It is really all about D.I.R.T. Interval Training: Interval training is training where repeated work bouts are interspersed with intervals  of rest. The primary VARIABLE in interval training is the interval of rest. Interval training can be used to train more intensely for a longer period. This is possible because frequent intervals of rest are taken during the same training session. The variables of interval training (D. I.R.T.) include the distance, the interval of rest, the repetitions, and the time (intensity).

The DISTANCE refers to the distance of the work bout. The distance run could be 800m, the distance might also refer to a time trained. As in weight training, you could do 10 reps of work in 40 seconds, 40 seconds as the distance.

The I or interval refers to the interval of rest.

There are two variables considered in the interval: time of rest and type of rest.

Type of rest                                                                Activities Associated
Rest Relief                                                     Standing, Walking, Flexing/Stretching
Work Relief                                                 Light to Mild exercise, Jogging, Easy Swimming

The time of the interval of rest is related to the energy system trained (Work Effort area) see below, and the time worked. For example if the work to rest ratio is 1:3 and the distance of the work is 100 m in 30 seconds(intensity) then the rest would be 90 seconds.

The third variable is the number of repetitions. The number of repetitions is once again related to the work effect area trained as can be seen by the chart. To train the ATP-PC work effort area use  up to 24 repetitions; where as to train the O2 work effort area use three (3) to four repetitions. The ATP-PC-LA work area up to 16 reps depending on the distance. THE LA-O2 work area may involve 5 to 10 reps with a rest of 1:1 rest to work ratio.

The fourth variable is the time, which refers to the intensity of work. The intensity of the work, to a large extent should be determined by the work effort area to be trained. If the ATP-PC ( see chart below) work effort area is to be trained, the intensity should be hard with a short work bout and a longer rest (in relation to the duration of the work). If the O2 system is to be trained the intensity would be moderate, the duration of the work bout longer, but the rest short or very short.

The most common modes of interval training have been run or swim, but interval training could be used for a wide variety of modes including stair master, exercise bike, biking and aerobic dance,  and weight training mention a few. Many exercise machines found in modern wellness/fitness centers have interval training programs in their computers.

AEROBIC WORK                                                    ANAEROBIC WORK

MODERATE IN INTENSITY                                     HIGH INTENSITY

60-80% OF MAX HR HEART RATE                      85-100% of Max Heart Rate

Long duration, 5 minutes or longer                  Short duration, 10 seconds to 3 minutes
Steady state                                                           HYDROGEN IONS CAUSES DISCOMFORT
38 molecules of ATP                                                2 molecules of ATP produced
Utilizes fats and carbohydrates                            Utilizes carbohydrates
Muscle demands for 02 met                                   Insufficient 02

The Work Effort Areas or Energy Systems

WORK EFFORT AREA               TIME OF WORK                      EXAMPLES                  #Reps

ATP-PC                            LESS THAN 30 SECONDS               SPRINT 60 METERS    up to 24

ATP-PC-LA                     30 SECONDS TO 1.5 MINUTES           RUN 400 METERS     8-16

LA-O2                              1.5 MINUTES TO 3 MINUTES              RUN 800 METERS      4-7

O2                                  4  MINUTES OR LONGER        RUN THE MILE OR LONGER   2-5

To train the ATP-PC area (ATP STORED IN THE MUSCLE),  you could do multiple sets of 15 seconds run at fast with a 1:5 work to rest ratio. Training for the ATP-PC-LA area, could be repeat runs of 60 seconds with a rest ratio of 1:2 to 1:4. LA-O2 Training could be 3 minutes hard at 3K pace with a 3 minute rest. To train the O2 system what would you suggest?? How hard? how long? how many reps?


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