A beginners guide to interval training

Plus a simple workout for you

Interval training can be very beneficial when you include it regularly in your workout program.

I always say that variety is the key factor for most people to be able to remain consistent with their exercise habit.

Varying your workouts not only keeps things interesting, it also helps you to keep seeing results.

So there’s less chance of you getting bored with the same old routine. And by continually challenging your body in different ways, you’ll keep getting stronger and fitter.

 

Wendy running treadmill intervals at the gym

Why interval training?

There’s no doubt that you need to find the right exercise combination that works for you. That means trying different things over a period of time, but it’s worth it to know you’re getting the most out of the time you spend exercising.

Interval training is a great way to build strength and endurance, without spending hours on your training sessions.

Your workouts can as simple or as complex as you want them to be. What I like best about interval training is that the sessions are generally between 20 and 40 minutes in duration.

I’m a huge fan of “getting in and getting it done.” As much as I enjoy exercising, I don’t like to spend all day at it!

 

Wendy performing a farmers carry walking across the gym floor

Different types of interval training workouts

When it comes to intervals, there are lots of different types of interval training workouts you can do. There are very simple workout routines that can be done on a treadmill, cross trainer, or exercise bike. Then there are interval strength training circuits utilising gym machines.

HIIT – high intensity interval training circuits, and Tabata intervals are very popular workouts, due to the way they’re designed. Your body will not only burn fat during the workout, it will continue to do so for several hours afterwards too.

HIIT and Tabata circuits are not the type of intervals I would recommend to anyone just starting out though. They are intermediate to advanced level workouts, as they require a degree of fitness and stamina that take some time to develop.

An ideal training program for general fitness and strength will include a mixture of intervals, cardio and strength training.

Screenshot of the simple interval timer app

It’s a good idea to use a timer app that’s specifically designed for interval circuits.  This “Simple Interval Timer” app is a good basic free one.

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Simple beginners interval workout

This is a beginners interval workout with exercises that can be adapted to suit various fitness levels, ages and capabilities.

***PLEASE NOTE: You should always consult your doctor, or other health care professional before starting this, or any other workout or training program, to decide if it is right for your needs.***

What you need to know before you start this interval workout

  • Spend 5-10 minutes on a full body warm up. A few minutes of foam rolling your major muscle groups will also help to activate your muscles, so the right muscles are being recruited for each exercise.

 

  • This is a 20 minute beginners interval workout, broken up into 2 sections. Work at a pace that will elevate your heart rate, and get you puffing!

 

  • There are variations listed for each exercise. Work at the level that best suits your ability.

 

  • Rest for 2-3 minutes after you complete the first section, to have a quick drink of water, and get your breathing back under control.

 

  • Make sure you stretch at the end of your workout. I’ve included a short video with 3 easy leg stretches below the other demonstrations.

 

Watch the video below by Cori from Redefining Strength if you need a warmup routine.

ROUND 1:

Set a timer for 10 minutes and complete as many rounds as possible, moving between the 3 exercises without stopping. Slow your pace, or modify/regress as you need to.

1. 10 x bodyweight squats, with feet shoulder width apart. Variations include sumo squats (legs wider) jump squats, adding a pulse at the bottom, or holding dumbbells/a kettlebell.

 
2. 5 x pushups: on your toes if you can, or modify using a bench – start with a high bench like your kitchen counter, and progressively move lower as you become stronger.
 
3. 20 x jumping jacks. Variation is to alternately tap each leg to the side, or make it harder by using some light dumbbells.
 
Rest for 2-3 minutes.
 

ROUND 2:

Complete 3 sets of the following:
 
1. 20 x bicycle crunches. Variation is tapping each leg down on the ground, instead of extending.
 
2. 10 x glute bridges. Variations to make these more challenging are single leg bridges, with one leg raised, or pulsing and holding at the top for 2-3 seconds.

Basic bodyweight squat

Pushups from a coffee table

Jumping jacks demo

Side taps demo

Basic glute bridge demo

Bicycle crunches demo

Wendy demonstrating a bicycle crunch

Make sure you stretch at the end of your workout.

I’ve got 3 simple leg stretches for you in this video.

 

You might also like to try this HIIT RUN INTERVAL WORKOUT

Get some motivating music to fire up your workout: MY FAVOURITE PLAYLISTS

Make sure you read this post on staying motivated: 11 WAYS TO KEEP UP YOUR EXERCISE MOTIVATION

And don’t forget to visit my YouTube CHANNEL for more!

Pin this workout for later!

Compilation of interval exercise images
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