A number of studies have already proven that high-intensity interval training is effective for improving performance and fitness. The other appeal of this kind of exercise is that it can be done in less time. As a result, fitness fans from all over the world have included HIIT exercise in their training and continue to take advantage of its benefits.
Typical HIIT training consists of 30-40 seconds of very hard sprinting followed by 15-20 seconds of jogging or walking, and is repeated a few times. Longer HIIT sessions aren’t necessary nor recommendable. This strategy is hard but effective and is often reserved for more advanced athletes.
But in 2014, a study on HIIT using out-of-shape adults discovered that few of the subjects became more fit after the study’s completion. This study used overweight and out-of-shape adults who were asked to complete high-intensity interval training for three months. The subjects could choose between two common types of training strategies: 4 minutes of fast jogging with a rest and then another 4 minutes of fast jogging, or 30 seconds of hard sprinting, followed by rest, and then repeated 3 times.
The researchers believed that few of the subjects became fitter because in the beginning, the majority of the subjects had quit doing most or all of their exercise assigned to them for the study (the participants were asked to do some workout sessions on their own, and some were supervised).
Based on the findings of this study and others like it, a professor of physiology at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and his colleagues developed the 10-20-30 training routine. The researchers have been studied high-intensity interval training, and have discovered that HIIT does make people fitter—but those studies were sometimes carried out on very motivated athletes in supervised settings, according to The New York Times. The 10-20-30 training approach is an effort to make HIIT training more realistic for an average man. The 10-20-30 is fun, which is important for beginners. Because they have fun, they want to continue to exercise.
THE NEW 10-20-30 HIIT APPROACH
This is how 10-20-30 training goes: you run slowly for 30 seconds, then accelerate to a more moderate pace for 20 seconds, then sprint as fast as you can for the last 10 seconds. Repeat the sequence.
Most people have found this kind of training to be fun because it’s easy to count your time without using a stopwatch, and the most difficult part of the exercise only lasts 10 seconds at a time.
Researchers tested the 10-20-30 training strategy in a study that was published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science. The study involved 132 recreational, mostly middle-aged. The runners swapped two of their usual weekly sessions for 10-20- 30 training. A control group of 28 runners continued their usual training. At the beginning of the study, all of the participants had physiological testing, which included a simulated 5-kilometre run.
After two months, it was discovered that almost all of the 10-20-30 runners were still following the program, and when they ran another 5K, they had improved their time by 38 seconds on average. What’s more, virtually all of the runners improved in other areas of health, such as decreased blood pressure. As for the control running group, no changes were discovered.
In the studies, which have been carried out on both beginner and more seasoned runners, it was discovered that not only did the 10-20-30 program resulted in reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels and improved running time, but that people also tend to find this kind of training more satisfying.
The idea is that you are doing shorter intense work and then keeping your heart rate up during the 20- and 30-second parts. What’s more, another distinctive benefit of 10-20-30 is the social element. Running clubs have actually increased membership with this strategy because it lets runners at different fitness levels to run together—because after running intensely, friends with different running capacities can get back to running together for the slower parts.
TRY IT YOURSELF
Experts suggest doing 10-20-30 HIIT program twice a week (for beginners as well as more advanced runners) in addition to other kinds of moderate-level training sessions throughout the week.
Of course, you still can do traditional HIIT but as we all know the 4-minute intervals are more difficult, while 10-20-30 training has been shown to be easier and more efficient. If you do five 10-20-30 intervals in a row, rest and then perform another five, you can complete an effective cardio session in only 12 minutes.
So whether you are a seasoned athlete or just getting into more demanding training, you may want to try out this strategy—it might be just what you need to make progress like never before. If nothing else, it’s always recommendable to occasionally change your training methods in order to keep your body guessing, which can help yield better results.
The other benefit is that it’s easy enough to count in your head and keep track of your time. Try it with jogging, rowing or cycling—whatever type of cardio exercise you like best.