Journal of Applied Physiology

The 10-20-30 training concept improves performance and health profile in moderately trained runners

Thomas Petursson Gunnarsson, Jens Bangsbo


The effect of an alteration from regular endurance to interval (10-20-30) training on the health profile, muscular adaptations, maximum oxygen uptake (VO2-max) and performance of runners was examined. Eighteen moderately trained individuals (6 females and 12 males; VO2-max: 52.2±1.5 (means±SE) were divided into a high intensity training (10-20-30; 3 females and 7 males) and a control (CON; 3 females and 5 males) group. For a 7-week intervention period the 10-20-30 replaced all training sessions with 10-20-30 training consisting of low, moderate and high speed running [<30%, <60% and >90% of maximal intensity] for 30, 20 and 10 s, respectively, in 3-4 5-min intervals interspersed by 2 min of recovery, reducing training volume by 54% (14±0.9 vs. 30.4±2.3 km.week-1) while CON continued the normal training. After the intervention period VO2-max in 10-20-30 was 4% higher, and performance in a 1500-m and a 5-K run improved (p<0.05) by 21 and 48 s, respectively. In 10-20-30, systolic blood pressure was reduced (p<0.05) by 5±2 mmHg, and total and LDL cholesterol was lowered (p<0.05) by 0.5±0.2 and 0.4±0.1 mmol.l-1, respectively. No alterations were observed in CON. Muscle membrane proteins and enzyme activity did not change in either of the groups. The present study shows that interval training with short 10-s near maximal bouts can improve performance and VO2-max despite a ~50% reduction in training volume. In addition, the 10-20-30 training regime lowers resting systolic blood pressure and blood cholesterol, suggesting a beneficial effect on the health profile of already trained individuals.

  • High intensity training
  • VO2-max
  • blood pressure
  • plasma lipid profile
  • muscular adaptations