Is Interval Training Dead?

Last weekend at I was in Las Vegas at Fitness Mastermind Meetings and I met up with Mike Whitfield.

We got to chatting about interval training and he started letting me know why it is a dead concept.

I asked him if he can create an article for everyone at EFI. So he did.

Here you go.

Rick Kaselj, MS


You know the drill. You warm up for 5-10 minutes… ummm, you do warm up right? That’s a whole new discussion. Let’s move on.

Then, it’s time to do your strength training. Perhaps you like full body workouts. Or, maybe you’re on an upper/lower split. It doesn’t matter. We’re all different. But what do you do next?

It’s where most people do the exact same thing over and over, and it’s unfortunately causing overuse injuries. If you think about it, we’re embedded with this idea of “needing” to do this exercise… whether it’s after our workout or as a stand-alone program.

It’s always some kind of “cardio,” whether it’s long steady-state or interval training.

The good news is that we’ve come a long ways. In the 80’s and 90’s, we were told over and over again that we must do long cardio for 30, 40, even 60 minutes a day. Then people ran into knee injuries, strained cows… I mean calves (ha!… c’mon, that’s hilarious!) and more nagging issues.

Then the late 90’s and 2000’s came and we were introduced to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). That was better because we were no longer slaves to the treadmills and ellipticals.

We found a way to cut our cardio in half or more and get just as good results.

But let’s take a look at what you’re dealing with now…

  • Aching knees
  • Tight leg muscles
  • Limited ankle mobility
  • Inflammation

But why? If you stop and think about it, it makes perfect sense.

How many steps does it take to walk one mile? … around 1,800 to 2,200 (depending on stride length). Now if you’re running, you’ll be in the neighborhood of 1,000 to 1,500.

Now let’s look at this study from the Department of Physiology III, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden:

According to the study, running applies a vertical force of 2 times your bodyweight on the joints of the lower body.


That’s too much unnecessary stress.

Imagine taking at least 1,000 steps with this much force.

And this is what leads to nagging injuries, tight muscles and more.

But how can we fix that?

First, let’s “spread” some of that intensity and effort to other muscle groups. This will take pressure off the legs.

So instead of working just your lower body, we can incorporate a variety of pushes, pulls, and core work, yet get the same, if not BETTER results than traditional interval training.

However, because we’re actually using resistance movements, we can do so much more than the usual “30 seconds on, 30 seconds off.”

That’s the beauty of workout finishers, which are trending to be more popular due to the variety and challenges they bring compared to boring interval training.

With finishers, you can use:

  • Density circuits and superset finishers
  • Metabolic Circuit finishers
  • Gauntlets
  • Upper Body Focused finishers
  • Lower Body Focused finishers
  • Ladder finishers

The big bonus? They take just a fraction of time compared to steady state cardio or intervals….

… as in 10 minutes or less.

So, after your next workout, finish it off with this wicked circuit that uses a weird set and rep scheme and the density approach.

Print this out and take it with you

“The 5-3-5 Finisher”

Do the following circuit as many times as possible in 5 minutes, resting only when needed. If your form gets sloppy, you MUST rest. The secret to results isn’t in a magic pill – it’s in focused, quality work ;).

  • Box or Bench Jumps (5) (land like a ninja to reduce impact on joints!)
  • Chin-up or Inverted Row (3)
  • Decline Close-Grip Triple Stop Pushups (5) (This is tricky but challenging!)

Here’s how to do the moves:

Box or Bench Jumps

  • Stand in front of a bench or box/platform
  • Dip down into a quarter squat position and jump on the box in the quarter squat position to reduce impact
  • Step back down and repeat


  • Take underhand grip on the bar with the palms facing you.
  • Pull your body up until the chest reaches bar level.
  • Slowly lower yourself but do not let your body swing and do not use momentum

Inverted Row

  • Grab the straps and take 2 steps backward. Lean back and rest the weight on heels.
  • Hold the straps with your palms facing together.
  • Keep the abs braced and body in a straight line from heels to shoulders.
  • Row your body up until your chest is at strap height.
  • Slowly return to the start position.
  • You can also use a smith bar

Decline Close-Grip Triple Stop Pushup

  • Keep the abs braced and body in a straight line from toes (knees) to shoulders.
  • Place the hands on the floor just inside shoulder-width apart.
  • Elevate your feet onto stairs or a bench.
  • Go halfway down and pause for 1 second, then all the way down followed by a 1-second pause.
  • Push through your chest, shoulders and triceps to return to the start position.
  • Keep your body in a straight line at all times.

Now that’s how you finish ANY workout to speed up fat loss and improve your conditioning without the boring intervals and cardio.

If you want to check out the new Workout Finisher 2.0 with follow along video, go here:

Workouts rock yet again,

Mike Whitfield, CTT

Get 51 brand NEW Follow-Along Workout Finisher Videos here

Mike Whitfield, CTT, has lost 105 pounds propelling his passion into the fitness industry. His unique approach of using workout finishers has helped thousands of people lose fat with his online and offline programs. He is known across the fitness industry for his effective “workout finishers” and humor. His workouts have been seen in Men’s Health, Turbulence Training, AJC and more.