Interval training is a great way to up the ante on your cardio routines. But what happens when even your interval training is getting stale?
Is that even possible? Intervals can be quite intense anyway, but sure, it's definitely possible to get bored even of very intense "HIIT" (which stands for "high intensity interval training").
So, how do you crank up your intervals? Or at least get some interval training in that doesn't feel like the 'same old, same old'?
Intervals don't have to be limited to just running but if running is your sport of choice, you can incorporate different kinds of intervals into your training.
Try finding a big hill and doing hillsprints, or finding a sandy beach and doing your sprint training in the unstable sand or better yet, hop into the ocean knee deep and add even more resistance by adding water and waves. Or you can find a big field and sprint to one end and do a slow jog back to the other side (and repeat ad nauseum).
If you're looking to liven things up even more with different kinds of intervals besides running, then there's also lots you can do. Intervals can be done with almost every kind of cardio exercise imaginable.
Hop on your mountain bike and find a good hilly trail to cycle. Hills naturally add intervals to your training. Every trip up hill is your work interval and every trip down is your rest interval. You don't even have to time it. Just keep finding hills and giving it your all on every trip up and recovering on your way back down.
I have a little trick when I'm short on time and need a quick interval workout without leaving home. Luckily I live in a highrise building in the city with a huge stairwell, so I head to the bottom of the stairwell and climb 20 storeys as my work interval, until I hit the top. Then I punch the elevator button and take a quick ride to the bottom as my rest interval and hit that stairwell again for another work interval climbing to the top. Eight times doing this takes me 45 minutes and it's a heck of a great workout. It works my glutes, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, and calves thoroughly and gives my cardiovascular system a major boost in the process.
Another cool alternative for Interval Training is to SWIM it out! Yes, you really can do interval training by swimming, too. Believe it or not, there's lots of ways to 'time' your intervals when you're underwater. A cool gadget that's available now is an underwater mp3 player and there are lots of different brands making them these days. You can either load in a timed interval mp3 and use that to time your swim intervals or just pick a few songs that have a definite 'chorus' and 'non-chorus' parts to the songs and swim hard for the chorus and swim easy for the non-chorus parts.
Or, if you don't have the budget for a swimming mp3 player, just time your intervals by counting your strokes. Swim hard for 50 strokes and easy for 50 strokes. Or change your strokes. Swim hard for 50 meters of front crawl and then do 50 meters of breast stroke at a slower pace. This is easier to accomplish in a swimming pool where you hit the wall and turn around for the next 50 meters (for example). If you're in a lake or ocean you might try swimming from buoy to buoy.
Another great and extremely easy way to do intervals that you can also do pretty much anywhere is to make sure you've got a jump rope with you and just start jumping. Jump at regular pace for your rest interval and double pace for your work interval. Count turns of the rope to time it out. 50 fast jumps for the work interval, 50 slower, more relaxed jumps for the rest interval.
There ya go. Now you have lots of intervals options to keep you interested and motivated with your interval training for weeks to come. Enjoy the benefits you're sure to see from all your hard work.
And don't forget to have fun.
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