Friday, 12 April 2013

Complete Guide to Interval Training Via

Complete Guide to Interval Training I couldn't have put this any better! A Superb guide to interval training The Complete Guide to Interval Training

More Health and Fitness News & Tips at Greatist.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Gymboss Interval Timer Instructional Video

Here's a great instructional video on how to use the Gymboss Interval Timer for timing circuit training, timing kettlebell training, you name it if it can be timed and its fitness the Gymboss will cover all these bases.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Gymboss Interval Timer App for iphone

If you don't have an actual physical Gymboss Interval Timer but do have an iphone, then the good news is that there is an iphone app for the gymboss interval timer and what's more it is available for zero cost

You can check out the Gymboss iphone app here

I don't really need to explain what is good about the gymboss but if you're unsure of what it can offer then, here is a gymboss interval timer review to assist you in deciding where you may go for iphone app or the physical product.

Also, here's a video review of another Interval timer iphone app

Monday, 5 December 2011

Ladder Training

One very interesting method for training is ladder training.

What is a ladder(in the physical training context of course)?

Simply put a ladder involves performing 1 rep of an exercise followed by a rest followed by 2 reps followed by a rest and so and so forth. 

On paper it would look very much like this:
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 with rest intervals between reps.

It could take the form of a kettlebell swing where 1 rep is performed using each hand followed by putting the kettlebell down for 15 secs and then 2 reps etc

Now, the earlier reps will be quite easy to perform but remember as the ladder progresses the rest period will still be 15 secs and the oxygen debt will build up making the latter part of the ladder very difficult to perform.

One of the reasons I like the ladder format is that it starts off at only 1 rep which is perfect for easing the mind into the training session which is great if you don’t fancy hitting the session with full force right at the beginning. 

A ladder eases you in even if it turns into a killer session later on, by which time you’ve warmed up and become accustomed to the routine.

Up and down the ladder
You don’t always have to go up a ladder you can go up it and down it in the same set too.

Going up and down a ladder using the above format with a kettlebell swing (using both hands) would result in 4 ½ minutes rest (assuming 15 secs between each step) and 200 reps performed).

If you had a target to reach of say 200 kettlebell swings in 10 minutes you could perform the above session and gradually reduce the rest time between steps by 1 sec gradually until you could do 200 non-stop.

Also, note that ladders do not need to start at 1 rep they can start at any number you like 2, 5, 10, 15 and go up and back down in whatever format and increment you wish.

Ladder training is a very effective and alternative way to train and another form of interval training

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Compound Barbell Interval Training

Fancy building muscle, shredding fat and getting fit using barbell compound intervals?
A compound exercise is basically a multi-joint exercise, examples of such exercises using a barbell would be, squats, bench press, deadlift, clean, press and snatch to name a few.   
However, a concentration curl with a dumbbell is not. 

The idea behind mixing compound barbell exercises with interval training is to engage as many muscle fibers and burn as much energy as possible.

By themselves the basic barbell exercises squat, deadlift, bench press and military press utilize the major muscle groups but put together with short rest periods can be turned into interval training sessions with great benefits .

As with circuit training it is best to alternate upper body with lower body exercises to reduce total body fatigue.
Compound Barbell Interval Workout Example

Barbell Squat       30:30 (30 secs squatting followed with 30 secs rest)
Bench Press        30:30
Deadlift               30:30
Overhead Press   30:30

Rest for 3-5 minutes (repeat if desired unless your in a pile on the floor).
If the 30 secs are too much or not enough then increase or decrease accordingly.
The format of the exercises can also be extended to involve other movements, such as bent over barbell row, barbell lunges or even using one handed barbell exercises to build an element of stability and extended functionality into your program.

Initially once per week using this protocol could be built into your regular training program and as many times as 3 depending on what your specific goals are.

The Gymboss Interval Timer is the perfect tool to time this type of interval, to ensure accuracy of work and rest

Monday, 7 November 2011

How To Improve Your Concept2 Times

How to Increase your Concept 2 Times Quickly
The Concept 2 rowing machine is quite possibly the finest piece of gym equipment ever designed, it’s superb for building fitness and endurance, keeping the body toned and is suitable for all body types. On top of this there is little if any body jarring so it will also save your knees from damage (which is always an issue with mindlessly pounding the pavements when you’re jogging).
With that said, the Concept 2 rowing machine provides a great challenge and an awesome motivation tool for those wishing to get fit and lose bodyweight.
Why is the Concept 2 so Awesome ?
If you’ve never been on Concept 2 before, it has a monitor attached which records and shows information relating to the speed and distance you are hypothetically travelling. The monitor can be set to do interval training, times and distance with many different options available on the display.
The most common distance raced or trained for is the 2k (2000m race), which when done to your full potential is so physically draining but also rewarding at the same time. There is nothing like exercising to full capacity and the benefits that come with it (which are both physical and mentally rewarding).
Interval Training
One excellent way to train for improving your 2000m best is interval trainining. Interval training for the uneducated or the ‘not-introduced yet’ is where you perform a set amount of work with a certain amount of rest.
For example, using a Concept 2 Rower you would perform 250m rowing followed by 1 minute of rest for a set amount of intervals.
This could also be work for time rather than a distance followed by a rest period for time.
Interval Training is King
Interval training is a superb way of increasing fitness quickly and efficiently although is not for everyone as it can be very demanding, however you should always train to your limits (if you have a very low level of fitness make sure you keep your intensity low initially and gradually build up). Variety is also key here, as many people find repetitive training very tedious and are more likely to give up before any goals are achieved.
8-12 Week 2000m Concept 2 Training Plan
There are many training plans that can be found on the Concept 2 website, all of them are very good and if followed with effort and a desire to improve will result in increases in fitness and 2000m personal bests. I have followed many of them in the past and have also created my own. I enjoy program designing and tweaking, here is one such plan that I have done in the past.
The program is based around 4 key workouts. How much time you devote to the plan is up to you, but the basis of the program is to try and improve your times for each routine each week over an 8 week period. There is no scientific basis backing this program up, you must monitor your own progress and decrease rest times where you can. When following such a program it is beneficial to monitor your resting heart rate first thing in the morning, once you have established a pattern (your RHR may come down over a period of weeks when you gain fitness), you must look for increases in your heart rate and decide if you are over training or becoming ill for some reason.
Also, ensure you keep a notebook with all your workout information (times/metres/rest times etc) recorded for future reference.
Workout 1          6 x 500m              3 mins rest between intervals (decrease rest time by 10 secs each session)
This is a particularly grueling workout and forms the basis of this program, I recommend doing the 500m as a sprint, aiming to get below your 2000m race pace on every interval. Eg 2k best is 7mins – aim to get under 1min 45 secs on each interval (ideally 5 secs under your PB pace)
Workout 2          3 x 1000m            3 mins rest between interval (decrease rest time by 10 secs each session)
Again this is similar to the 6x500m session and particularly hard too, aim for a similar pace as in workout 1.
Workout 3          10,000m               Row 10,000m without a rest, as fast as possible
Not specifically an interval session, but nonetheless challenging! Pace yourself to ensure that you complete the 10k. Target pace would typically be 15-20% slower than your 2k pace.
Workout 4          20 sec on/20 sec active rest for 30 mins
This interval is great for increasing your anaerobic threshold and should be done a little bit faster than your 5k best pace (around 8-12% slower than your 2k pace). Simply pull at your desired rate for 20 secs and follow with some very slowly controlled pulls for 20 secs after until the next 20 secs starts (set the monitor to 20sec on 20 sec off), so you never actually stop rowing for the whole duration of the session.
The 4 workouts can be done in 1 week and repeated the following week for 8 weeks. If you require less intensity on a workout then the 10k pull could replace one of the other workouts. Alternatively do all 4 workouts over a period of days that suits you (i.e over 8,9 or 10 days rather than a 7 day period).

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

How To Make Circuit Training Intervals Count

Circuit training - the ultimate ‘cover all’ fitness solution?
Quite possibly!  
Circuit training and forms of circuit training have been around for years, have been used for GPP for many a great athlete and weekend warrior a like. If you want to build a good base for fitness and strength in a short period of time then ‘circuit training’ may be the solution for you.  

What makes ‘Circuit Training’ so effective?

Circuit training is effectively a form of interval training, where you complete a certain amount of work versus a certain amount of rest repeatedly. Interval training has been proven to assist in the development of VO2MAX.

The circuit can be made up of as many stations (areas where you perform specific exercises) as you require or as few as required. The minimum requirement to make a ‘circuit training session’ would be 2 stations (where you could alternate between one upper body exercise and one lower body exercise or in any format you like or even specialize for a specific body part) and at the other end of the scale there is no limit to the amount of stations in a circuit.

Some circuit training enthusiasts like to train around a gym going from one machine to another, although it could be dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, aerobic machines, free weights, sandbags or bodyweight exercises (there is no limit and that is the beauty of circuit training and it’s flexibility). In my experience 4-6 stations are adequate for a good fully body circuit session.  

Circuit Training Exercise Formats

Although there are no rules about setting up a circuit training format (you are the master), it makes sense to alternate body part groups to avoid total fatigue of muscle groups. I have found the following format to be very useful 1. Lower Body movement 2. Upper Body movement 3. Abdominal/Trunk movement 4. Full Body movement This would allow each body part to partially recover before returning to the same station (or similar station where you may perform a related exercise.

Exercise selection for Circuit Training

To reiterate, you can choose any exercise you like for circuits but here are a few ideas to get your mind in the right direction for setting up some stations, using bodyweight exercises only (as these use very little or no equipment)  

Lower Body

Hindu Squats
Frog Squats
Free Squats
Forward Lunge
Reverse or lateral lunge
Bulgarian squats
Single leg squats
Heel kicks
High knees  

Upper Body

Push ups (shoulder width)
Push ups (Wide or narrow)
Hand stand pushups
Table top bridge
Clapping pushups
Single arm or unbalanced pushups
Pull-ups or chins
Dips (on chairs or bench)  

Abdominal Exercises

Sit ups
Russian Twists
Alternate knee sit ups
Prone back raise
Side bends  
Fully Body

Jumping jacks
Star jumps
Tuck jumps
Running on the spot
Squat thrusts
Scissors (swapping front legs/alternating)  

How Long Should I do each Station in a Circuit?

If you are starting from a low level of fitness then each station could last 10-15 secs with 10-15 secs of rest, but to start with I would recommend the following format for circuit sessions.
Also, you can either do once round the exercise groups or 2-3 etc times depending on what time you have available or what you are aiming to achieve (circuit training is a great way to build strength and fitness simultaneously for athletes in winter training for other disciplines). I’ll let you decide how many times around a circuit you do before you take a break.

The following is a basic example where the volume build sup over a series of weeks.
Week 1                 20-20-20 (5 min rest between circuits)
Week 2                 20-20-20-20 (4 min rest between circuits)
Week 3                 20-20-30-20 (4 min rest between circuits)
Week 4                 20-30-30-20 (4 min rest between circuits)
Week 5                 20-30-30-A-20 (3min rest between circuits and 3 mins active rest after 3rd circuit( A))
Week 6                 20-30-A-30-A-20 (3min rest between 1st and 2nd circuits and 3 mins active rest after 2nd & 3rd circuit( A))
Week 7                 20-A-30-A-30-A-30 (3 mins active rest after 1ST,2nd & 3rd circuit( A))
Week 8                 30-30-30-30        (2 ½ min rest between circuits)
Week 9                 30-A-30-A-30-A-30-A (mins active rest after 1ST,2nd & 3rd & 4th circuits( A))
Active rest could take the form of many things such as indoor rowing, skipping, running, cycling (stationary is probably best), power walking etc
Once fitness has been built the active recovery can be pumped up to be as challenging as you dare! In the past when at a peak of circuit training and physical endurance we used to run up and down steps for recovery (yes, it was still called recovery)
Closing notes        
This article has been a brief example of one way to do circuit training, you can swap exercises on every round to build variety and depth into your program to make it more challenging and more enjoyable. Don’t stick to just one way, explore every avenue can with your training! Not only will this make it more fun you’ll enjoy it much more and you’ll be likely to stick to it and find out things about yourself you never knew before.