The Workout app in watchOS 9 introduces a Custom Workouts feature that you can use to facilitate your interval training programs. This feature creates structured workouts that have exercise and rest intervals.
Furthermore, now that you can see the heart rate training zones, you can easily see if you are performing in Zone 4 or Zone 5. Knowing your zone helps you see when you perform at the higher intensities and training loads.
Apple designed this custom workout feature to provide you with the best optics if you are a runner. This article explores how you can use your Apple Watch to design and measure interval training.
What is Interval Training?
According to Mayo Clinic, Interval training is simply alternating short bursts (about 30 seconds) of intense activity with longer intervals (about 1 to 2 minutes) of less intense activity.
A HIIT(High-intensity interval training) workout alternates between short work intervals (70 to 90 percent max heart rate) and rest periods (60 to 65 percent max heart rate).
You can incorporate various HIIT types into your training regimen, including Cardio HIIT, full-body HIIT, HIIT with weights, and HIIT for runners.
Before Apple added this new feature in watchOS 9, serious runners had to depend on third-party apps to help them with interval training. Some popular apps include Keelo for Strength training HIIT workouts, Interval Timer, Tabata HIIT, and Interval Timer++.
Word of Caution: driving the heart rate too high and keeping it there too long can spike the production of stress hormones, tax the immune system, and increase the chance of injury.
Instead of building the cardiovascular system, overdoing these workouts can be detrimental to heart health and a tax on the endocrine system.
Interval Training for Beginners
If you are new to interval training or HIIT, you can start with a basic interval training regimen. Here is an example:
You can add more cycles to your training plan as you get comfortable.
How to use custom workouts in watchOS 9+ for Interval Training
You can access and design custom interval training sequences from your Apple Watch.
The choices that Apple provides above are pretty good for users who are just starting a HIIT program.
Additionally, you can customize any of these defaults to your preference.
For example, when you choose 10 min of 30 sec/ 30 sec from the option, tap on the Edit button to start customizing this.
By default, the warmup time at the beginning of the program is set to 1 min. Tap on Warmup and scroll down and tap on Time.
You can now set up your custom warmup time using the Elapsed Time screen.
So, from our example of interval training basics from the prior section, we can customize the warmup time to 5 minutes.
You can also select Skip not to use warmup at the start of the workout.
Customizing High-intensity work zones and recovery zones
The next piece of customization includes setting time up for high-intensity and recovery zones.
Now that you have designed your basic interval training, you can name the workout instead of using the custom tile 10 min of 30 sec/ 30 sec.
Tap on Custom Tile further down on the screen and rename the workout to your preference.
In our example, we renamed this to Niel’s HIIT Basic.
With these steps, you essentially create your own custom HIIT workout sequence!!!
How to personalize metrics using Workout Views for your custom workout
Now that you have designed a complete HIIT sequence and assigned the number of cycles let’s look at how you can personalize the metrics that display on your Apple Watch when you start this training.
Open up the HIIT training that you just created and scroll down and locate Workout Views.
Using the step-by-step method in the prior section and this section, you have designed your custom HIIT workout and adjusted the metrics to track your heart rate zones during your custom workout.
How to use Custom Alerts in workouts to track your heart rate zone
watchOS 9+ on your Apple Watch also provides a feature to set up alerts that ping you during your training.
The Alerts feature available is tied to your heart rate.
For example, I want to ensure that when I’m in the Work phase of the HIIT, I want to target Zone 5 for 30 seconds.
When my HR reaches Zone 5, I would like to receive an alert. That way, I don’t have to look at my Apple Watch constantly.
Here is how you can set up heart rate zone alerts.
Apple does a fantastic job in providing a rich set of customization options in watchOS 9 to guide you through your custom workout.
If you have not tried the HIIT workout, we recommend giving it a try with watchOS 9 since you can now access the heart rate zone data and alerts.
We hope that this step-by-step tutorial to create custom HIIT workouts, customize workout metrics and integrate heart rate zone-based Alerts was helpful to you.
Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to share a tip or two.