Train Smarter, Not Longer: 30-Minute Elliptical Workout

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Train Smarter, Not Longer: 30-Minute Elliptical Workout

December 17, 2012, 12:00AM

A research study published earlier this year in the Journal of Applied Physiology highlights a new approach to training that has been shown to improve both running performance and overall health. The 10-20-30 training concept, developed by researchers at the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, is essentially a specific version of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Subjects in the study performed a 1-km  (or approximately 0.62 mile) warm-up at a low intensity followed by three to four 5-minute “blocks” of running interspersed by 2 minutes of rest. Each of the “blocks” consisted of five consecutive 1-minute intervals divided into 30, 20 and 10 seconds of running at a low, moderate and near maximal intensity, respectively.

Making sense of the science

Being the fitness enthusiast that I am, I always enjoy reading emerging research, checking out new exercise ideas and looking for ways to incorporate all of that good stuff into my own workouts. Since I often try to sneak in a workout during my lunch break, time is of the essence. Shortly after this study was released I began exploring ways to apply the 10-20-30 training concept to an indoor environment, specifically using an elliptical. After some experimentation, I came up with this 30-minute workout, which I incorporate into my own fitness routine once or twice per week.

The exact settings (crossramp and resistance) will depend on the particular model of elliptical you’re using as well as your current fitness level. Using a Precor EFX 576i elliptical, I opt to set the crossramp to 11 and the resistance to 4 for this particular workout.

Time (minutes) Intensity
0:00-7:00 Warm-up (low intensity)
7:00-7:30 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
7:30-7:50 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
7:50-8:00 Sprinting pace (high intensity)
8:00-8:30 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
8:30-8:50 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
8:50-9:00 Sprinting pace (high intensity)
9:00-9:30 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
9:30-9:50 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
9:50-10:00 Sprinting pace (high intensity)
10:00-10:30 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
10:30-10:50 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
10:50-11:00 Sprinting pace (high intensity)
11:00-11:30 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
11:30-11:50 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
11:50-12:00 Sprinting pace (high intensity)
12:00-14:00 Active recovery (low intensity)
14:00-12:30 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
14:30-14:50 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
14:50-15:00 Sprinting pace (high intensity)
15:00-15:30 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
15:30-15:50 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
15:50-16:00 Sprinting pace (high intensity)
16:00-16:30 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
16:30-16:50 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
16:50-17:00 Sprinting pace (high intensity)
17:00-17:30 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
17:30-17:50 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
17:50-18:00 Sprinting pace (high intensity)
18:00-18:30 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
18:30-18:50 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
18:50-19:00 Sprinting pace (high intensity)
19:00-21:00 Active recovery (low intensity)
21:00-21:30 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
21:30-21:50 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
21:50-22:00 Sprinting pace (high intensity)
22:00-22:30 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
22:30-22:50 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
22:50-23:00 Sprinting pace (high intensity)
23:00-23:30 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
23:30-23:50 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
23:50-24:00 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
24:00-24:30 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
24:30-24:50 Sprinting pace (high intensity)
24:50-25:00 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
25:00-25:30 Jogging pace (low to moderate intensity)
25:30-25:50 Running pace (moderate to high intensity)
25:50-26:00 Sprinting pace (high intensity)
26:00-30:00 Cool-down (low intensity)

Take home message

The bottom line is that while I have personally become fond of this particular training protocol, at the end of the day this is merely one way to integrate high-intensity interval training into your workout regimen. If it’s right for you, HIIT training can be done in a number of ways, including in the comfort of your own home. Known for producing effective results in a relatively short amount of time, it’s a great option for those who may be pressed for time, especially during this busy time of year.

Looking for some great tunes to kick your workout up a notch? Check out these tips for creating workout music magic and consider making your own custom fitness playlist!

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