing a total of 3 series. At the end of the study, there were no differences between groups in total volume of both HIT and low-intensity training. The short rest period group (30 seconds and then cycled gently for 15 seconds) achieved a larger relative improvement in VO2max than the longer rest period group (4.5 minutes as fast as they could and then 2.5 minutes cycling gently to recover). The cyclists who did the short rest period interval training also developed more power and were therefore faster. The longer rest perid training on the other hand had little effect in this department.These results suggest that the present shorter rest interval training protocol induces superior training adaptations on both the high-power region and lower power region of cyclists’ power profile compared with a longer rest period protocol. So if you want the best gains in cardiovascular and anaerobic power from interval training, keep your rest periods short.

Rønnestad BR, Hansen J, Vegge G, Tønnessen E, Slettaløkken G. Short intervals induce superior training adaptations compared with long intervals in cyclists -An effort-matched approach. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2015 Apr;25(2):143-51.

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