Cardio Training – latest research

Latest research from Les Mills suggests we need to rethink how we do cardio exercise to get the most out of each session.  Here’s a recent article produced by Les Mills outlining their current research findings.



by Emma Hogan , 18 DAYS AGO

Posted in Fitness Research

Forget mindlessly pounding the pavement or relentlessly revving the rower, if you want to get the most from your cardio training you need to take a scientific approach. That’s where Cardio Peak Training comes in.

After decades of research into the effects of different exercise programs, the Les Mills Laboratory has defined – and proved – the science behind one of the most efficient approaches to cardio exercise.

Cardio Peak Training is a specific blend of high-intensity and steady-state training that gives you the best of both worlds – the cardio endurance that goes hand-in-hand with steady-state training and the transformative fat burning benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

How it works

During steady-state cardio such as running, rowing or walking you reach a certain level of exertion and maintain that for the duration of the workout. On the other hand, if you’re doing a HIIT workout you’ll reach intensity peaks pushing 95 per cent plus of your maximum heart rate, followed by periods of complete rest and recovery. A Cardio Peak Training workout is a hybrid of the two. Cardio Peak Training maintains your heart rate at an aerobic training base, between 60 and 80 per cent of your maximum heart rate, interspersed with peaks of intensity pushing you to 85 to 90 per cent of your max. After a peak you only drop back to your aerobic base.

Proof it works

The advantages of Cardio Peak Training are highlighted in a 2015 study by Loughborough University1. This study analyzed the effectiveness of a multi-peak cardio program by following a group of exercisers completing three RPM workouts (a perfect example of cardio peak training) a week for eight weeks. Researchers measured glucose tolerance, cholesterol, cardio fitness and body composition before and after the trial.

The results showed cardio fitness improved, with an 11.8 per cent increase in VO2 (the most discussed measure of cardio fitness) and a 7 per cent reduction in (systolic) blood pressure. Body composition also improved considerably, with a 13.8 per cent reduction in body fat and a 3 per cent reduction in waist circumference. There was also a total cholesterol reduction of 13 per cent.

The study’s authors concluded the varying levels of intensity within the program were an important factor in maximizing muscle adaptations and producing comprehensive health benefits.1

Perhaps even more significant was the compliance rate by participants of 95 per cent. Given they were chosen specifically for their sedentary lifestyles, this was exceptional. “Three RPM classes a week for eight weeks is a considerable investment of not only time, but also of physical and mental effort,” says Bryce Hastings, Les Mills Head of Research. “The 95 per cent compliance rate speaks volumes about the nature of the exercise and its positive effects.”

With Cardio Peak Training you have a manageable, long-term workout option that will drive results in the shape of increased cardio-vascular fitness and reduced excess body fat.

Unlike with its challenging cousin HIIT, there is no risk of overdoing it. In fact, you can do a Cardio Peak Training workout every day of the week. What’s more, with a variety of workout options to choose from there is little chance of getting bored.

BODY ATTACK, BODY STEP and RPM are all great examples of Cardio Peak Training.

Information taken from