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View Full Version : Interval Training no more than 2-3 times a week?


Brandon Enos
06-15-2008, 01:41 PM
I found this article: http://fitnessblackbook.com/aerobic-exercise/balancing-steady-state-aerobics-with-interval-training/

In it, the author says:
Also…it has been shown in studies that performing HIIT more than 2-3 times a week is a bad idea. I've been guilty of doing this type of workout 4-5 times per week, but I'm now down to 2 times per week. Note: Many people suggest doing this for no more than 8 weeks before taking a few weeks off, to make sure you don't wind up chronically overtrained.

Thoughts? Anyone else hear this? Would those here agree that High Intenisty Interval Training not be performed more than 3 times a week? If so, does that differentiate between running (sprints) and resistance based (like many of the different metcon WODs)?

Júlíus G. Magnússon
06-15-2008, 03:10 PM
Doesn't HIIT and sprinting essentially burn out your CNS in a similar fashion as a heavy deadlifting session does?

Steven Low
06-15-2008, 03:23 PM
2-3 times a week for who?

Professional athletes have practices where they are required to sprint 5-6+ days a week and they're not winding up chronically overtrainined or have bad results.

I was doing 3 sessions of HIIT per week with 5x a week heavy rings strength & pistols + other leg explosive exercises during last summer. I was maybe slightly underrecovered at most. Went ~5-6 weeks on and then a week downtime with not really any major problems.

It really boils down to a few factors namely (1) ability of the person to recovery, (2) the volume of said intervals or sprinting which affects #1, and (3) how it is integrated with other programming which I assume is generally weightlifting or "bodybuilding" which has a tendency to be higher volume work, heh.

Garrett Smith
06-15-2008, 03:58 PM
I think not going above 90% in HIIT (note that it is called HIGH intensity) more than 2-3 days a week for those with a longevity bias is a great idea.

This is likely a big reason for the success so far of many hybrid programs. The "HIIT" has been reduced to manageable levels in terms of recovery.

Brandon Enos
06-15-2008, 06:42 PM
2-3 times a week for who?

Professional athletes have practices where they are required to sprint 5-6+ days a week and they're not winding up chronically overtrainined or have bad results.

I was doing 3 sessions of HIIT per week with 5x a week heavy rings strength & pistols + other leg explosive exercises during last summer. I was maybe slightly underrecovered at most. Went ~5-6 weeks on and then a week downtime with not really any major problems.

It really boils down to a few factors namely (1) ability of the person to recovery, (2) the volume of said intervals or sprinting which affects #1, and (3) how it is integrated with other programming which I assume is generally weightlifting or "bodybuilding" which has a tendency to be higher volume work, heh.

That was actually one of my first major thoughts, 'What about olympic sprinters?'

Garrett Smith
06-16-2008, 06:34 AM
Elite sprinters likely have more "high" gears than we realize. Instead of just 5th gear (their highest), they might have 5a, 5b, 5c. That would allow them to train at, let's say, 5a most of the time (ie. 90-95%) and save many of their truly max efforts for specific training days and races.

I'd guess there is also a big difference in the recovery needs of trying to accelerate to top speed as quickly as possible and doing more gradual build-up sprints (I forget the common name of those).

They also train sprinting a lot, so their recovery channels are specifically adapted to sprinting. This is in diametric opposition to recovery channels in a randomized GPP program, like doing a 10k run once every 2-3 months...

James Evans
06-16-2008, 07:40 AM
On the subject of how sprinters train I posted this here a while back:

http://www.performancemenu.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2342

on the British Sprinter Dwain Chambers. I was interested that the Rugby League guys had found him so unconditioned for their sport.

Garrett is right here. These guys are not going all out every time they train. There are some interesting articles on speed training over at EliteFTS.

By the way, Chambers didn't get taken on by Castleford and is building up to challenge his Olympic ban. Though he's been running quick times and winning the BOC are being helped by the fact he isn't running fast enough to hit the qualifying time. I caught someone's paper over their shoulder this morning and read that he'd done it this weekend but I've just checked:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/athletics/7455270.stm

The British athletics community is getting pretty het up about this.

Mike ODonnell
06-16-2008, 11:41 AM
Alite athletes do high intensity work in a high recovery environment (plenty of rest and lower recovery work between high intensity efforts). So they sprint....rest a while.....sprint.....rest a while. It's not the same for the average person training at high intensity for 20min non-stop and frying their CNS every day. I think that was the point of not doing it more than 2-3x a week for the average trainee.

Scott Kustes
06-17-2008, 07:59 AM
Sprinters aren't typically sprinting full out most of the time. Most training days are intensive or extensive tempo (75-85% intensity, short rests, many repeats). As MOD said, speed days are full out efforts, but might have 10-15 minutes of rest between hits. Speed-endurance days are short and incredibly taxing, but are done probably only once per week.

Mike ODonnell
06-18-2008, 08:17 AM
Sprinters aren't typically sprinting full out most of the time. Most training days are intensive or extensive tempo (75-85% intensity, short rests, many repeats). As MOD said, speed days are full out efforts, but might have 10-15 minutes of rest between hits. Speed-endurance days are short and incredibly taxing, but are done probably only once per week.

Lyle McDonald goes into more of that too on his writings for the whole interval vs steady state approach....I highly recommend it to everyone....

(this is the wrapup...but he has other links to his parts 1-4 in it also)
http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/blog/2008/05/02/stead-state-versus-intervals-finally-a-conclusion/