Rethinking Your Facility Layout: Personal Cardio Spaces

The pandemic has forced health clubs to rethink how they do things. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Adaptation can create fresh workout experiences for exercisers.

Adequate space between exercisers is essential for the near term. Consider setting aside areas where exercisers can have their own personal workouts and the peace of mind knowing they're safely distanced from others.

The Cardio Space

Personal Workout SpaceThe area shown on the left begins with the Arc Trainer, a versatile piece of cardio equipment that allows for moderately-paced cardio sessions as well as high-intensity interval training. Similar personal workout spaces can also be planned using cardio equipment like treadmills, ellipticals, PowerMills or bikes.

Combining the cardio unit with a storage solution for strength and functional training tools allows users to get in a great overall workout, without ever leaving a small, roughly 10' x 10' space.

Personal Cardio Space Workouts

The suggested workouts below provide options to suit most exercisers and were created by Leigh Wierichs, the Global Training and Education Manager at Life Fitness. These are specific to the Arc Trainer, but can easily be adapted for other cardio equipment.

The same goes for the training accessories in the space. Facilities can choose the tools that their members use the most, including options like kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls and resistance bands. Health clubs and other fitness facilities can create the personal workout experience that best fits their user demographic.


Power: 30 seconds on/30 seconds off repeated three times (3 minutes total) followed by accessories
  • Arc Trainer: 3 minutes total (30-second on/off intervals) at a 20+ resistance level (depending upon the fitness level of the exerciser)
  • Transition: 30 seconds
  • Accessory Workout: 3 minutes
  • Transition: 30 seconds
  • Total Cycle Time: 7 minutes

Repeat the sequence four times followed by a cool down and stretch. RPE Scale of 8-9 for ON interval.


Strength: 1 minute on/1 minute off/1 minute on (3 minutes total) followed by accessories
  • Arc Trainer: 3 minutes total (1-minute on/off intervals) at a 30+ resistance level (depending upon the fitness level of the exerciser)
  • Transition: 30 seconds
  • Accessory Workout: 3 minutes
  • Transition: 30 seconds
  • Total Cycle Time: 7 minutes

Repeat the sequence four times followed by a cool down and stretch. RPE Scale of 7-8 for ON interval.


Cardio: 2 minutes on/1 minute off/2 minutes on (5 minutes total) followed by accessories 
  • Arc Trainer: 5 minutes total at a 15+ resistance level (depending upon the fitness level of the exerciser)
  • Transition: 30 seconds
  • Accessory Workout: 3 minutes
  • Transition: 30 seconds
  • Total Cycle Time: 9 minutes

Repeat sequence three times followed by a cool down and stretch. RPE Scale of 6-7 for ON interval.

Note: Shorter work intervals should be done at higher watt outputs: 150-watt target for two-minute work intervals; 200 to 250 for one-minute intervals; 300 to 400 for 30-second intervals. Combined together with accessories, this creates a great overall workout. 


Accessory Workout Tips

For Power and Strength workouts, exercisers should focus on upper body movements since legs will be fatigued from the higher resistance during the strength/power block of work on the Arc Trainer. Exercisers can use sets of the same movements and repeat for subsequent accessories blocks, or superset with new exercises targeting the same muscle groups. They should try to work to fatigue in each set. 

For Cardio workouts, exercisers focus on either lower body (squats or lunges, for example) or total-body compound movements (squat press) so that they can keep their heart rate elevated even during the accessories block. Exercisers should switch muscle groups from one exercise to the next and keep minimal transition and rest time in order to keep the heart rate elevated for the entire 30-minute workout.