Splashdown Interval Challenge

Monday, March 07 2022

The intervals are going DOWN in this high-energy water workout.   Designed for both deep and shallow water, the work and recovery cycles get shorter and more intense as the workout progresses.  The pace starts out aerobically and then the energy shift as the intervals transition into breathless and heart-pounding HIIT action. 


According to the  2021 Poolfit survey, subscribers love the HIIT water workouts and want more.  The demand for HIIT workouts makes me happy, however as a fitness educator I also feel that it is important to promote a well-rounded exercise approach that trains all aspects of physical fitness.  Splashdown is my attempt to showcase the spectrum of energy metabolism, from aerobic to anaerobic training and why it is important to train for both.

 Blog Summary

  • What are the benefits of intermittent intensity (interval) training?
  • What is the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise?
  • How hard should I exercise in the work cycles. How important is the recovery?
  • Splashdown workout summary. 
  • Learn more about how workout templates can provide better results.

Why Interval Training?

Interval training is popular because it delivers fitness results.  Research studies have shown that intermittent intensity (interval) training may impact body composition and weight loss results more significantly than steady-state (aerobic) training.  These studies have shown that varying intensity from high to low, work to recovery, seems to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time, including more calories from body fat storage. Research also shows that high intensity interval training (HIIT) boosts the metabolic rate longer into the day post-exercise.


Aerobic vs. Anaerobic

Splashdown includes both aerobic and anaerobic interval training.  Why both?  Aerobic training typically features longer-duration exercise at a steady state that allows the body to produce oxygen to meet the demand of the activity.  Anaerobic training features more intense bursts of exercise in which the body can no longer supply oxygen to meet the demand of these shorter duration, intense activities.  For optimal function, you need both types of training for daily activities.  Aerobic function is needed in order to have the stamina to perform long duration activities like long walks.  Anaerobic training prepares the body for sudden bursts of activity like running to your car in a rain storm. 


Intensity Expectations for Work & Recovery Cycles

In order to achieve the benefits of interval training, it is important to adjust exercise intensity to the duration of the work and recovery cycles.  A more conservative energy output is needed for longer duration work cycles, while shorter timing ratios require all-out effort.  Longer duration rest cycles require some kind of movement or active recovery.  Short recovery cycles often require complete rest.  Failure to exercise at an appropriate intensity level or recover as recommended may limit results.  With that said, it is important to exercise to your own abilities in all workouts.   Watch the video below for more insight into interval training and the Splashdown workout.


Segment 1:  Warm-up Interval

4 exercises - :90 Work/:45 Recovery

Intended to serve as a warm-up, the work intervals are moderately aerobic with exercises that move the muscles and joints in all directions.  The recovery cycles are performed with active stretching. 
Segment 2:  Aerobic Interval

5 exercises - :60 Work/:30 Recovery

The pace picks up with more vigorous cardio activity in the 60-second work cycles.  The recovery is once again performed with dynamic flexibility.
Segment 3:  Strength Interval

6 exercises - :40 Work/:20 Recovery

Intended to promote muscular endurance and strength, the 40-second work cycles are performed with more intensity. This segment can be considered the anaerobic threshold, or the point at which exercise activities start transitioning from aerobic to anaerobic.
Segment 4:  Power Interval

7 exercises - :30 Work/:15 Recovery

The shorter 30-second work cycles require much more effort as the workout transitions into high intensity interval training (HIIT).  The recovery decreases to 15 seconds and becomes complete rest.
Segment 5:  Tabata Interval

8 exercises - :20 Work/:10 Recovery

Familiar to subscribers, Tabata intervals feature 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of complete rest.  The effort becomes downright heart-pounding.

Segment 6:  Max Interval

9 exercises - :10 Work/:05 Recovery

The 10 second bursts of insane energy require maximal effort and push the body to breathless fatigue.  As always, be sure to work to your own abilities. 
Segment 7:  Aerobic Cool Down

Splashdown ends with maximal effort and therefore a proper cool down is needed before transitioning to active stretching in segment 8.  This aerobic warm down is intended to gradually reduce the heartrate from the maximal output during the anaerobic intervals.   


Workout Templates
Splashdown is an example of a workout based on a precise template of exercises and timing.  Several Poolfit workouts are based on templates that are designed for specific fitness results.  If you are curious about how and why Poolfit workouts are structured the way they are, watch the video below.  This video education is designed for fitness instructors, however knowledge is power and the more you understand the purpose behind the exercise, the more efficient your workouts will become. 

The weather is warming up here in Florida and Splashdown is a great way to launch yourself into spring training. Performed in deep or shallow water, you will definitely feel the intensity build as the workout shifts from aerobic to anaerobic training. 

Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.