Double Trouble – The Insanity Interval

By Paulo Poli de Figueiredo, MS and Nino Aboarrage, MS

Reprinted with permission from the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA)
This article appeared in the April/May 2017 Akwa magazine [Vol. 30 No. 6 Pg. 31]

IAFC 2017 Aquatic Workshop

Double Trouble…a fitting format for us to offer at IAFC 2017 since we have a reputation for
training in the water with power and intensity. (Nino is well-known for plyometric training in the
water, and Paulo recognized for timed training, using the swimming intervals, in vertical aquatic
We believe that the aquatic environment is ideal for improving health and fitness, but that the
correct strategy must also be used to achieve specific results. As enthusiastic trainers and great
friends, we decide to work together and develop Double Trouble, which explains how to increase
intensity in the water with anaerobic power through various HIIT protocols.

What is interval training?

The basics of the interval training revolve around bioenergetics (a field of biochemistry and
cellular biology focusing on energy flow through a living system). But don’t despair, for aquatic
fitness we keep it simple! If we train at a moderate intensity, the exercise can be continuous; we
are at steady state and using predominantly aerobic metabolism. As we increase intensity, we
must allow periods of recovery because the aerobic system is not adequate for maximal energy
At maximal intensity, the anaerobic system provides the majority of the energy our body requires
for exercise. When we use predominantly the anaerobic system, first we lose speed, as the ATPCP
decreases, and then we feel muscle pain, as the blood lactate increase. The period of
recovery during the intervals will refuel the muscle with ATP-CP and decrease the blood lactate
level, thus permitting the body to perform another set of high intensity exercise.

Why interval training?

The basic reason is efficiency. Even with less time expended, we can still see great results. The
use of the anaerobic system creates an excess of post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC),
which increases metabolism. This is a key reason to increase intensity during exercise, and the
benefits are well documented in the literature. Tabata et al. (1996) studied the effect of moderateintensity
endurance (70% VO2max for 60 minutes) and high-intensity intermittent training (7-8
sets of 20-second exercise at 170% VO2max with 10 seconds rest between each set) on
anaerobic capacity and VO2max. This study showed that moderateintensity
aerobic training that improves the maximal aerobic power does not change anaerobic
capacity. Additionally, it was shown that adequate high-intensity intermittent training improves
both anaerobic and aerobic energy, probably through imposing intensive stimuli on both
systems. Many other studies suggest that high intensity intervals represent a time-efficient
strategy, and will be discussed at our conference workshop.

Who can participate?

Most athletes use some protocol of HIIT in preparation for their sport, but HIIT isn`t only for
athletes. Look at the various populations that have been studied and shown to benefit from this
type of training:

• Healthy, elderly men - Cadore et al. (2010
• Overweight or obese individuals - Martinez et al. (2015)
• Patients with coronary artery disease - Jauregyuzar et al. (2016)
• Individuals in cardiac rehab - Keteyian et al. (2014)
• Adolescents - Eather et al. (2016), Costigan et al. (2015), Logan et al. (2015)
• Post chemotherapy - Kampshoff et al. (2015)
• Female cancer survivors - Schmitt et al. (2015)
• Adults with pre-diabetes - Jung et al. (2015)
• Type 2 diabetes - Cassidy et al. (2016)

Can we utilize HIIT in the water?
Most studies have used cycling to achieve the desired intensity, primarily because the bicycle
gives researchers a stable condition to control the intensity. However, in practice, the intervals
can be any type of movement, as long as the intensity during the “on” components is adequately
increased. The pool has been a great environment to improve energy expenditure. Kruel et al.
(2009) compared continuous training and interval training (both in the water), and found greater
values for VO2 and Kcal expenditure with the intervals. Water is a great environment to improve
strength; the speed against the water’s resistance was powerful enough to improve strength in
different muscles (Buttelli et al., 2015).

Join us for our session at IAFC to explore many other benefits seen with HIIT training in the
water. For example, training obese patients who are at high risk for musculoskeletal injury,
improving functional fitness and blood pressure, and increasing lower body strength for women
ages 60 to 75 years old. Other studies discuss improvements in bone mineral density, improved
flexibility, reduced stress on connective tissue, and even enhanced balance, function, and
mobility for adults with arthritis. The impressive results in the water for special populations is
because its safety; less impact (Kruel et al., 2001) and less muscle damage (Pantoja et al.,

How to control intensity in the water?

The correct intensity is the key of HIIT success, so how can we control intensity in the water?
We suggest using the perception of effort (perceived exertion levels) to monitor intensity. At the
ventilator threshold, perceived effort is at 16-17 on the 20-point Borg scale (Alberton et al, 2016);
during the high intensity intervals, we should exercise over 17 on the Borg scale. Pinto (2011)
suggests the use of a maximal cadence to optimize the neuromuscular activity in the aquatic

What is the Double Trouble protocol?

Many different protocols will be used in this class to challenge various ability levels and provide
training options. Sets of 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and 1 minute will be used for different
exercises. Basic water exercises, such as running, skiing, jacks, jabs, and plyometric training
will be combined to achieve our goals. The importance is to repeat the stimulus and respect
the recovery period. Come feel the power of the water and enjoy this challenging experience –
Double Trouble – at IAFC 2017. 
Reprinted with permission from the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA)
This article appeared in the April/May 2017 Akwa magazine [Vol. 30 No. 6 Pg. 31]

Nino Aboarrage is the director of Hidroesporte Water Activities Center.
He teaches aquatic exercise, swimming, and biomechanics at the University Center of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil.

Paulo Poli de Figueiredo is a physical education teacher, author, and international presenter.
He is the director of the Acqualita Fitness Center in Brazil.

Tabata I, Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, Hiray Y, Ogita F, Miyachi M, Yamamoto K. Effects of moderate-intensity
    endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max. Med Sci Sports Exerc
    28(10): 1327-30, 1996
Tabata I, Irisawa W, Kouzaki M, Nishimura K, Ogita F, Mivachi M. Metabolic profile of high intensity intermittent
    exercises. Med Sci Sport exerc, 29(3): 390-5, 1997
Gibata MJ, Jonathan, JP, Esse, MV, Wilkin, GP, Burgomaster, KA, Safdar, A, Raha, S, Tarnopolsky, MA. Shortterm
    sprint interval versus traditional endurance training: similar initial adaptations in human skeletal muscle
    and exercise performance. J Physiol 3: 901-911, 2006.
Osawa Y, Azuma K, Tabata S, Katsukawa F, Ishida H, Oguma Y, Kawai T, Itoh H, Okuda S, Matsumoto H. Effects
    of 16-week high-intensity interval training using upper and lower body ergometers on aerobic fitness and
    morphological changes in healthy men: a preliminary study. Journal of Sport Medicine, 5: 257-265, 2014
Roxburgh BH, Nolan PB, Weatherwax RM, Dalleck LC. Is moderate intensity exercise training combined with high
    intensity interval training more effective at improving cardiorespiratory fitness than moderate intensity exercise
    training alone? J Sport Sci and Med 13: 702-707, 2014.
Cadore EL, Pinto RS, Alberton CL, Pinto SS, Lhullier FLR, Tartaruga MP, Correa CS, Almeida APV, Silva EM,
Laitano O, Kruel LFM. Neuromuscular economy, strength, and endurance in healthy eldery men. J Strength
    and Conditioning Research 0(0):1-7, 2010
Martinez N, Kilpatrick MW, Salomon K, Jung ME, Little JP. Affective and enjoyment responses to High Intensity
    Interval Training in Overweight-to-Obese and insufficiently active adults. J Sport exerc Psychol. 37(2):138-49, 2015
Jauregyuzar KV, Vicente D, Baustista LR, de la Peña CH, Gomez MJ, Rueda MJ, Ignacio MF. Effect of highintensity
    interval versus continuous exercise training on functional capacity and quality of life in patients with
    coronary artery disease. J Cardiopulm Rehab Prev, 2016.
Keteyian SJ, Hibner BA, Bronsteen K, Kerrigan D, Aldred HA, Reasons LM, Sava MA, Brawner CA, Schairer JR,
Thompson TM, Hill J, McCulloch D, Ehrman JK. Greater improvement in cardiorespiratoty fitness using higherintensity
    interval training in the standard cardiac rehabilitation setting. J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev 34(2): 98-105, 2014.
Eather N, Morgan PJ, Lubans DR. Improving health-related fitness in adolescent. J Sport Sci, 34(3):209-23, 2016.
Costigan SA, Eather N, Plotnikoff RC, Taaffe DR, Pollock E, Kennedy SG, Lubans DR. Preliminary efficacy and
    feasibility of embedding high intensity interval training into the school day. Prev Med Rep 2:973-979, 2015.
Logan GR, Harris N, Duncan S, Plank LD, Merien F, Schofield G. Low-active male adolescent: A dose response to
    high-intensity interval training. Med Sci Sport Exerc, 2015.
Kampshoff CS, Chinapaw MJM, Brug J, Twisk JWR, Schep G, Nijziel MR, Mechelen W, Buffart LM. Randomized
    controlled trial of the effects of high intensity and low-to-moderate intensity exercise on physical fitness and
    fatigue in cancer survivors. BMC Medicine 13:275, 2015.
Schmitt J, Lindner N, Borst MR, Holmberg HC, Sperlich B. A2-week multimodal intervention involving high-intensity
    interval training in female cancer survivors. Physiol Rep 4(3), 2016.
Jung EM, Bourne JE, Beauchamp MR, Robinson E, Little JP. High-Intensity Interval Training as na efficacious
    alternative to Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training for adults with prediabetes. J Diabetes Res:1-9, 2015
Cassidy S, Thoma C, Hallsworth K, Parikh J, Hollingworth KG, Taylor R, Trenell M. High intensity intermittent
    exercise improves cardiac structure and function and reduces liver fat in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia 59:56-66, 2016.
Kruel, LFM, Posser, MS, Alberton, CL, Pinto, SS, Oliveira, AS. Comparison of Energy Expenditure Between
    Cotinuos and Interval Water Aerobic Routines. International J Aquatic Res and Educ, 3, 186-196, 2009.
Buttelli ACK, Pinto SS, Schoenell MCW, Almada BP, Camargo LK, Conceição MO, Kruel LFM. Effect of single vs
    multiple sets water-based resistance training on maximal dynamic strength in young men. J Hum kinetics 47:169-177, 2015.
Boidin M, Lapierre G, Paquette L, Nigan A, Juneau M, Guilbeault V, Latour E, Gavda M. Effect of aquatic interval
    training with Mediterranean diet counseling in obese patients. Ann Phys Rehab Med 58(5):269-75, 2015.
Reichert T, Kanitz AC, Delevatti RS, Bagatini NC, Barroso BM, Kruel LF. Continuous and interval training programs
    using deep water running improves functional fitness and blood pressure in the older adults. Age 38(1):20, 2016.
Pinto SS, Cadore EL, Albertom CL, Zaffari P, Bagatini NC, Maroni BM, Radaelli R, Lanferdini FJ, Colado JC, Pinto
RS, Vaz MA, Bottaro M, Kruel LFM. Effects of intra-session exercise sequence during water-based concurrent
training. Int J Sport Med; 34: 1-8, 2013.
Ailton A, Aboarrage AM, Leoncy MV, Cirilo, MS. Influence of hydrotraining in bone mineral density in
    postmenopausal women. IAFC poster 2015.
Rebold MJ, kobak MS, Ottersletter R. The influence of a Tabata interval training program using na aquatic
    underwater treadmill on various performance variables. J Strength Cond Res,27(12): 3419-25, 2013
Bressel E, Wing JE, Miller AL, Dolny DG. High-intensity interval training on an aquatic treadmill in adults with
    osteoarthritis effect on pain, balance, function, and mobility. J Strength Cond Res, 24(8): 2088-96, 2014
Kruel, LFM, Moraes, EZC, Avila, AOV, Sampedro, RMF. Alterações fisiológicas e biomecânicas em indivíduos
    praticando exercícios de hidroginástica dentro e fora d‘agua. Revista Kinesis, no especial: 119-154, 2001
Pantoja, PD, Alberton, CL, Pilla, C, Vendrusculo, AP, Kruel, LFM. Effect of resistive exercise on muscle damage in
    water and on land. J Strenght and Cond Research 23(3):1051-1054, 2009
Alberton CL, Pinto SS, Gorski T, Antunes AH, Finatto P, Cadore EL, Bergamin M, Kruel LF. Rating os perceived
    exertion in maximal incremental tests during head-out water-based aerobic exercises. J Sports Sci 13:1-8, 2016.
Pinto, SS, Cadore, EL, Albertom, CL, Silva, EM, Kanitz, AC, Tartaruga, MP, Kruel, LFM. Cardiorespiratory and
    neuromuscular responses during water aerobics exercise performed with and without equipment. Int J Sport Med, 2011. 

Reprinted with permission from the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA)
This article appeared in the April/May 2017 Akwa magazine [Vol. 30 No. 6 Pg. 31]