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Interval cardio workout plan

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Can someone help me set one up.

I'm planning on doing elliptical and then rowing for 10' to start. Move up X per week. What should X be? What intensity do I go at? How many seconds rest? How many seconds on? How many days a week should I go for

Finally, can you do interval cardio for swimming? I planned on swimming 30' a day, 5 days a week. Right now I can do 1000 meters in 20-25 minutes.
post #2 of 6
First I'd want to know that you don't have any heart issues.  I'm sure you probably don't but just needed to point it out because high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great tool, but not okay for someone with a heart condition of any sort - or at least not without first getting clearance to do so. 

Assuming you are healthy, I'd start with the following:

2 min warmup (easy)
1 min hard; 1 min easy x 4
2 min cooldown (easy)

I'd work that up to 6 reps of 1 min hard/1 min easy and then I'd mix it up a bit.  Including the following options

Intervals A:
2 min easy 
30s hard; 45s easy x 4
1 min easy
30s hard; 45s easy x 4
2 min easy

Intervals B:
3 min easy 
15s hard; 30s easy x 4
2 min easy
15s hard; 30s easy x 4
3 min easy

Intervals C:
2 min easy 
15s hard; 30s easy 
30s hard; 45s easy
60s hard; 60s easy
2 min easy
60s hard; 60s easy
30s hard; 45s easy
15s hard; 30s easy
2 min easy

Then once you feel really fit, try the following (not for the faint of heart!):
2 min easy
20s hard; 10s easy x 8
3 min easy
20s hard; 10s easy x 8
2 min easy

You should be able to do swimming intervals as long as you are a good enough swimmer that you can adjust your pace.  

Elsbeth
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
No heart issues.

How long would you do the beginning workout for? Is 5 days a week okay?

How long do you think I'll be doing the first set of intervals for? More than 6 weeks? 
post #4 of 6
Heart rate is an important aspect of interval training. You need to determine your max HR and then work for specified periods at a percentage of your HRmax. Generally it is somewhere between 85 and 92% of HRmax for a period of 6 to 12 minutes in 2 to 5 sets. BTW 220 minus your age is not an accurate way to determine HRmax. Find a conditioning coach and go from there, or find a sports med doc and tell him that you want to determine your HRmax. You will also need a HR monitor. Polar makes a variety of HRMs for almost all applications.

5 days a week should not be a problem, depending on your conditioning. It is tough to determine your length of intervals without knowing your HR. You can guess at time but it is not accurate. Depending on age and health, accuracy can be criticle.

Rick H
post #5 of 6
With the disclaimer that I'm not a fitness professional, I'd like to ask MBP67 what the overall level of his aerobic system is at the outset. I would be very cautious to enter into a fitness program that focused on high intensity training at the outset. Should a basic low intensity aerobic training be pursued first?

This past summer I returned to cycling after many years away. I thought my aerobic system was OK, but  it did not take long to realize I was fooling myself. After a few weeks, I  started using a Heart Rate Monitor and quickly learned I  was going too far, too fast, too soon. It took a couple of months to build up my basic system to the point where high intensity intervals could be performed without over stressing my system. It is so easy to get your heart rate up to max levels, and, it just does not make sense to push it too soon.
post #6 of 6
Living Proof - you raise a good point about beginner levels.  I don't really agree with the notion that there's a need to start with the lower intensity stuff mind you.  There are many proponents of that approach in the training field, but there are also many like me who do not agree with that approach.  I think that if you are training for endurance sports like running or swimming then you do need some base, but I don't believe there is a need for it for weight loss/fat loss, general fitness or other sports performance.  But again - this is an area where the industry is a bit divided.  

I absolutely agree with you that you don't want to overtax yourself initially, and one good way to do that is to use your heart rate monitor to determine when to start your next interval.  So instead of timing intervals with a specific work to rest ratio (as in the examples above), it would be a good idea to start with going hard for 60s and then going easy until your heart rate returns to 65% of max HR. Initially this will probably take much longer than 60s, but as you get more fit, you will recover more quickly.

I would suggest keep doing that until you are able to recover in 60s and then keep doing it for one more week and then progress to the other options.

Elsbeth
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