Talk:Interval training

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
WikiProject Running (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Running, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of running on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Athletics (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Athletics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the sport of athletics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page and join the discussion.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.


Fartlek training is very different from interval training. With fartlek the athlete continues motion but varies intensity and therefor heart rate by doing different types of activities. In Swimming we might have wistle signals to signal swimming easy, swimming hard or at a consistent pace. There are no fixed intervals and no rest to decrease heart rate. We sometimes also include switching from swimming to Kicking and also switching strokes.

With interval training we specify a specific distance and the time that the athlete has to complete the distance and rest. This is the interval. (Pls see comment just below.) Swim fast and you get more rest. swim slow get less rest. To improve the set we will often make it a Descending set where the idea is for the athlete to make the first swim the slowest with the longest rest and the last swim in the set the fastest swim with the longest rest.

Comment: No, it is not. It is the work bout. The interval in interval training is the rest time. We insert intervals of rest time between workbouts.

Are there more supporting studies?[edit]

Using a google search; it seems that in running and other sports interval training is done a lot, yet are there only two studies that show the positive effects compared to standard endurance training?

How do so many sports trainers determine their precise schedules? Are they simply performing "pseudoscience", or are their methods based on results of other studies? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:30, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm against the merge. It's different. mixer (talk) 12:36, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Indeed. Fartlek is in between distance running and interval training, and should be treated distinctly separately (although perhaps in context!). "Fartlek" means "play with speed" in Swedish, and that's how it should be considered. Free-wheeling, sort of, while interval training is much stricter and more controlled.

Regarding whether interval training is effective/efficiant, just ask competitive runners how many of them who don't incorporate interval training in their preparations. You will find none. For reading, try Jack Daniels (Running Formula) or Tim Noakes (Lore of Running) for instance. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:31, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

I don't contribute to Wikipedia normally, but I wanted to weigh in and say that I think Fartlek is a distinct term from Interval Training. I would never have dreamed to search on "interval training" to find Fartlek, because the term is used so distinctly. I suggest keeping them separate.

I agree - it should not be merged. They are two totally different training systems to achieve different things. They do have things in common, but they are not the same system! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:15, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

The reason we use interval training over continous training is that we can address specific areas harder without stressing other areas (too much). It's kind of like comparing heavy large area bombing and intelligent bombs that tagets single items. When we want to stress the VO2Max (ie stress our maximal capacity), we don't want unneccessary fatigue in our legs. Therefore we run very hard (but not all-in) for a short(-ish) time (the workbout), often 2-4 minutes, and then jog very lightly (the interval), to rinse our muscles from fatigue (we want to have fresh legs again for the workbout!), for a relatively long time ~1-3 minutes (50-75% of the duration of the workbout), and cycle this ~4-6 times. OTOH, when we want to stress our capacity to withstand high speed for a long time, we run hard (but not very hard) for a little longer, BUT with a shorter rest interval, perhaps 15-25% of the duration of the workbout, and we are standing still, because this time we WANT the legs to stay fatigued, but our central system is given some rest. In both cases, by separating the two concerns (top capacity and longevity) we can train for a longer time per each concern. I we wanted to achieve BOTH a high effect on the VO2Max AND the capacity to run fast for a long time in a continous run we would stress our bodies too much. Of course we also need longer tempo runs too, but we can't do that ALL the time. There is also the repetitions which are adressing the ability to mechanically run fast, and when we do those the workbouts are shorter (1-2 minutes) but the rest is longer, even much longer, 1-4 minutes. Why? Because we want to have completely fresh legs when we start the next workbout, in order to be able to focus completely on running technique. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:47, 14 February 2012 (UTC)


Is there any known biological basis to the greater efficiency of IT? That'd be good material to add. --Gwern (contribs) 23:02 26 February 2010 (GMT)

I think it may depend on what kind of efficiency. This article is directed from long slow distance running page as a way to increase speed.MrNiceGuy1113 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 20:19, 24 April 2012 (UTC).

Aerobic or anaerobic?[edit]

That'd probably be a good distinguishment to make. The article doesn't make clear if this is considered aero or anaero. BLGM5 (talk) 19:29, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

There's a lot of information about interval training. This article says that interval training can be a form of both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Maybe it needs primary research??MrNiceGuy1113 (talk) — Preceding unsigned comment added by MrNiceGuy1113 (talkcontribs) 20:28, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Article definition biased towards HIIT?[edit]

Article refers to "burts" of activity @ maximal/near maximal intensity which is specifically High Intensity Interval Training. In reality the intensity (along with duration) of the IT is usually specific to some training goal which may be a long way from this model.

Recommend that the definition be ammended to a form of words that ommits any specific detail.

Eg. "Interval training (IT) is an exercise training modality wherein periods of work are alternated with periods of recovery – the eponymous intervals – in a repetitive fashion."

And as a sub-paragraph. "Utilising alternating work/recovery periods allows a higher volume of quality work (i.e. at a desired intensity) to be performed per training session than could be achieved with a single continuous bout of steady-state work."

And "The intensity and duration of the work period is set according to the training goal. Recovery intervals are set to allow a further repetition of the work period at the desired intensity." --Onumnos (talk) 16:02, 19 February 2011 (UTC)


I think something should be done about the references. In one section the writer just puts (Mayo, 2009) at the end of a sentence and I'm not sure what he/she is referring to.

The Men's Health 2009 article used was written in 2004 and not 2009.

Merger proposal[edit]

I propose that high-intensity interval training be merged into this article, Interval training. A discussion of this was started on [1] but never resolved.

After sifting through the scholarly articles, it seems like "high-intensity interval training" is just adding adjectives to "interval training" that highlight the high-intensity intervals. Sometimes interval training is called sprint interval training or aerobic interval training. I looked, but did not find, articles about interval training that didn't involve high-intensity intervals -- at least, high-intensity for someone. Consistently, interval training is contrasted with "moderate-intensity continuous training." If you do a search on "interval training" in PubMed you will see what I mean -- most researchers are contrasting "interval training" with "continuous moderate-intensity interval training". Of course the extreme-ness of what "high-intensity" means varies by regimen, but it seems like almost all mentions of "interval training" involve the idea of working at a level that is high-intensity for the subject interspersed with recovery periods. I advise the high-intensity interval training article be merged with "interval training" to contrast it with "continuous training". There can be a section on "high-intensity interval training" explaining the recent exercise trend phenomena - although the more I read, the more I suspect HIIT is just modern terminology for what's historically been known as "interval training". IMHO, the whole "high-intensity" thing has just been added to make it sound "EXTREME, DUDE!" I can't find examples of interval training that aren't "high-intensity" by another name. I'm going to get to work on this offline so please let me know if you disagree with this proposed merger!Sharp-shinned.hawk (talk) 13:08, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

I was notified of this proposal on my talk page. There's surely a lot of hype and confusion of terms, but I do understand interval training and HIIT differently.
I think the term "interval training" could be applied to any training method where a moderate to high intensity is alternated with rest or reduced effort intervals.
What I understood about interval training (original edition) when I used to read Coaching Science Abstracts back in the nineties is that it was used to raise the athlete's anaerobic threshold or heart rate recovery speed. The intensity was deliberately set to be just above the athlete's aerobic threshold and the recovery intervals were typical short, just enough to make up the difference and allow some heart rate recovery. In the pool I used to do a couple of brisk minutes followed by a short recovery (under 30 s with the goal of reducing the recovery duration until it's almost nothing).
What I understand about interval training (high-intensity edition) is that the purpose is to achieve a level of total muscular fatigue beyond what can be achieved without rest breaks. In the aerobic version (e.g. rowing machine) the effort level is balls-to-the-wall for short durations (30 s at most on a rowing machine) followed by long recovery periods (anywhere from two to five times longer than the exertion period). This is primarily structured by the physiology of muscle tissue and the optimal recruitment of high-power, rapid fatigue muscle fibers. This is all explained in the following interview:
I'm well aware that Mercola is a controversial figure, and I'm dialed up to maximum skepticism level whenever I consume his content, but I actually find this interview informative despite any concerns I might have about the agendas behind it. They are most on topic concerning the physiology of HIIT around the 27:00, 41:00, and 55:00 marks according to my rough notes.
McGuff practices a weight-resistance version of HIIT which is different than the anaerobic version (bicycle or rowing machine). The important thing to note is that they are aiming for an entirely different metabolic regime than tradition interval training.
Somewhere else I read that this version of HIIT is not of great use for elite athletes, because the tissue stress involved requires such a long recovery time that it interferes with other necessary training. Elite athletes don't want to schedule three or four days of near total rest to recover from a single training day. HIIT is probably better suited to busy professionals who want to stay fit, but can't find the time to grind away in the gym 3 × 45 minutes every week within their aerobic threshold.
If HIIT targets different biochemical and recovery mechanisms, then I would say that it's a different exercise regime, despite superficial methodological similarities. But I'm no exercise scientist, so perhaps there are other views.
Just for reference, here are the other links from my notes:
Think hard about the underlying biochemistry before you proceed with this. In my view, if the exercise is governed by a completely different physiological target, it's not the same thing. — MaxEnt 14:32, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
@MaxEnt: I really appreciate your comments above. Good thought about exploring the underlying biochemistry. I continue to find medical articles that seem to indicate high-intensity interval training is just more adjectives hanging off of "interval training", but I'll leave the pages alone for now and keep thinking / waiting for others to chime in.
Is this still being discussed? HIIT isn't typically discussed in the context of the broader category of interval training. Most people looking for information about HIIT specifically wouldn't expect it in that context. At most, the interval article could have a brief paragraph about HIIT, with a "link to full article" situation. -2601:484:C001:1D83:C071:737:7246:532E (talk) 17:44, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
I would say that there is definitely a perception in the mainstream press of HIIT as its own thing.
Peaceray (talk) 21:00, 28 April 2016 (UTC)