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Interval Training for Beginners - Level 1

The following workout is a beginner interval workout lasting 21 minutes.  Interval training involve alternating higher intensity exercise with low intensity recovery periods. By adding higher intensity intervals, you can build endurance and burn more calories.  The workout is shown using a treadmill with changes in speed and incline, but you can use any machine of your choice or take the workout outside.

Workout Instructions

  • For each 'work set', use the settings on your machine (incline, speed, resistance, ramps, etc.) to increase intensity.  You should be working out of your comfort zone, but not so hard that you feel dizzy or lightheaded.
  • For each 'rest set', lower those same settings until you're back to a moderate pace.  You should be completely recovered before the next work set.
  • Modify according to your fitness level.
  • The RPE levels listed (Rate of Perceived Exertion) help you keep track of your intensity on a scale of 1 - 10.  During rest sets, stay around 4-5 RPE.  During work sets, stay around 5-6 RPE.  There isn't a huge difference between the work and rest sets, you simply want to work a little harder during the work sets.
  • See your doctor if you have any injuries or conditions.

You can also use a Target Heart Rate Calculator to monitor your exercise intensity.

Interval Beginner Workout 1 - 21 Minutes
Warm up 5 Minutes:  RPE 3-4: Warm Up at an easy pace
Rest Set  3 Minutes:  RPE 5:  Increase speed from warm up and increase incline 1%.  Keep a moderate pace.
Work Set 1 Minute:  RPE  6 - Increase incline 1-3% to raise the intensity level.  You should be working harder!
Rest Set  3 Minutes:  RPE 5 - Decrease speed and incline to lower your heart rate back to a comfortable level
Work Set 1 Minute:  RPE  6 - Increase speed 3-5 increments and increase incline 1-2% to raise intensity. 
Rest Set 3 Minutes:  RPE 5 - Decrease speed and incline to lower your heart rate back to a comfortable level
Cool down 5 Minutes:  RPE 3-5 - Decrease speed/incline to lower your heart rate back to a comfortable level and cool down
Related Video
How To Run on a Treadmill
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