High Intenisty Interval Training (HIIT) is the staple of most bootcamp cardio workouts. Not only is it effective, it also creates a challenging and competitive workout for your clients.
Interval drills are a fantastic way to finish off a workout if you have a little extra time. Alternatively, if your clients are quite fit, you can base an entire workout around it. Below I’ll lay out how to set up a great bootcamp interval drill step by step.
Step 1 – Warm-up
It’s important that before you have your clients engage in maximal effort work that they are properly warmed up.
By warm up I don’t mean just a 2 minute jog around the oval, sure that will get their heart going and fresh blood pumping to their legs but it still leaves them exposed to strains, sprains or even muscular tears.
In you warm-up make sure you include dynamic movements to increase range of motion (especially through the hips and ankles). I’m talking about high knees, butt kicks, power skips, side to side running, back pedaling and bounding. These are just a few ideas you could use. If you are unsure of what these are just ask in the comments below or send me an email. If there is interest I’d be happy to put up another post with pictures and demonstrations of different warm up activities for running.
Take a good 10 minutes to warm-up your clients if they haven’t done any activities yet. If they have already been exercising, 5 minutes will be sufficient.
Step 2 – Interval Length
Decide how long you want your clients to run for.
Using time works better than using distance works because most bootcamps have a varying level of fitness amongst the clients.
Try to use a time between 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Those time limits will keep your clients in the anerobic zone.
Now, your fitter clients can handle 2 minutes at an intense pace, less fit clients may really slow down after around 1 minute, depending on what exercise they have already been doing. Times as short as 20 or 30 seconds are also beneficial and are quick to fit in if you have limited time at the end of a workout.
In terms of work to rest ratio keep things as simple as possible, use a 1:1 ratio. That means if you are doing 1 minute of sprinting, wait 1 minute to rest (or active rest) before making another attempt.
So a workout filled with intervals might look something like this:
- Round 1: 2 minutes run, 2 min rest, 2 min run, 4 min rest and water break
- Round 2: 1 minute run, 1 min rest, 1 min run, 1 min rest, 1 min run, 4 min rest and water break
- Round 3: 30 second intervals (30 sec run, 30 sec rest) x 4
This You can adjust the number of intervals depending on how your clients are feeling and what their energy levels are.
Step 3 – Explain the concept
Now to keep the intensity up during this drill you need to offer your clients a goal.
To do this, hand each of your clients a cone. Using an oval or field (you can also make your own oval out of cones) have your clients perform their first work interval. Once the time is up have them drop their cone on the spot. After their rest, on the next interval the client needs to run back from that cone to the finish line, covering the same distance, inside the time allowed.
For example: If a client ran 1.5 laps on their first effort, they would then need to run 1.5 laps in the opposite direction back to the starting point before the time is up.
Clients should continue using that cone as a distance marker for the next interval. If you feel that a client is making it back to the start too easily in the set time, simply adjust their cone a little further away.
Step 4 – Optional: Increase the difficulty
For most clients, the above interval drill will be difficult enough. However, if you want to add a little twist or increase the intensity you can replace the rest periods with active rest.
Active rest involves a low intensity exercise that allows a client to regain their breath and focus for another maximal effort. For some clients this could be jogging, for others it could be doing squats. Some of my favourites are the Plank (also known as Pillar or Prone hold), Isometric squat, jogging on the spot or shuttle runs.
Now you should have all the tools to make a simple bootcamp invterval workout or even just a quick interval finisher. Be aware of energy levels and intensity at all times.
Don’t forget to cool your clients down with a walk and then some stretching.
Image: B Rosen