The Arc Trainer is a very unique device. It blends resistance and cardio in a workout that challenges your power as well as your endurance. This “resisted cardio” approach to training is perfect for High Intensity Interval Training, but it can be challenging to figure out how to set it up for aerobic training sessions. This is probably why the most frequently asked questions I get on the Arc Trainer is, “Where should I set the resistance?”
Baseline Aerobic Resistance (BAR)
We have used many different tests in the past, but if you are looking for a quick and easy way to determine your Baseline Aerobic Resistance or BAR (something that we will use as a starting point for many of our workouts) follow this simple protocol:
- Get on the Arc Trainer and get it moving.
- Enter your body weight (as the resistance is actually based off the body weight you enter).
- Set the incline to a comfortable level (we usually recommend between 6 and 10 for most users).
- Cruise comfortably between 120-140 Strides per Minute (SPM) for 1 minute at 25 resistance.
- Without letting your SPM drop below 120, increase your resistance every minute by 5.
- Continue to increase your resistance by 5 every minute until you feel as if you unable to hold the required 120 SPM.
- At this point drop the resistance down as needed until you can maintain the 120-140 SPM speed.
- After you drop the resistance, continue on for 6 minutes, dropping the resistance further if needed, but once you lower the resistance you cannot increase it during this test.
- At the end of the 6 minute bout, the resistance setting you are using will be your Baseline Aerobic Resistance or BAR.
- Be sure to monitor your heart rate during this test… If your heart rate gets above 85% [(220 - Your Age)*.85] decrease the resistance until it drops back down below 85%. During the last 6 minutes of this test, your heart rate should level off and become consistent. This is a great indicator that you have found your BAR.
Using your Baseline Aerobic Resistance
Using your BAR to monitor training is very similar to a 1 rep max during your strength training sessions. As you get stronger, or build more muscular endurance, your BAR will increase. As you build a work capacity, and increase your aerobic fitness, your BAR will be a good indication of how well your training is working for you.
In your next Arc Training session, warm up to your BAR in a 3-5 minute warm up, then see how long you can last at this resistance.
Here are some tips for how to track improvements:
- How long can you last at your BAR?
- After 4 weeks retest your BAR and see if it has improved.
- Measure your Heart Rate in a 20 minute workout at 130-140 SPM at BAR and in 4 weeks see if you are able to perform the at the same intensity (20 minutes at 130-140 SPM at BAR) with a lower average HR or lower max HR.
Once you have established this level and are working out regularly, see if you can raise the "BAR" on your results!