L'outil idéal pour assurer le pilotage séquentiel et sonore des exercices et dégager ainsi l’entraîneur des fastidieux coups de sifflets, afin qu'il puisse se consacrer exclusivement à l'animation de sa séance sans perdre de vue ses athlètes en action.

Intermittent and intervall-training: similarities or differences?

In the dictionary definition , the termes : intermittent and interval are associated. It is therefore not surprising  that sport terminology speaks indiscriminately of intermittent training or “intervall-training”. However, they have quite clear functional differences, which we will develop.

Literally, the term intermittent means that which stops and starts again at intervals. Intermittents exercises consist of a  repetition of more or less intense sequences interspersed with recovery sequences :

  • passive (on the spot or while walking),
  • or active (low intensity running, technical ranges, specific exercises…). 

One of the main characterisitcs of these exercises is that they allow you to work more intensely and for longer periods of time than continuous work and with less fatigue. It is possible to last 15 to 30 minutes close to one’s maximum aerobic capacity, while continuously it would only be 6 to 7 minutes.

These exercises produce a lower perception of effort than continuous exercises. Il reçoivent aussi une meilleure adhésion à l’entrainement car moins monotones et plus motivants.

The intermittent



Diagramme: intermittent  VMA

Intermittent MAS diagram


We owe it to P.O Astrand, a Swedish physiologist and world authority. Geroges Gacon was seduced by his experiments of 1960, and he had the chance to meet him during a symposium in ST ETIENNE in 1977. He discussed with him the practicalities of his innovation. He has successfully applied them to his middle-distance runners.

This type of training aims to improve aerobic power.

It is a matter of subjecting the oxygen transport and utilization system to an optimal or even maximum load. The originality of such a process (composed of exercises of short duration interspersed with short recoveries) is to work at VO2 max while limiting the intense production of lactic acid. It allows to have a contribution of O2 equal to the needs required by the muscles in activity what allows a realization in stable state.

  • The duration of the work sequences is from 5secs to 60 secs. Thus the active muscles do not lack of oxygen. Muscles have 2 sources of O2 supply: the circulation and the intramuscular reserves present in a protein: myoglobin.
  • The duration of the recovery sequences is short so that the degree of demand on VO2 max does not fall and is maintained at an optimal level. But it is also necessary that the myoglobin of the muscles can be supplied with oxygen.
  • The total duration (or number of sequences) must be long enough to properly stimulate the aerobic system, hence the minimum value of 6 to 8 minutes.
  • The exercise block must be performed in a stable state. The time spent in these conditions must be in relation to the sport discipline and the level of the athlete, which leads to lengthen the minimum time of the 3rd condition. 10 to 12 minutes seems to be a good compromise.
  • The intensity of the work (speed) is calculated according to the results obtained by the athlete in a MAS test (Navette, 45/15 fit, Vameval …). The maximum speed reached during the test is the 100% reference. The advantage of the 45/15 fit test is that its results can be used directly without extrapolation. This is not the case with a continuous test (Vameval type) where the terminal speed achieved is not high enough and must be increased (110 to 120%).


During intermittent exercises, this intensity is translated into distance to be covered for a given time.

The Sportbeeper has an odometer (tab-odometer). It is a real assistant. It is a real assistant: It : 

  • has all the MAS tests (Vameval shuttle, Gacon 45-15fit),
  • Calculates the speed for you to travel on the ground,
  • Helps to arrange your cones at the right distances.


Intermittent exercises also offer the advantage of being able to introduce sequences of support strength training, which is not possible in intervall-training.


In the Sportbeeper training menu, you can set up an infinite number of intermittent exercises with 4 different forms.



Interval training




Vitesse comp VMA

speed and MAS diagram




In the 1930s, a German cardiologist: H. REINDELL developed a program for the rehabilitation of his cardiac patients: intervall-training. In the 1960s, under the impetus of W. GERSCHLER, this method was transferred to the sports world for middle-distance runners. It knew its hour of glory with champions like P Nurmi or E Zatopek.E Zatopek.

The methodological criteria are as follows:

  • The duration of the effort sequence is generally 1 minute.
  • The speed is equal to (or slightly higher than) that targeted in competition.
  • The duration of the recovery sequence should allow the heart rate to return to 120/140 pulses/min, or about 1MN30.
  • The total number of exercises is high. In fact, it depends on the competition prepared). Zatopek was able to do a hundred of 400M with 1mn 30 of recovery.


This method is called interval training and not interval training. W Gerschler considers the interval between two exercises as an important phase during which the dilation of the heart is optimal, thus allowing to: build up the heart.

The Sportbeeper allows you to perform all types of interval training with the Cyclic menu.


In conclusion, intervall-training and intermittent 

are differentiated not by their form but by their different technical and physiological purposes.

 For more information : conférence live de FRED GACON sur l’intermittent