Two Arc Trainer Workouts for Effective Interval Training

The Arc Trainer offers an effective way to do both strength training and cardio at the same time and is the perfect machine for high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Using HIIT for a Heart Rate Recovery workout, exercisers work towards being able to perform more work (higher intensity), more sets (able to repeat this intensity) in less time (shorter workouts). And, incorporating standard strength training into an Arc Trainer workout provides a total-body strength endurance circuit. Try examples of both below. 

Workout 1: Heart Rate Recovery

The intent of this workout is to have a heart rate recovery of 30 beats in 1 minute, measured after each working set and at the end of each resting interval.

Pre-Workout Test and Planning

Start your program with a pre-test of 1 minute on at 100-120 strides per minute, with a 1 minute rest of at least 60 steps per minute. Focus on increasing the resistance by 5 each set until you cannot recover your heart rate to 75% of projected max (220 minus your age) or cannot keep the pace (100-120 steps per minute) for the working interval.

At that point, 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, keeping the same resistance level at the set pace of 100-120 strides per minute. Starting Week 5, the workout will begin going back down the program ladder, repeating the workouts from Weeks 2-4 but with an increased pace of 120-140 strides per minute.

Heart Rate Recovery program

Week 11 minute on, 1 minute off15 sets or 30 minutes - Pre-Test
Week 22 minutes on, 1 minute off10 sets or 30 minutes
Week 33 minutes on, 1 minute off7 sets or 28 minutes
Week 44 minutes on, 1 minute off6 sets or 30 minutes
Week 54 minutes on, 1 minute off6 sets or 30 minutes - Increased Pace
Week 63 minutes on, 1 minute off7 sets or 28 minutes - Increased Pace
Week 72 minutes on, 1 minute off10 sets or 30 minutes - Increased Pace
Week 81 minute on, 1 minute off15 sets or 30 minutes - Post-Test

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.

Workout 2: Total Body Strength Endurance Circuit for Workout Partners

The Total Body Strength Endurance Circuit is for two people and structured to focus on major muscle groups of the upper body and partner those with Arc Trainer sprints. This allows for a focus on both the upper and lower body, with the intervals providing an opportunity to rest each.

Endurance Circuit Program

  • 1A – Dumbbell Bench Press (30 seconds)
    • 30 seconds rest / switch with partner
  • 1B – Arc Trainer Sprint (30 seconds at 35-50 Resistance/120 Steps per Minute)
    • 30 seconds rest / switch with partner
  • 2A – Dumbbell Bent Row (30 seconds)
    • 30 seconds rest / switch with partner
  • 2B - Arc Trainer Sprint(30 seconds at 35-50 Resistance/120 Steps per Minute)
    • 30 seconds rest / switch with partner
  • 3A – Dumbbell Military Press (30 seconds)
    • 30 seconds rest / switch with partner
  • 3B – Arc Trainer Sprint (30 seconds at 35-50 Resistance/120 Steps per Minute)
    • 30 seconds rest / switch with partner
  • 4A – Physioball Crunches (30 seconds)
    • 30 seconds rest / switch with partner
  • 4B – Arc Trainer Sprint (30 seconds at 35-50 Resistance/120 Steps per Minute)
    • 30 seconds rest / switch with partner
  • Repeat 2-3 sets or 16-24 minutes

The Arc Trainer keeps the time, as one partner performs the Arc Trainer Sprint (30 seconds) and then coasts until the other partner relieves them. Then this partner waits until the clock hits the 1-minute mark before they start their set. As soon as the partner on the Arc Trainer starts their set, the other partner begins their set with the dumbbells. This keeps everyone on time, and makes for an organized circuit.