A system of training that alternates short to moderate bouts of intense activity (the work interval) with short to moderate periods of rest or reduced activity. By optimally spacing the periods of work and relief, a person can accomplish more total work than would be possible in a continuous training session. Interval training can be used in almost any sport, but it is most often used by track athletes, cross-country runners, and swimmers. Interval training can be adapted to fit individual requirements by adjusting the following: rate and duration of the work interval (load and duration of resistance training); number of repetitions and sets during each training session: frequency of training per week; duration of rest (recovery) interval; and type of activity during the rest interval. Gerschler interval work, devised for runners by the famous German coach Woldemar Gerschler, consists of a large number of repetitions run at a short distance (typically, 200–400 m) with a relatively long rest period (2–3 min). Each repetition is run at or above race pace in order to develop a sense of race pace. In the controlled interval method, work and rest periods are related precisely to a physiological measure of the athletes condition (e.g. pulse rate). A typical programme of a runner may consist of a warm-up raising the pulse rate to about 120 beats min−1 (bpm), a set of repetition runs which raises the pulse to about 170 bpm, and a rest of a jog or walk between each run, which allows the pulse to return to about 120 bpm. The session stops when the recovery takes more than 90 s.
Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.