Interval Training: How to Get In Shape

Sure, we all have done it. Playlist is ready, jogging shoes are on, headphones are plugged in and we are good to go for a nice jog. We get in a good sweat, feel great afterwards and think we did a great workout.

Going jogging surely has its benefits, such as mental relaxation, but from a conditioning standpoint steady-state jogging is a waste of time because it’s often times no longer a sport-specific form of training. For example, it used to be more so in the 1970’s where rallies lasted forever and tennis matches went on for hours.

Tennis of the 21st century is a bit different though. Matches can still last for hours but it’s more of a power and sprint event than endurance – total running distance is usually no more than 1.5 miles per best-of-three match.

I’m not saying jogging is bad for you and you shouldn’t do it. What I am saying though is that you could make much better use of your precious time.

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I mean why go out there running forward 5-6 miles per day when tennis requires you to move in multiple directions for only 1.5 miles tops? Ok, if you are Rafael Nadal playing Novak Djokovic in an epic best of five match at the Australian Open you may be running 2.5 miles.

Also, most of us go running on hard surfaces, like concrete, where our joints take a pounding during each step we take. So it’s maybe not the best thing to do on a regular basis if we want to stay injury-free in the long run.

Interval Training Is Great For Conditioning

interval training

Interval training, which is characterized by alternating low – and high exercise intensities over a prolonged period of time, is a much better training alternative because:

  • it can be a sport-specific form of training with regards to energy system dynamics and multi-directional movement patterns
  • it can be done on e.g. the tennis court, which can be easier on your joints if you can do it on a red clay or green hard-through clay court
  • you can make it more competitive and fun if you run against an opponent on the other side of the court

Give it a try next time you are on the court and let me know if you liked it! I’m sure you will be amazed how different and fun it can be!

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