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Is interval training better than steady-state cardio?

High intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, is all the rage these days.

Is interval training better than steady-state cardio?
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But what is it exactly? And is it any better than steady-state cardio? What are the benefits of interval training as opposed to regular cardio conditioning?

For one thing, interval training significantly improves your aerobic capacity in a short amount of time.

Starting off at one pace for a few minutes, increasing the intensity to a higher pace for a few minutes, and then slowing back down to the original pace will spike your heart rate and force it to pump faster to meet the higher demand on your body. Doing this several times in a row for a set amount of time will actually increase your heart's capacity and your body's ability to more efficiently speed up and slow down at your request.

Conditioning yourself like this, whether it's on skates or running or biking or other cardio exercise, with short bursts of speed followed by slower recovery periods, will help you tremendously as an inline skater. Especially if you want to try speed skating or skating with a group.

Skating faster to catch the end of a different pace line (more on pace lines to come in a future article) or adjusting your speed to match others while group skating is an important skill, and interval training can help get you to that level.

Just be sure to monitor your heart rate closely during intervals so you don't ever push yourself too far past your anaerobic threshold.

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