There are many effective high intensity interval training (HIIT) protocols that have been used by exercise physiologist and researchers over the years. One such interval protocol (10-20-30) was tested and published in the Journal of Physiology by two researchers from Copenhagen. Researchers, Gunnarsson and Bangsbo, had very promising results on a group of moderately trained runners who used this particular protocol. The study compared training results on a control group and an interval group using the 10-20-30 protocol. The 10-20-30 training concept consisted of a standardized ∼1.2 km warm-up at a low intensity followed by 3–4 × 5 minute running interspersed by 2 minutes of rest. Each 5-minute running period consisted of five consecutive 1 minute intervals divided into 30, 20, and 10 seconds at an intensity corresponding to <30%, <60%, and 90–100% of their maximal intensity, respectively.
Study results showed the 10-20-30 group, significantly reduced systolic blood pressure by 5 ± 2 mmHg, and total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol was significantly lowered by 0.5 ± 0.2 and 0.4 ± 0.1 mmol/l, respectively. No changes were observed in control group. The study also showed that interval training with short 10-second near-maximal bouts can improve performance and V̇O2max despite a ∼50% reduction in training volume. In addition, the 10-20-30 training regime lowered resting systolic blood pressure and blood cholesterol, suggesting a beneficial training effect on the health profile of trained individuals.
Following the 7-week study the runners experienced an average increase in their VO2max of 4% (mean 52 ml/kg/min. VO2max) and improved running times in a 1,500-m and a 5-km run by 21 and 48 seconds, respectively. Four weeks prior to as well as before and after the intervention period each subject (n = 18) underwent a series of tests that included: (1) a treadmill test to determine V̇O2max and maximal aerobic speed, (2) a 1,500-m run, and (3) a 5-km run.
This type of training protocol suggest that adding 1:00 intervals using the 10-20-30 protocol to your current training routine would be ideal not only for runners but the general population as well. It would be prudent to try this only after a solid aerobic conditioning base is established.
Gunnarsson TP, Bangbo J. (2012). The 10-20-30 training concept improves performance and health profile in moderately trained runners. Journal of Applied Physiology, 113(16-24) DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00334.2012
Bangsbo J, Gunnarsson TP, Wendell J, Nybo L, Thomassen M. (2009) Reduced volume and increased training intensity elevate muscle Na+-K+ pump alpha2-subunit expression as well as short- and long-term work capacity in humans. J Appl Physiol 107: 1771–1780