Interval Training for Beginners Level 3

Stationary Bike
Stationary Bike. Harry How / Staff / Getty Images

The following workout is a step up from the Beginner Interval Workout - Level 2, taking the intensity up and increasing workout time to 30 minutes.

Interval workouts involve alternating higher intensity exercise with low intensity recovery periods. By adding higher intensity intervals, you can build endurance and burn more calories.  This workout can be done on any cardio machine or outdoor activity.

Interval Level 3 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 level.  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, you're moving up to a very hard Level 8.  You should be breathless, but still be able to talk with some difficulty.
  • 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 Training Workout Level 3 for Beginners

TimeSpeed/Incline/ResistanceRPE
5 Min.Warm Up at an easy pace4
3 Min.Rest Set:  Increase speed so that you're working at a moderate pace5
1 Min.Work Set: Increase incline/resistance so that you're working very hard8
3 Min.Rest Set:  Back to Baseline5
1 MinWork Set:  Increase both speed and incline/resistance so that you're working very hard.8
3 Min.Rest Set:  Back to Baseline5
1 Min.Work Set:  Increase speed so that you're working very hard8
3 Min.Rest Set:  Back to Baseline5
1 Min.Work Set:   Increase incline/resistance so that you're working very hard8
3 Min.Rest Set:  Back to Baseline5
1 Min.Work Set:  Increase both speed and incline/resistance so that you're working very hard8
5 Min.Cool down by walking at a comfortable pace4
 Total Workout Time:  30 Minutes 

Perceived Exertion Levels for This Workout

RPE 4: You are at an easy to moderate effort, breathing heavier but still able to carry on a full conversation with the person next to you at the gym or your running buddy.

RPE 5: Now you know you are exercising and you're sweating more, it's at moderate effort.

but you're still able to chat with everybody around you, including those annoying people who are passing you on the track.

RPE 8: Vigorous effort. About all you can do is grunt out a response when your running buddy asks how it's going. How come this speed is so much harder for you than for her? You can only keep this pace up for a short period, so it's a good thing we're only doing one minute at this level.

Progressing: Once you are doing well with this length of workout, you can increase your number of work sets gradually. It's best to only increase them at 10% per week to avoid injury or strain. Adding a 3 minute easy/1 minute hard work set each week to lengthen it is the best tactic.

Continue Reading