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Fartlek

Fartlek

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Fartlek, which means "speed play" in Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

, is a form of interval training
Interval training
Interval training is a type of physical training that involves bursts of high-intensity work interspersed with periods of low-intensity work...

 which puts stress on the whole aerobic
Aerobic exercise
Aerobic exercise is physical exercise of relatively low intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process. Aerobic literally means "living in air", and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism...

 energy system due to the continuous nature of the exercise. The difference between this type of training and continuous training is that the intensity
Exercise intensity
Exercise intensity refers to how much work is being done when exercising. The intensity has an effect on what fuel the body uses and what kind of adaptations the body makes after exercise . Intensity is the amount of physical power, expressed as a percentage of maximum, the body uses in performing...

 or speed of the exercise varies, meaning that aerobic and anaerobic
Anaerobic exercise
Anaerobic exercise is exercise intense enough to trigger anaerobic metabolism. It is used by athletes in non-endurance sports to promote strength, speed and power and by body builders to build muscle mass...

 systems can be put under stress. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed can be varied whenever the athlete wishes. Most fartlek sessions last a minimum of 45 minutes and can vary from aerobic walking to anaerobic sprinting. Fartlek training is generally associated with running, but can include almost any kind of exercise.

Gösta Holmér


Fartlek training was developed in 1937 by Swedish
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 coach Gösta Holmér
Gösta Holmér
Gustaf Richard Mikael Holmér was a Swedish decathlete and inventor of the fartlek interval training technique....

 (1891–1983) and has been adopted by many physiologists since. It was designed for the downtrodden Swedish cross country running
Cross country running
Cross country running is a sport in which people run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain. The course, typically long, may include surfaces of grass and earth, pass through woodlands and open country, and include hills, flat ground and sometimes gravel road...

 teams that had been thrashed throughout the 1920s by Paavo Nurmi
Paavo Nurmi
Paavo Johannes Nurmi was a Finnish runner. Born in Turku, he was known as one of the "Flying Finns," a term given to him, Hannes Kolehmainen, Ville Ritola, and others for their distinction in running...

 and the Finns. Holmér's plan used a faster-than-race pace and concentrated on both speed and endurance training.

Fartlek sessions


This is the first session that was designed by Gösta Holmér for a cross country runner. This is also an example of what a fartlek session might look like, but fartlek sessions should be designed for an athlete's own event or sport, as well as catering to their individual needs. Sessions should be at an intensity that causes the athlete to work at 60% to 80% of his or her maximum heart rate (estimated at 220 minus age), as outlined by the Karvonen Method. This should mean that the body will not experience too much discomfort while exercising. An athlete should also include a good warm up
Warming up
A warm-up is usually performed before participating in technical sports or exercising. A warm-up generally consists of a gradual increase in intensity in physical activity , a joint mobility exercise, stretching and a sport related activity. For example, before running or playing an intense sport...

 at the beginning of the session, and a cool down at the end of the session, to improve performance, minimize post-workout muscle soreness, to decrease the chances of injury and for other reasons.
  • Warm up: easy running for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Steady, hard speed for 1.5 –; like a long repetition.
  • Recovery: rapid walking for about 5 minutes.
  • Start of speed work: easy running interspersed with sprints of about 50 –, repeated until a little tired.
  • Easy running with three or four "quick steps" now and then (simulating suddenly speeding up to avoid being overtaken by another runner).
  • Full speed uphill for 175 –.
  • Fast pace for 1 minute.
  • The whole routine is then repeated until the total time prescribed on the training schedule has elapsed.

Fitness benefits


One of the main reasons for the success of fartlek training is that it can be adapted to the needs of the individual. Unlike continuous training, fartlek training can benefit participants of field games such as football, field hockey
Field hockey
Field Hockey, or Hockey, is a team sport in which a team of players attempts to score goals by hitting, pushing or flicking a ball into an opposing team's goal using sticks...

, ultimate frisbee
Ultimate (sport)
Ultimate is a sport played with a 175 gram flying disc. The object of the game is to score points by passing the disc to a player in the opposing end zone, similar to an end zone in American football or rugby...

, lacrosse
Lacrosse
Lacrosse is a team sport of Native American origin played using a small rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick, mainly played in the United States and Canada. It is a contact sport which requires padding. The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh...

, basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

, tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

, cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

 and rugby
Rugby football
Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

 as it develops aerobic
Aerobic exercise
Aerobic exercise is physical exercise of relatively low intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process. Aerobic literally means "living in air", and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism...

 and anaerobic
Anaerobic exercise
Anaerobic exercise is exercise intense enough to trigger anaerobic metabolism. It is used by athletes in non-endurance sports to promote strength, speed and power and by body builders to build muscle mass...

 capacities which are both used in these sports. To take this a step further, athletes can make the most of the flexibility of fartlek training by mimicking the activities which would take place during their chosen sport or event.

Fartlek in American Culture


Fartlek Hill in Quantico, Virginia
Quantico, Virginia
- Demographics :As of the census of 2000, there are 561 people, 295 households, and 107 families living in the town. The population density is . There are 359 housing units at an average density of .-Racial composition:...

, on the grounds of United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 Officer Candidates School, is named after fartlek training. The hill is the central part of the fartlek-type physical training regularly conducted throughout the training cycle. The fartlek training done at Officer Candidate School differs from traditional fartlek training, however, by incorporating a number of calisthenic exercises
Calisthenics
Calisthenics are a form of aerobic exercise consisting of a variety of simple, often rhythmical, movements, generally using multiple equipment or apparatus. They are intended to increase body strength and flexibility with movements such as bending, jumping, swinging, twisting or kicking, using...

at various intervals.

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