March 29, 2010

Burst Out of Your Workout Rut

This article was originally posted on

Have you ever noticed someone at the gym on the treadmill day after day but who doesn't seem to be getting in any better shape? They are probably stuck in a workout rut.

Different types of exercises and workouts cause your muscles to develop differently. For example, sprinters are typically very muscular as they are built for speed and power, whereas marathon runners are thin and lanky since their muscles are built for endurance.

We have been told over and over that to get in shape you need to exercise for an hour a day, but more isn't always the answer—especially if it is a repetitive exercise (unless you are training for a marathon).

Burst training, also known as sprint training or interval training, can typically provide the missing link to a workout routine. Most people think that doing sprint workouts is only for high-level athletes, but sprint workouts can be very effective for anyone at any age. This type of workout helps build more lean muscle on your body, which increases your resting metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more calories than you would if you didn't have that extra lean muscle mass. This is why those who have more muscle just seem to have an easier time maintaining their weight.

Interval workouts can be done not only by running, but by bicycling, swimming, rope jumping, weight lifting or any other form of activity that alternates fast bursts with rest periods. Never skip a warm-up period before burst training because the warm up is very important to avoid injury. It is also important to incorporate stretching into your cool down period.

Here is a typical pattern of burst training:

Warm up

20 seconds full intensity
20 seconds low intensity/rest
20 seconds full intensity
20 seconds low intensity/rest
20 seconds full intensity
20 seconds low intensity/rest

2 minute rest period

Repeat the entire set three times

Cool down

Apply burst training to your current form of exercise, or try a new form of exercise in intervals. Not only will it take less time, but you will see faster results from your workouts. Remember to always switch up the type exercise you are doing so you can burst out of your workout rut!

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