After my prior post “Treadmills Are For Hamsters!”, many of you have asked me what equipment I use in the gym to do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). And while I believe that there is no better workout than a brisk climbing hike up a wooded mountain trail, rain days and busy schedules often force us to train indoors.
After my knee replacement surgery in 2010 (It’s now my strong knee!), I was on the lookout for a new piece of equipment to do HIIT cardiovascular training. The treadmill offered too much shock on the my knee joints, the stationary bike put too much pressure on my low back and I just think the elliptical is a weird machine with an unnatural motion.
I wanted something that gave me an awesome sweat producing high intensity workout but was easy on my knees and spine while improving my range of motion. I also didn’t want to be so bored that I had to watch TV while doing it.
My search ended when I discovered the Cybex Arc Trainer and I love using it for HIIT workouts. It works the upper body as well as the lower and I feel like I’m climbing a mountain when I’m on it! The arcing motion is similar to climbing up a hill with walking poles or climbing up stairs while pulling up on the handrails. As you climb, you’re working against gravity, which really stimulates muscle metabolism. And you never have to go downhill, so your joints don’t take a beating.
I use it three times a week and my sessions usually last 20 minutes. I perform at least 8 high intensity intervals. I roughly follow the HIIT formula of 30-45 seconds of high intensity at 90-100% of my maximum heart rate alternating with a couple of minutes of lower intensity at 60-70 max heart rate. But quite often I just rock out to the pace of the Nine Inch Nails coming through my headphones!
From the Cybex website:
The Arc Trainer, is scientifically tested to be gentler on your joints, burn 16% more calories than an elliptical, and is stronger and more durable than the leading ellipticals. On the Arc Trainer, the legs travel in a biomechanically correct path of motion. There’s less stress on the knees and more activation of the glutes and hamstrings.
Most gyms and health clubs now stock the equipment in various forms. To get an idea of what it looks like and how it works, I’ve included the link below
Keep Looking Forward…