Sometimes shorter really is better: interval training v. long slow cardio


Still spending hours doing cardio and frustrated with your results?  Researchers compared the effectiveness of two different exercise protocols done in six training sessions over 2 weeks.  The first, a low volume sprint-interval training (SIT) group,  performed 4-6 repeats of 30 seconds of cycling with a 4 min recovery. Each session lasted no more than 30 min. The second,  a high volume endurance training (ET) group, cycled  at 90-120 minutes at a lower intensity. The results? After only 2 weeks, improvements in muscle oxidative capacity, muscle buffering capacity and exercise performance were similar between groups, despite the fact that total training volume was about 90% lower for the SIT versus ET group.   Take home point: shorter, more intense interval sessions are just as effective for improving metabolism as longer sessions, but require less than 20% of time.  

For more information on the science of exercise, check out the upcoming seminar, “Pumped: Building a Better Brain Through Exercise”

1. Gibala MJ. Short-term sprint interval versus traditional endurance training: similar initial adaptations in human skeletal muscle and exercise performance. The Journal of Physiology. 2006;575(3):901–911. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2006.112094.