10 min Sprints beat 10 Hours of Cycling

It’s always nice to see mainstream science starting to catchup with what Crossfitters are doing, from The Metro last week:

A set of ten one-minute sprints on an exercise bike three times a week holds the same benefits as ten hours of ‘conventional’ distance cycling.

High-intensity exercise at 95 per cent of your maximum heart rate is an efficient way of avoiding heart disease, obesity and stroke, say researchers at McMaster University in Canada.

Like Tabata training, 1 minute intervals with some (unspecified) rest is a wicked way to get your heart rate up and get maximum effort out (“wicked” here is not meant in the common vernacular to mean “cool”, it really is wicked!).

People look at me funny when I say a typical Crossfit workout is in the 10-15 minute range, more exceptionally in the 5-25 minute range, and that’s your workout for the day done. When I bought some new trainers, one of my colleagues asked me how far I run. “Usually 400m,” I said, “as part of a circuit type workout.” He admitted that at the pace he runs, he could plod on for hours.

The point is that getting fit doesn’t mean you need to spend hours at the gym. 10-15 minute, high intensity workouts are much more efficacious than long torturous sessions, and a lot more fun too. Don’t believe me, believe the scientists at McMaster University in Canada instead, they said so! 😉

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Paul W 22 March 2010, 12:42 pm

    Yes, I agree it is a better cardiovascular workout, but perhaps you are training for a longer event, and therefore need longer sessions to build endurace.

    Is there not a time am place to use both types of training?
    Horses for courses and all that!

  • Colin McNulty 22 March 2010, 5:24 pm

    Possibly, but I think the point is that lots of long slow endurance workouts aren’t necessary (not even necessarily the best thing) for training for long endurance events. If that made any sense?

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