Wednesday, May 26, 2010

HEALTH: Interval Strength Training

If you do strength training, you probably know that your body can plateau and changing up your exercise pattern is a good way to kick your body back into gear. In an effort to do just such a kick start, my gym buddy and I often try new techniques. One such that we find very effective is what we call Interval Strength Training.

The term Interval Training is overused already, utilized for other techniques unrelated to what we are talking about here. While a better name is needed, when we use it in our workout routine, we always know what we mean by it.

You can call it what you want, but in context of this post, Interval Training is a method of simply changing the order of the weight changes in a set. Traditional methods do 3 sets of 10 repetitions (reps) of increasing strength: light, medium, heavy. It is also a good idea to always start with a warm up set that isn't counted in the above 3.

Interval Strength Training is a little different. We shock the muscle by jumping back and forth, and also change the reps per set. The first set is the traditional "light" set at 10 - 12 reps. Next, we jump up to our heaviest set at 4 - 6 reps. If you are able to do more than 6 reps on Heavy, than you have misjudged your weight selection and should fix it next time. The 3rd set is Medium; somewhere between the heavy and light, and should be 8 - 10 reps. Finally, we push out a set of what we call "Super Light" which is set below the Light set from before and we have to do 20 reps at this weight.

The method here allows for your muscles to work on heavier weights earlier in the workout before they fatigue, which will encourage muscle growth. The super light set at the end helps to build endurance as you push your muscles to fatigue. Our own application of this technique is to do 2 or 3 weeks traditional, then a week of Interval Strength Training to "change it up".

Give it a try and see the results. Feel free to report them here for others to benefit.

To Recap:
1. Light = 10 - 12 Reps
2. Heavy = 4 - 6 Reps
3. Medium = 8 - 10 Reps
4. Super Light = 20 Reps

1 comment:

  1. Ah, great tip here! I'll definitely give this a shot going forward as I find continuing the traditional workout routine does suffer from the "plateau" effect and I usually tend to try out a whole different exercise in order to mix things up for my body. But this looks like a great way to continue doing the same exercise differently.