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What is an Interval Timer?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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An interval timer is a device designed to assist people with the timing of interval workouts. There are a number of types of workouts that involve bursts of exercise followed by rest periods at set intervals for which an interval timer can be a useful tool. Athletic suppliers usually sell these devices and they are also available through catalogs and hardware stores. Some enterprising companies have also designed cell phone applications that can be used to turn a mobile phone into a timer.

The interval approach to athletic training requires the athlete to sustain an activity for a set period of time, rather than basing the workout on number of repetitions or completion of a given distance. A common example is sprinting, where people use interval training to develop the strength for short bursts of explosive power. Likewise, interval training can be used for swimming, boxing, weight lifting, and many other forms of workouts.

In interval training, people exercise for a period of time, rest for a set period, and resume exercising. The rest and interval periods can vary in length depending on the type of workout. While people can keep track with a clock or stopwatch, an interval timer is much easier to use, and can help people avoid mistakes.

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A basic interval timer allows people to program two different time settings for intervals and rests. It may allow people to program the number of intervals so they can program in an entire workout and change what they are doing every time the device flashes or beeps. More sophisticated versions allow users to program in three or more time settings.

People can wear or carry interval timers, strap them to workout equipment, or mount them on the wall so they are highly visible. The devices are usually designed to be durable and sweat resistant so they can be used safely during a workout. Coaches and personal trainers can find interval timers very useful for working with clients.

The cost of an interval timer varies, depending on the manufacturer and the number of options. Some manufacturers offer bulk discounts to people buying in volume, an option that people taking classes together may want to consider. People interested in reviewing ratings for interval timers can find write-ups in many athletic publications. Websites that sell such products also usually carry customer ratings and reviews. These can be useful to review as they provide information about how well the device performs under working conditions.

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