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Interval training 

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Interval training is a fantastic way to challenge yourself and at the same time improve your stamina. Intervals can be done by almost everyone and always start from your own level and experience. This type of training means that you divide your session into smaller sections and switch between high intensity and low intensity or rest. In that way you will in turn be able to stay the high intensity training for longer periods after a while and during the session be able to maintain better quality than if you did not rest in-between. It means your sessions will be much more effective. In general, you can say that the higher the effort the greater the effect.

Your interval sessions can be varied to infinity. You can choose to switch between different workouts by changing the high and low intensity parts each time. Another variant is to measure the intervals in distance instead of time, and of course you can do interval training no matter what sport you are practicing. You can f.ex. run outside on a flat surface, in a hill, a staircase, on a treadmill, using a stationary bike or a normal bike, rowing machine or a cross trainer. The important thing is that you exert yourself more than during a “normal” session.

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Before you start an interval session it is really important to warm up and prepare your body for the exertion coming up. We recommend at least 10 minutes of warm-up before the session. The better your physical shape the shorter the rest in-between intervals and the shorter the intervals, the more effort you can put into each one. Just test different versions to find your favorites.


You can also use interval training when you are out walking. You could increase your walking speed between one or a few telephone poles or for all the hills, as a way to get started with your interval training.

Tips if you want to test intervall training:

  • 1-minute intervals: work hard for 1 minute and rest for 45-60 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

  • Tabata intervals (there are several apps top download): work hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 8 times. A Tabata session is a total of 4 minutes, so you can do 2-3 sessions in order to get a really hard work out. Tabata intervals can be used for almost any type of exercise, dips, squats, sit-ups etc.

  • 4-minute intervals: work hard for 4 minutes, rest or continue with a low intensity period of 2-4 minutes. Repeat 4 times. This is sometimes called Norwegian intervals.

  • "Death by burpees": a challenge where the goal is to keep going as long as you can. For the first minute you do 1 burpee, the second minute you do 2 and just keep on until you can't do any more for the period of time. In the begining you get a lot of rest - less as you get further down the road. Guaranteed a tough interval workout!

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About the authors Jessica & Maria

Challengize health tips are written for us by Jessica Norrbom and Maria Ahlsén, both with PHDs in medicine. Since 2013 they run their own business Fortasana working mainly with diet, training and health from a scientific perspective. Maria and Jessica have written several books and regularly lecture focusing mainly on popular health myths and explain what is actually true from a scientific perspective when it comes to diets, trends and newspaper headlines.

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