In Nathaniel Mosher's article Training Endurance Athletes, he discusses the Intensive Method and talks about the 20 to 45 second timing of reps instead of doing a set number of reps. He doesn't discuss any sort of timing of reps for the Extensive Method, yet the table that outlines the resistance, reps, sets, rest intervals, etc. indicates that reps should be performed for 20 to 30 seconds and that the set should last about 60 seconds. I don't understand. He also mentions that the volume for the Intensive Method is slightly lower than that of the Extensive Method, but with sets lasting 20 to 30 seconds (or is it 60 seconds?) for the Extensive Method and 20 to 45 seconds for the Intensive Method, and with sets of three to six for both, the volume seems almost identical. Can my confusion be clarified? Thanks for any help you can provide.
No doubt there was some confusion about the timing and the repetitions performed. There was a typo in my chart, which I overlooked. Hopefully, this will help to clarify your situation.
The intensive and extensive interval methods were discussed in the excellent training text, Fitness and Strength Training For All Sports by Hartmann and Tünnemann. They are using these methods as a means to train a lactic acid-dependent athlete for short term endurance efforts.
In the extensive interval method, the athlete will perform approximately 20 to 30 repetitions for one set, with the duration of that set lasting 60 seconds with weights of 30 to 40 percent of max. Three to six sets are performed with each exercise, with the goal being to reach a target heart rate of between 150 to 180 beats per minute minus your age. The example they give is that a 20 year old athlete should reach heart rates of 130 to 160 beats per minute during the set.
The intensive interval method uses slightly higher resistance (50 to 60 percent) for shorter duration (average of 30 seconds) and three to six sets per exercise. The authors list no target heart rate for this method, but they do mention that set performance should be explosive for each repetition. In this method, we’re less concerned with the number of reps and using time as our guide.
Keep in mind that each of these methods would be best used for slightly different purposes. As well, the authors suggest utilizing a circuit training style when training with either method, thus enhancing the effects on the system.
I would encourage you to pick up a copy of the book as there are many useful training methods presented in an easy-to-read manner. Good luck with your training!
- Hartmann & Tünnemann. (1995). Fitness and Strength Training For All Sports. Sport Books Publisher. Toronto, Canada.