This article discusses interval training for beginners to help anyone who is new to exercise get started. It also includes ten simple beginner interval training workouts to try.
Interval training involves working at your highest level of effort for a specific time, then easing back to recover. This cycle is repeated for the duration of the workout.
Exercising in this manner is efficient. It improves endurance and power and, because it burns a lot of calories, it promotes weight loss, and it will lower your BMI. It is also great for building endurance.
Another major plus is the variety of exercises that you can incorporate into each session. These include aerobic activities such as speed walking, jogging, running, and sprinting. Machines such as treadmills, steppers, stationary bikes, rowing machines, and elliptical trainers can also be incorporated. Dumbbells or kettlebells are other options to consider.
By varying the type of exercises you do, your body will be constantly challenged, and new muscle groups will be worked. Your workouts will be more fun, and you will be far less likely to become bored. And, because the pace varies, workouts seem to go faster.
Interval training can be challenging for advanced level athletes, so it’s not something I’d recommend for absolute beginners. If you are new to exercise, wait until you some cardio conditioning under your belt before attempting it.
On the plus side, this type of workout is typically a lot shorter than most. This makes it ideal if you don’t have a lot of time to exercise. However, you will have to factor in the time to do a Warm-Up before working out and Cool-Down after.
Interval Training for Beginners Workouts
Following, are ten beginner interval training workouts for you to try. Be sure to warm up for five to ten minutes before you begin, and cool down for five minutes afterwards. Start your warm-up with some gentle stretches. Next, march on the spot as you alternate between raising your hands up and down above your head and pushing them straight out to the front. You can also do front to back leg kicks while swinging your arms, and side bends.
To cool down, walk on the spot while raising your hands up and down above your head, slowing your pace as you go. Follow this with some gentle arm, waist, and leg stretches.
The first six workouts below do not require any fitness equipment; however, for the first three, a mat will make your sessions more comfortable.
All of the routines are perfect for anyone who is just getting into interval training. Most will also suit those looking for a workout that doesn’t place a lot of stress on the joints.
Do each of the five moves in the first three workouts for 30 seconds, putting in as much effort as you can then rest for 30 seconds until it’s time to do the next move. Repeat this sequence from the beginning. As your fitness improves, shorten your rest period. If you want to extend the workouts to 15 minutes, add an extra set. To make the workouts 20 minutes long, add two extra sets.
3 x 10-Minute Beginner Interval Training Workouts
- High Knees
- Push-Ups – If you don’t have a lot of upper body strength, do Bent Knee Push-Ups
- Speed Skaters
- Step-Out Burpees
- High Planks
- Alternating Side Lunges
- Sumo Squats into Oblique Crunches
- Squats with Alternating Glute Kickbacks
- Mountain Climbers
6 x 15-Minute Beginner Interval Training Workouts that use Fitness Equipment
The next six workouts require fitness equipment. If you can’t do one minute at a high intensity to start, decrease this to thirty seconds. If you want to extend the workout to thirty minutes, do two sets.
Do the same Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs outlined above, or use your exercise equipment at a very slow pace to start, gradually increasing your speed.
Workout 4: 15 Minutes of Walking
This walking workout can be done indoors on a treadmill or outdoors.
Walk for two minutes at a very brisk pace, then reduce your speed to a moderate level for one minute. Repeat the sequence five times.
To increase the challenge, do the workout wearing a weighted vest. If using a treadmill, try raising the incline.
Workout 5: 15 Minutes of Jogging
This jogging workout can be done outdoors or indoors on a treadmill.
Jog at a brisk pace for 30 seconds, then walk or jog slowly for 2 minutes. Repeat the sequence six times.
When you are fitter, try wearing a weighted vest, or raise the incline if using a treadmill.
Workout 6: 15 Minutes of Jumping Rope
Jumping rope is a fun, full-body exercise that requires minimal equipment. It can be done outdoors, or in your house, if you have a free space and high enough ceilings to turn your rope.
Start by jumping for two-minutes at low intensity, then increase your pace and jump higher for 1-minute. Repeat five times.
NB: Jumping rope places more pressure on the joints than the other exercises covered here. For this reason, I don’t recommend it for anyone who has joint issues.
Workout 7: 15 Minutes of Stair Climbing
The primary muscles targeted when using a stair climber are the quads and hamstrings.
Do two minutes at low intensity, then increase your pace and do one minute at high intensity. Repeat five times.
Workout 8: 15 Minutes of Cycling
Cycling targets the glutes, the hip flexors, the quads, the hamstrings, and the calves.
Cycle for two minutes at low intensity, followed by one minute going as hard as you can. Repeat five times.
Workout 9: 15 Minutes of Elliptical Training
The main muscles targeted during elliptical trainer workouts are the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.
Do two minutes at resistance level 0 to 2, then do one minute at level 8 to 10. Repeat this sequence five times.
Workout 10: 15 Minutes of Rowing
Rowing machine workouts work the entire upper and lower body.
Do three minutes at the lowest setting, then go all out for one minute. Repeat this sequence three times, then do another three minutes working at the lowest setting.
Final Thoughts on Interval Training for Beginners
Interval training is a fitness method that involves short workouts that alternate between intense super-fast moves and more gentle, slower-paced moves.
It offers an efficient means of improving fitness and endurance and it burns a lot of calories. Providing virtually unlimited variety, this type of exercise is perfect if you are easily bored.