Home Blog The New Era of Interval Training

The New Era of Interval Training

Written on July 23, 2010 at 5:13 am, by Eric Cressey

Most of you already know by now that I’m not a fan of “traditional” cardio.

Step aerobics classes have ruined enough knees, Achilles tendons, and hips.

Ellipticals don’t allow you enough hip flexion to avoid developing hips like a crowbar.

Most people don’t need to sit on their fat a**es on bikes, either because most people, well, they sit on their fat a**es enough as it is.

In short, as I’ve noted in the past in my discussions of The Law of Repetitive Motion Part 1 and Part 2, take a small amplitude of motion and repeat it thousands of times and you’re going to wind up with some issues sooner than later.  And, to take it a step further, you’re going to get efficient at this motion – and over the course of time, burn fewer calories (especially if you’re doing steady-state cardio and not interval work).

It’s not like I haven’t made suggestions on other stuff to do, either.  Try Sprinting for Health, Rethinking Interval Training, or When Things Get Boring, Turn to Cardio Strength Training.  I also recently raved about the emphasis Chad Waterbury placed on movement on his great new fat loss program, Body of Fire.

And, if you need one more example, here was a little fun I had with an impromptu conditioning session on Sunday afternoon at Cressey Performance: Alternating Lateral Lunge Walk with Keg paired with Inchworms.

I’d already done some cable woodchops, t-push-ups, face pulls, slideboard, easy sprinting progressions, and medicine ball throws in a circuit format that day (pair up two exercises with low resistance and rotate back and forth without stopping for three minutes).  It’s not rocket science because we aren’t building rockets; people just need to move more.


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  • Great post Eric-

    I’m glad that you brought up the fact that constantly doing the same thing over time will cause us to become efficient at it thus burning less calories. People hear that they need to “change” up their cardio routine, but don’t know why-well, there it is. I also think that many cardio junkies feel that because they are more efficient means they are in “better shape.” Unless they step up the intensity or do some interval work they won’t progres-but rather regress to an extent.

    Great post…thanks!

    MA

  • didldoo

    Doing the same 20 BW lunges year, in year out will have the same effect. Now you will probably say, that in strength-cardio circuits you’ll increase resistance (or other parameters) over time. Duuh – there a few steady-state cardio people out there who do not increase rpm or resistance, especially when doing heart rate monitored training, and thus adapting the cardio to the target heart rate.

  • A short post but packed with a ton of great information. It makes me laugh whenever I see people sitting on those bikes at the gym, especially the ones with the backrest. Some people are sitting there reading a magazine while they’re pumping away on those fake pedals, thinking they’re getting a great workout with no effort at all.

    This is a good refresher for anyone that does nothing but the same cardio everyday!

    Ken Rogers

  • In the same vein, it blows my mind how frequently people still use steady aerobic work as “warm up” when they can be developing themselves with quality movement to achieve an identical end.

    Regards,
    Carson Boddicker

  • Not only does your body adapt to doing the same stuff over and over…it get’s boring! Hey, maybe that’s why people fall off the “fitness bandwagon”.

    Great post, I’m gonna give your lateral lunge with the keg a try.


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