December 22, 2014

Top 10 Programs on the Cybex Arc Trainer: #9 Heart Rate Recovery

In our series of the top ten types of training on the Cybex Arc Trainer we have our number 9 program being Improved Heart Rate Recovery. This refers to the ability of the heart to quickly recover during interval training, to a level were it can repeat the next interval at a fairly high intensity.

High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT has become a very well accepted way for athletes to train at a very high level for extended periods of time. This type of training really mimics the most demanding periods of sport, where an athlete may sprint at full speed, change direction and repeat this speed several time in 30-60 second bouts. These bouts our usually followed by a 30 – 60 second rest interval where the athlete will walk to recovery, or even stand and rest (think time outs, free throws or slow jogs as the ball is being moved into another area of the field).

But interval training is not just for competitive athletes. Fitness enthusiasts have seen the benefits of this type of training to promote both aerobic and anaerobic training within the same workout (circuit training). This promotes the maintenance of muscle while also strengthening the cardiovascular system. This type of training is awesome for both fitness and fat loss!

Because of the Arcs ability to build strength and endurance we are able to challenge both of these aspects in cardiovascular strength training intervals. One noticeable benefit will be heart rate recovery, or the ability to train at a high intensity over a short interval and then adequately recover the heart rate to a level where you can repeat the interval at a similar intensity. This shows up as more work (higher intensity), more sets (able to repeat this intensity) in less time (shorter workouts).

Here is an example of how you might begin a program to improve heart rate recovery and increased fitness on the Arc.

You should start off with a pre-test of 1 minute on at 100-120 strides per minute, with a 1 minute rest of less than 15 strides per minute. Focus on increasing the resistance by 5 each set until you:

  1. Can’t recover your heart rate to 75% of projected max (220-age)
  2. Can’t keep the pace (100-120 strides per minute) for the working interval

At that point you should decrease the resistance to a level at which you can complete the interval at the set pace. Each week will progress as follows in the table below where we keep the same focus of increasing the resistance at a set pace (100-120 strides per minute). Starting in week 5 we will go back down the program ladder, repeating the workouts from weeks 2-4, but with an increase in pace to 120-140 strides per minute while keeping the same resistance strategy and recovery time.

Week 1:             1 minute on 1 minute off                         15 sets or 30 min – Pre Test

Week 2:            2 minute on 1 minute off                         10 sets or 30 min

Week 3:            3 minute on 1 minute off                        7 sets or 28 min

Week 4:            4 minutes on 1 minute off                        6 sets or 30 min

Week 5:            4 minutes on 1 minute off                        6 sets or 30 min – Increased Pace

Week 6:            3 minutes on 1 minute off                        7 sets or 28 min – Increased Pace

Week 7:             2 minutes on 1 minute off                        10 sets or 30 min – Increased Pace

Week 8:            1 minute on 1 minute off                        15 sets or 30 min – Post Test

Make sure that you record your ending heart rate after each working set as well as your recovery heart rate at the end of each rest interval. This will help you monitor your heart rate recovery improvement. We are looking for a recovery of around 30 beats in 1 minute.

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