Interval Training Goes Wrong: 5 Ways To Do It Right Like A Pro

With celebrities, sportsmen, and fitness trainers going bonkers over the benefits of interval training, high-intensity interval training has become an extremely popular form of workout among newbies and professionals alike. 

However, with the surge in popularity, it has been observed that the rate of injury due to interval training has considerably increased too. And upon further investigation it has been noticed, there are certain factors that are at play. 

Interval training requires high intensity and effort and often people tend to push themselves harder than they ever would normally and that generally leads to sore joints and muscles and an increased risk of injury. 

Curious to know what we are talking about and how you can possibly avoid those instances, continue reading the article till the end then. 

What is interval training? 

However, before we move further into the article, let us first understand what we mean by interval training? 

Interval training is referred to as workout sessions that manipulate the intensity and duration of the workout intervals and the time of the rest periods to create the desired training responses. 

Originally, referred to as Fartlek, a Swedish term that means speed play, interval training consists of an alternation between short and fast bursts of intense exercises followed by brief resting periods. 

If you are curious to know how does interval training works, then here is a quick breakdown for you:

  1. Interval training works repetitively on the anaerobic and aerobic systems during intense periods of activity. 
  2. The anaerobic system metabolizes the glycogen stored in the muscles for intense bursts of energy. 
  3. The lactic acid, therefore, builds up as a by-product and one experiences the oxygen debt. 
  4. Now during the resting phase, the body is allowed to recover and as the heart and the lungs work together, the lactic acid is broken down and the aerobic system then takes over and converts the stored carbohydrates to provide energy. 

A typical example of interval training may be described as the following

  1. 30 seconds of jumping ropes
  2. 30 secs sprint drills
  3. Sprint and speed training drills were generally the performer runs for 20-30 mins at a time
  4. Explosive exercise training comprises sprinting and jumping
  5. Agility drills and shuttle runs
  6. After 2 minutes of running the stairs
  7. Plyometric jumping exercises
  8. Tuck jumps

The interval training sessions are typical of short duration and are an amalgamation of two or more of the above-mentioned exercises. They are generally customized according to the capacity of the performer and the intensity and the exercising durations are generally manipulated accordingly. 

Now, you may wonder that interval training may be hyped unnecessarily, then here are the potential benefits of performing interval training for you to consider

  1. Helps in burning a lot of calories in relatively a short period of time. 
  2. Helps in gaining muscles. 
  3. Improves oxygen consumption and boosts the working capacity of the lungs. 
  4. Helps in ameliorating a variety of ailments including blood sugar and high blood pressure. 

Where does the interval training go wrong?

So that now we know the basics of interval training, let us now look at the instances where the interval training generally goes wrong

1.Skipping warmup and cooldown periods

According to fitness trainers, one of the most common mistakes that people tend to commit during interval training is skipping their warmup and cooldown sessions. 

It has been scientifically proven that having proper warmup and cooldown sessions is a necessity as it helps in preventing the risk of injury for the performer. 

Stretching before an interval training session minimizes muscle soreness and prepares the body for the upcoming strenuous workout sessions. 

And on the other hand, having a proper cooldown period after each session aids the body in the post-workout recovery.

Also Read: 4 World-Class Warm-Ups To Become The Next Fitness Champion

2. Not consuming the proper nutrition

One of the most potent benefits of interval training is that it helps in burning calories in a short period. 

Young sportswoman making herself a healthy smoothie and slicing fresh fruit in the kitchen.

However, interval training can go wrong and have a drastic effect on your health if you do not have enough carbs in your body to draw nutrition from. 

Avoid going to interval training on an empty stomach as it will not only decrease your performance rate but will also likely make you sick and weak in general. 

Try to have light snacks before your workout. Bananas or a protein shake will just do fine. However, do not go heavy on snacking too.

Also Read: Top 8 Nutrition Tips That All Athletes Must Follow!

3. Intervals taken are too long

The intervals between the training sessions should be maintained between 15-30 seconds maximum. However, performers due to the high intensity of the workouts generally take intervals longer than necessary. 

The main motive of the internal training is to go as hard and fast as we can and the rest period should be provided as such so that fatigue does not set in. 

If fatigue sets in between the workout sessions, you will become lethargic to continue with the session and that will likely defeat the purpose altogether.

4. Incorrect form

Interval training sessions are intense and require energy and effort. 

However, to continue a session, one should not ignore their form. 

Having the incorrect form and posture not only works on the wrong targeted muscle groups but also puts excess strain on joints and makes the performer susceptible to injury.

Also Read: Exercising When You Have an Injury: How To Do It Safely?

5. Putting excess strain over yourself

We often follow the misconception that doing a workout excessively will help in achieving the result faster. 

However, this generally can increase the risk of injuries and also lead to burnout. 

One may feel that excess practice can help in building the muscles faster but it is quite the other way round. 

Interval training should be performed only 3-4 times a week and excess strain should not be put on the body. Listen to your body. Follow the rest days and let your body recover from the workouts completely. 

In short, to summarize, some of the precautions that one should follow during interval training are:

  1. Setting a realistic goal that should not put strain on oneself or have a drastic effect on one’s health. 
  2. Having a proper warmup before the actual workout session. 
  3. Not to be hard on yourself initially. Start slow. Build your form and stamina and then increase the intensity and repetitions accordingly. 
  4. Maintaining a consistent pace throughout a session. 
  5. Not having a resting period over 30 seconds. 
  6. A proper cooldown session following every workout session. 
  7. Proper nutrition should be consumed. 
  8. Proper workout gear should be used while working out. 

Also Read: 10 Post Workout Stretch Moves That Will Help You Unwind After Exercising

Now there you go. Hopefully, the article was able to point out the faults that fitness enthusiasts usually commit. 


As mentioned previously, interval training requires intensity and effort and therefore, interval training should always be performed under the guidance of a competent professional. 

Follow the above-mentioned measures. Listen to the guidance of your trainer and most importantly, listen to your body. 

We are sure the time will come soon where you will bask in the magic that interval training provides. 

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