What is interval training?

Interval training is one of the most popular – and adaptable – modern workouts.  It’s based around the concept of alternating periods, or intervals, of high-intensity exercise with intervals of rest.

an athlete using interval training

How does interval training work?

The length and content of your intervals can be varied, meaning you can achieve a variety of goals within your interval training session.

Interval training is all to do with the body's two energy-producing systems: aerobic and anaerobic. This is the science bit (but don't worry, we won't make it too complicated!)

The aerobic system uses oxygen to convert carbohydrates into energy, giving you long-lasting stamina. The anaerobic system bypasses oxygen entirely, drawing carbs straight from the muscles for shorter activities, like sprinting or jumping. Interval training uses the anaerobic system, improving it so you can exercise at a higher intensity for longer.

Benefits of Interval Training

1. Time-efficient

Interval training is designed to be done in short bursts, which is great for those with other responsibilities. You can easily complete an interval training workout at home. You don't need lots of time either, as an interval training workout can be done in as little as 15 minutes!

2. There's no need for specialised equipment

Though some interval training exercises require weights, kettlebells or other equipment, you can complete plenty of them with no equipment at all! This leads onto...

3. It's fun

The variety of interval training workouts means that your sessions can involve things you actually enjoy. This means you're more likely to stay motivated.

Is interval training hard?

Interval training is tough. And whilst it isn't something you can or should do every day, starting small and adding interval training to your fitness routine could lead to big results.