Those of you interested in taking your cardiovascular training to another level and making it more efficient, read on. This method is not for everyone, but it is very effective for those of us with minimal time for exercising as well as on-ice athletes. It’s called interval training. It taxes the correct fuel systems in on-ice athletes (as well as many off-ice athletes) to make it a very effective training tool. There are several different ways to approach this methodology, but we’ll keep it simple. It involves intense exercise, causing a dramatic rise in heart rate, followed by a sharp drop in intensity. The simplest way to apply intervals is to exercise at a high intensity for thirty seconds followed by ninety seconds of low intensity exercise. These phases are repeated back-to-back for a set number of cycles based on your ability. Let me give you an example using the treadmill. After a short warm-up at a low level (manual setting), increase the intensity so that it is difficult (perhaps, 4 mph at a 12% grade). Stay at this level for a total of thirty seconds, then drop the intensity to a comfortable level (3 mph at a 2% grade) and hold for ninety seconds. Repeat these cycles to the best of your abilities, but limit the time to ten to fifteen minutes once you progress and make sure you cool down before suspending the workout. Any piece of equipment can be used in this fashion as well as running outside. A good indication of your cardiovascular condition is the time it takes your heart rate to drop after the high intensity phase. A heart rate monitor can help you identify where you stand as well as guide you to cardiovascular improvement, but it is not necessary. Individuals with cardiovascular complications should refrain from interval training until cleared by their cardiologist. Good luck and enjoy the extra time you gain from a more efficient cardiovascular workout!

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