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Interval Training

Maximum Effort for Maximum Results

I’ve been a personal trainer for over thirteen years and I have continued to use interval training as a baseline or benchmark for my clients.

What is Interval Training: Interval training can be described as a set amount of time for a certain exercise followed by a short rest period. Or it can be a group of exercises that have a time limit or rep count in it (moving from one exercise to another with the rest period at the end of a sequence). The most popular interval used by many boot camps or circuit style training classes is a ratio of 50 sec. to 1 min. of exercise to 10 sec. of rest. In recent years “Tabata” training (8 reps of 20 sec. of work to 10 sec. of rest, for 4 minutes) has really grown in popularity.

Why Try Interval Training: These days my clients are so busy, they simply don’t have time to waste; especially those die hard “Gym Rats”. So every second really does count. Interval training allows for the maximum results with the least amount of time. The great thing about interval training is that you can make it as specific to a muscle group as you like or as functional as you want. Your work to rest ratio can change each set or each round (group of exercises). Each interval set or round can be anywhere from 2-3 to 10 or more different exercises. Interval training can be modified to emphasize strength training by keeping the rest (recovery time) short. Alternatively, you can keep the heart rate up with active rest during recovery time, by jogging instead of simply stopping, and work on your conditioning as well. Combining strength and cardio-training together is otherwise known as anaerobic training. This is where interval training can really help those who don’t have a lot of time on their hands make their workouts as efficient as they can be.

You can group a few well known exercises together, put a time limit on it with a short rest period, and have a really tough workout. Here are some examples:

1) 50-40-30 x 4 sets (8 min) rest at the end of the 4 sets for 1 min

-50 sec. body or dumbbell squats (for your lower body)
-40 sec. push ups (knees down or knees up) (for your upper body)
-30 sec. jog in one spot or skipping (active rest for your cardio)

2) 50 sec. 10 sec. rest or (transition) executed for 3 complete sets

-Dumbbell or body bar back rows (for your back)
-Prone position leg lifts (for your lower abs)

3) Alternating Lunges

4) Tricep kickbacks

5) Skipping

As with any workout please consult your doctor before performing a new exercise routine.


Coach J a 13 plus years in personal and group training. Is Owner of Freestyle 5ive Fitness and Co-owner of Spynga North and recently was name 2013 Trainer of the Year by both the Richmond Hill and Thornhill Post magazine. For more info on workouts, classes and locations contact Coach J at coachj@freestyle5ivefitness.com and remember Maximum Effort Maximum Results.