One problem with many HIT regimens is that many adopters don’t enjoy the high
effort required in high-intensity interval workouts and soon abandon the programs.
To address this problem, researchers in Denmark devised what they call a 10-20-30
training program. The essential features of it are, that after a warm-up, exercise
aerobically (run, row, or cycle) gently for 30 seconds (at about 30% of maximum
intensity), accelerate to a moderate pace for 20 seconds (at about 60% of maximum
intensity) and then go all out as hard as you can for 10 seconds (at 90–100% of
maximum intensity), then repeat each 30 second, 20 second and 10 second session
five times with no pause between sessions, take a two-minute rest and repeat five
more times. Each session, when repeated five times, takes five minutes, and with a
two-minute rest, the workout requires only 12 minutes. For those already in excellent
shape, a third or even a fourth five-minute exercise period can be added. The
creators of this workout regimen recommend that it should be limited to two or
three times a week and followed by a rest day or a light workout.

In a study of the 10-20-30 training concept over a seven-week period, a group of
recreational runners replaced their usual training sessions with three weekly 10-
20-30 training periods of five minutes duration repeated three or four times interspersed
by two minutes of rest. A control group continued with their usual
endurance training. The study found that even though the study participants had
about a 50% reduction in training volume as measured by weekly mileage, VO2max
was elevated by 4% and performance in a 1,500-m and a 5-km run improved by
21 and 48 seconds, respectively. Furthermore, the 10-20-30 training led to a marked
reduction in systolic blood pressure as well as a lowering of total cholesterol and

Gretchen Reynolds asked Dr. Gibala, the professor of kinesiology who has studied
and popularized HIT, “Is one minute the shortest possible HIIT workout or will I be
writing about a 30-second workout soon?” Dr. Gibala responded, “I think one minute
may be the limit. We are still looking for the exact sweet spot in terms of how
little intense effort people can do and still get significant health and fitness benefits.
So far, it looks as if three repetitions of 20-second intervals is the lowest effective
load. But we are still experimenting. Stay tuned.”

The University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter recently described and analyzed
low-volume high-intensity interval training, the fitness regimen popularized
as the 7-Minute Workout. They note that there are many versions of the 7-Minute
Workout accessible on websites and apps. They all feature high-intensity calisthenics
with (in contrast to some HIT regimens) very little time, about 10 seconds,
between each of perhaps 12 different calisthenics. They concluded that there is
some evidence that these workouts, when performed three to four times a week for
several weeks, provide as much or more conditioning and cardiovascular benefit as
a traditional 30-minute workout. The Wellness Letter advised those who want to
try low-volume high-intensity interval training to make sure the workout is intense,
that it includes a variety of exercises, and to alternate upper-body and lower-body
exercises. They also suggest that it is important to use proper form to avoid injury
and caution that even fit people may find these workouts challenging. They also
advise individuals who are elderly, obese or have a heart condition to check with
their physician prior to initiating any of the 7-Minute Workout programs.

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel.