Arc Trainer Ladder Challenge (40 minutes)

This is an intermediate level “ladder-style” interval challenge that will test your muscular endurance and cardiovascular recovery simultaneously by utilizing the Constant Power Mode on the Arc Trainer.

The Workout Challenge

Keep your strides per minute (SPM) above 120 in each active stage of this 40-minute Arc Trainer workout.

What is Constant Power on the Arc Trainer?

As you increase your SPM in Constant Power Mode, the resistance will decrease and make the motion feel easier. As you decrease your SPM, the resistance will increase to maintain a level of constant power at the desired watt setting. Thus, decreases in speed (SPM) will make the motion feel a bit more difficult.

It is a great way for athletes to test their fitness levels at higher intensities. 


What you need

What you need for the Arc Trainer Ladder Challenge: Arc Trainer, Good Tunes, Comfy Clothes, Timer/Stopwatch

What to do

After you have warmed up, start the challenge by setting the Arc Trainer to Constant Power Mode. Enter your body weight (in pounds) when prompted for the watt setting. 

Begin striding and complete each stage below:

  1. 5 minutes at your body weight in watts
  2. 4 minutes at 115% x body weight in watts
  3. 3 minutes at 130% x body weight in watts
  4. 2 minutes at 150% x body weight in watts
  5. 1 minute at 200% x body weight in watts
  6. 1 minute at 200% x body weight in watts
  7. 2 minutes at 150% x body weight in watts
  8. 3 minutes at 130% x body weight in watts
  9. 4 minutes at 115% x body weight in watts
  10. 5 minutes at your body weight in watts

Between stages, decrease your SPM to less than 50 for 1 minute, and adjust the setting to the next level (a percentage of your body weight in watts). This is a recovery period, where you can assess how you feel and determine your ability to continue at the suggested power level.

To successfully complete the challenge, you will need to keep your SPM over 120 for each stage. If you do not complete a stage, be sure to note the stage where you stopped in your logbook. In a month, try the challenge again and note your progress.

Pro tip

If you are not the best at math in the middle of a workout (and who is?), calculate your percentages beforehand so you can focus on recovering and not on what your next wattage setting should be.

If you're new to the Arc Trainer...

Keep in mind that this workout is designed for those who are already accustomed to using the Arc Trainer and have built up some cardiovascular endurance. If you are a new exerciser (or new to the Arc Trainer), that is okay - we all started where you are. We encourage you to try our Arc Trainer baseline workout to help you identify a starting point for your training. Once you have done that, try some of our other Arc Trainer workouts like this one, designed to get you more familiar with our machine.


Cybex is a provider and manufacturer of premium commercial fitness equipment. Content featured in the Cybex Fitness Blog is meant to inspire healthy living and wellness and should not be taken as medical advice. As always, be sure to consult a physician if you are unsure of your individual exercise readiness or have a pre-existing medical condition. While these programs offer great benefits, there are many considerations that should be weighed before attempting any type of physical activity.

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