Why do Interval Training.

My choice of training is Interval cross training

I have noticed that I have a lot of patients who present to On the Go physio, with muscle and joint pain due to doing the same low level prolonged exercise in their training programmes.

They typically do a 40 minute run or 2 hour ride at the same pace, at same frequency over the same distance.

There is growing evidence that the best form of exercise for weight loss, gaining muscle mass and preventing muscle and joint overuse injuries is called interval training.

The University of NSW published a study which suggests that for weight loss 20 minutes, three times a week, of high intensity sprints, alternating with less intense periods was the way to go to improve your fitness and learn body mass.

When we say Interval cross training we mean exercise that is not flat out, its fast movement at about 70-80% (150-170 BPM) of your maximum heart rate for a set period of time. Cross training means that you use alternative forms/types of exercise on different days.

Studies have shown that when you exercise in this manner, you get really high levels of (Stress hormone) catecholamines released and they flood your blood while in circulation . These hormones are shown to break down fat.

The second thing was when you look at steady state aerobic exercise, rarely would you see any change in muscle mass. Interval training adds an extra overload to the muscle only for a period of time. A Study in Journal of Obesity looking at the effect of high intensity intermittent exercise on body composition showed in cycling training muscle mass went up in legs and trunk in legs in only a three month period doing sprint type interval training.

Interval training method also moves away from the trend of having to do long time periods of steady state type of exercise. Using big volumes of training can increase the risk of overuse repetitive micro-trauma. This sustained overload on your muscle and joints increase your risk of developing overuse injuries.

Before you start any exercise programme I would recommend your consult your GP and a biomechanical assessment from you physiotherapist would also be of great benefit.

So if you are starting out on your next exercise programme to get fit for a Iron-man triathlon, Rotto Channel Swim, Adventure race or you are just wanting to improve your health, I would recommended to you, that interval cross training is the way to go. It will get you fitter faster whilst reducing your risk of developing biomechanical overuse injuries


Heydari M et al. The effect of high-level intensity intermittent exercise on body composition of overweight young males. Journal of obesity. Doi:10.1155/202/480467

Quick sprints cut abdominal fat in men-health report-ABC radio National


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