Running-based workouts sometimes get a bad rap. It's true that trotting on the spot while half-listening to Spotify and half-watching the gym's TV screen isn't exactly inspiring. But there are far more creative ways to work a little running into your routine – even for the treadmill averse.
The Assault Runner, for those who aren't familiar, is a user-powered treadmill, created by the same sadists who made the love-to-hate-it Assault Bike. It's unmotorised with a curved belt, meaning the harder you run, the faster the belt moves, while its sloping shape allows you to control your speed with ease.
This makes it a far closer match to the experience of real-world running, encouraging you to land on the ball of your foot, rather than the heel, and developing a more efficient running technique.
It also activates more muscle in your hamstrings than a regular treadmill (you'll feel that tomorrow...) and, according to a study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, it works your heart and lungs harder, increasing your overall energy output.
Now for the fiddly bit... how does all of this translate to a workout you'll actually want to do?
That's where the team at training app Fiit – including Men's Health SQUAD coach Gus Vaz Tostes – comes in. Fiit offers three interactive Assault Runner workout concepts: sprint, metcon and endure. App users can connect to their gym's Assault Runner (there are workout options for the Assault Bike, too) and synch up their data to get a truer picture of their speed, heart rate and calorie output.
The three-part workout below is an example of the "endurance" style, designed to dial up your heart rate for a prolonged period and improve overall fitness (not to mention mental grit). Grab a set of dumbbells and move between floor and Runner for a lower-body and core session with serious strength and cardio benefits.
If you have the Fiit app, you can follow along with SQUAD coach Gus, or just go it alone. This session also works with a regular treadmill, if your gym doesn’t have an Assault Runner. It’s just, yunno... not as cool.
Dedicate 5 minutes to a dynamic warm-up – hamstring stretches, high knees, leg swings plus a gentle jog on the Runner – then get stuck in. The workout below blends lifting with running and is designed for endurance. It'll help you build a serious engine while burning 400-450 calories in 40 minutes. Get ready to sweat.
Tread and Shred with Gus Vaz Tostes
Block 1: Lower-Body Blast
Start by grabbing a dumbbell and get straight at it. Do 3 rounds of 30 seconds' work with 15 seconds' rest. After your last round in this block, rest 60 seconds.
Dumbbell Curtsey Lunge
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Dumbbell Cossack Squat
Block 2: Quads and Core
Follow the same format as before: 3 rounds of 30 seconds' work with 15 seconds' rest after each exercise. When you've done the last round, take a 60-second breather.
Dumbbell Front Squat
Reverse Nordic Curl
Block 3: Run Like You Mean It
Legs suitably, ahem, "warmed up", finish your session with a 20-minute effort on the treadmill. Work through the 4 rounds below with 90 seconds' walking between each round. Leave it all on the gym floor.
60% pace: 2 minutes 30 seconds
70% pace: 2 minutes 30 seconds
60% pace: 2 minutes
70% pace: 2 minutes
60% pace: 1 minutes 30 seconds
70% pace: 1 minutes 30 seconds
60% pace: 1 minutes
70% pace: 1 minutes
All done? Cool down, then wrap up.
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