Saturday, 6 October 2012


In this post I will show different specific interval training methods to be applied in several sports. This kind of trainning is performed in a cirtuit set up in the own specific sport court. Players usually perform efforts with a duration of 10-20 seconds with an intensity of 90-95% of the maximum heart rate, and a ratio (work/rest) 1:1. It can be performed 3-4 sets of 4-5 to 8-10 minutes each, with a total training time of 20-30 minutes.

This kind of exercise offers the possibility to combine any action, both purely athletic (sprints or jumps) or more specific (blocks, rebounds, shots, dribbling...). Also, these circuits can be done with or without ball, and also the intensity can be regulated delaying the arrival to the next action/station (sprint, jump).

Basketball (Great Britain U20 Women’s Basketball)

Circuit performed in the Leigh Sports Village (England) with the Great Britain U20 Women’s Basketball Team in the training camp for the European Championship in Macedonia (2009). The team performed 3 sets of 4 laps each with a recovery between sets of 5 free throws each player.
Interval Tximist by Hondarria-Irún Club de Baloncesto

Players started from point A, C and D. When they finished in point F, jogged very slow around the court until point A to start again. Between stations, players jogged very slow or even walked to recover and do the next drill with high intensity, since the main importance of this kind of exercises is to perform them at maximum intensity. The circuit was as follows (from A to F): Players started sprinting forward and backward to the cones on the right and left side, then they sprinted forward. After that they decelerated and jogged until the next cones to go in & out at maximum speed, then jogged again and got one cone to sprint 5-7 metres until point B. From B to C, they jogged diagonally. At point C, they sprinted and blocked, turned around to caught one rebound and sprinted with the ball. In the middle, agility ladder dribbled the ball and performed a lay up at maximum speed to get point D. From D to E, they jogged again very slow. From point E to F, players performed subsequent diagonal defensive slides and sprints. The circuit can be performed without the ball or with the ball.

The Interval Tximist is an exercise proposed by Aramendi, J. F., Samaniego, J. C., and Diaz, O.: Aspectos fisiológicos aplicados a la preparación física en el baloncesto femenino. Una propuesta de trabajo. In: Terrados-Cepeda, N. & Calleja-González, J.: Fisiología, entrenamiento y medicina del baloncesto. Ed. Paidotribo, Badalona (Spain), 2008).

Beach Soccer (England Beach Soccer)

Circuit performed in Dump (Germany) with the England Beach Soccer Team. The players performed 3 sets of 8 minutes, 10 minutes and 8 minutes respectively, with 2-minute rest between them.

Players are split in the 4 corners of the pitch. Goalkeepers work on the goals. One player form each corner starts at the same time. There are four stations where players perform squats, press-ups, calf raises and lunges.

Circuit set up in the sand for beach soccer (Damp, 2012).
Corner 1: The player performs 10 squats and sprints forward and backpedal to cone on the right side, the same to the cone on the left side and then sprint forward to the cone in the middle. Then he jogs until corner number 2.

Corner 2: The player makes 10 press-ups and sprints forward and backward (see the arrows), until the halfway line where he gets a ball to dribble and shoot. After shooting, the player jogs until corner 3.

Corner 3: After, 10 calf raises with both feet, the player goes in & out the cones and sprints diagonally, then he jogs until corner 4.

Corner 4: The player does 10 lunges and then he collects a ball to dribble in & out the cones and shoot. After that, the players jogs very slow to recover until corner 1.

Futsal (England Futsal)
Circuit performed in St George's Park (2012

Circuit performed in St. George’s Park (Burton upon Trent, England) with the England Futsal National Team. The team performed 3 sets of 10 minutes each with 2 minutes rest between them.

This circuit on the court is very similar to the previous ones where players are split in four corners with four different exercises at each corner. Players perform 10 squats at corner 1, 10 step ups to the bench in corner 2, 10 jumps side to side in corner 3 and propioception exercises at corner 4. Also, in one goal they shoot around the 10-metre penalty spot and in the other they do a 1x1 situation against the goalkeeper.

Heart Rate Responses: In the next picture you can see the heart rate graph for the futsal circuit above performed for one England Futsal player. He is one of the fittest players in the squad, so his heart rate is quite low. The average heart rates during the first, second and third set were: 147, 153 and 158 bmp respectively (2-minute rest between them). The average heart rate for the whole exercise was 153bmp and the maximum heart rate reached during the exercise was 175 bmp. The most interesting aspect is that this kind of circuits reproduces the nature of team sports: the actions’ intermittence. As we can see in the graph, this player is able to recover between sprints quite good since the graph has a lot of ups and downs, on the contrary if a graph shows three (one per set) flat plateaus the player is not able to recover properly between sprints.
Heart rate graph from the above circuit performed in St. George's Park (August, 2012).
Key or legend for the diagrams: In all the circuits, double red arrow means “sprint with the ball”, double black arrow “sprint without the ball”, dotted line “jog to recover”, dashed line “backward/backpedal sprint or defensive slide”, and red star “shot”.

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