Interval Training on the Cybex Arc Trainer

We use the Cybex Arc Trainer for many different types of training (strength/power, aerobic endurance, muscular endurance, etc.), but selecting a target resistance can sometimes be tricky. In a training environment we like to use the Constant Power mode for our repeated intervals, as it gives us a consistent measurable number which we use to track progress. We have created the following chart to help show these targets:



After selecting your interval program (lets say 30 seconds on 60 seconds off for 3 sets of 3 reps). Using the chart above you will notice our target for 30 second intervals in a 1:2 work to rest ratio would be 3.0 x your body weight in pounds (or 300% of your body weight). For a 150 pound person, this would be 450 pound (and therefore 450 watts). After a short warm up period, you can get on the Arc and using the Constant Power Mode, enter 450 watts as your goal resistance and begin your program.

If at any point this gets too difficult, simply back down the resistance. When you are finished with your 3 sets of 3 reps of 30 seconds on 60 seconds off, record the lowest resistance used. That is your starting point. As you try new intervals, record your resistance and chart them. Below is a graph of a 195 lb male (the graph points are in watts).


Once you have figured out what resistance is ideal for you, setting up your workouts becomes much more efficient. In each of these workouts, which are designed to develop power endurance, we suggest an incline setting of 7-10. For the short, maximum power intervals (5-10 seconds of work), we suggest a 1:5 or 1:10 work rest time to allow the legs to recover before the next rep. We suggest doing 5-8 reps per set and performing 1-2 sets per workout (due to the maximal nature of these intervals we usually take 5-8 minutes to recover between sets) once or twice a week.

For the mid-level intervals (30-60 seconds of work), we suggest a 1:1 or 1:2 work to rest ratio. We suggest doing 3-5 reps per set and performing 2-3 sets per workout (2-5 minutes of recovery between sets) once or twice a week. For intervals longer than 3 minutes, we find that 1 minute of recovery is usually enough rest time between sets.


1 Comment
  1. Fantastic post. The Cybex Arc Trainer has become a staple in our Energy Systems training at Explosive Performance. It is great to be able to give our athletes direct feedback on the quality of their sprints by measuring Watt output and to also get a value on their rate of fatigue.

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