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  • Writer's pictureTom Vachet

Get Fit In 12 Short Minutes Per Day


The Elliptical Trainer Superset

I designed this 12-minute program over twenty years ago, based on research done in Japan by Izumi Tabata, a renowned Exercise Physiologist. It has been used successfully by each of the hundreds of pro athletes I have trained to improve their performance in sport. A side benefit is the calories expended during exercise and significantly reduces body fat through the anaerobic phase of the exercise.


This is a hands-free, high-intensity exercise. Resist the urge to hold on. The unstable environment created by going hands-free increases in-exercise caloric demand by 30


%. Pump your arms as though you were running. Focus on activating your core and minimizing the movement of your “center” of mass. Move from the hips, keeping your upper body quiet.

  • Step onto Elliptical Trainer, or similar device and Begin Striding.


  • Set to Quick Start and make no adjustments to ramp.


  • Set Resistance for mild exertion. Increase your pace, and/or resistance to that point where you feel you are moving against a 4-5 level of resistance on a 10-scale of effort. You should be able to maintain a conversation at this rate.


  • At the 4-minute mark Increase Your Pace to that point you become breathless. This should bring you to your Max Heart Rate and your body to an anaerobic state.

  • Maintain your pace for 30 seconds, and then drop back to the beginning pace for 30 seconds.

  • Repeat This Sequence on the minute mark for a total of 8 intervals, then cool down, by reducing Resistance to your Start setting, decrease pace gradually, and finish at the 12-minute mark.


Nearly every sport is comprised of a series of sprints. The fact is, you should “train how you play.” So, long distance runs have no real value in improving performance, unless you’re a long-distance runner. Tabata’s research demonstrates high intensity interval training involves the use of your body’s anaerobic energy system, providing substantial improvement in VO2 max and overall endurance, and elevates metabolism and caloric demand for up to 6 to 8 hours following completion of the exercise.


Several modalities may be used for interval exercise; resistance training, bicycling, swimming, treadmill, etc. However, in my view, none have the same neurological demand for balance and stability. In addition, the elliptical trainer is also zero-impact exercise. Using this modality should help to prolong an athlete’s career simply by reducing cumulative trauma to the hips, knees, ankles, and feet often associated with osteoarthritis, stress fractures, etc.


Finally, again this program requires just 12 minutes to complete. So, no excuses!



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