How to Program Map 10 Aerobic Workouts

What are Map 10 Aerobic Workouts?

Map 10, which stands for Maximal Aerobic Power, simply means that work at this pace is very easy. As you move from MAP 10 to MAP 1, the pace increases as and the time of each interval drops in length.

Why do we love MAP 10 specifically?

It’s great for recovery!

MAP 10 Can Help You Recover from Soreness

A time tested and proven method that’s especially relevant to functional fitness athletes is mixing intense training with slow recovery sessions throughout the week. This style of training is often referred to as “High Low Method.”

OPEX Fitness calls the slow recovery style of aerobic work “MAP 10”. This is taught in the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) because coaches must be able to prescribe a wide variety of training paces, dependent on their client’s needs. When programming different paces, coaches are also tapping into different energy systems. There are three main energy systems refer that we refer to as OPEX Gain, Pain, and Sustain:

(Coach’s Resource: Learn more about how to train specific energy systems in this free guide.)

  • Gain – this is scientifically referred to as the Anaerobic Alactic System. This system refers to very short, 1-20 seconds, bursts of energy at very high power, or “turnover.” Gain refers to you not being able to sustain your power output past that length of time because your muscles cannot continue to turn over fast enough
  • Pain – this is scientifically referred to as the Anaerobic Lactic System. This system refers to a longer interval time, 20 to 720 seconds, at higher power, or turnover. While the range is much longer, you’ll notice the word “Anaerobic” still remains in the name. That means that it isn’t aerobic which means that it isn’t sustainable. If you hold that higher power for those time periods, you will now “feel the burn” and you will recognize that you cannot hold that pace forever
  • Sustain – this is scientifically referred to as the aerobic system. This system refers to efforts that are sustainable. As you move from MAP 1 to MAP 10, your time frame gets even longer, and your power output goes down even more.

MAP 10 pace is on the far end requiring the most amount of time at the slowest pace with the least amount of power, therefore, falling under the Sustain “curve.” Whereas Gain begins with slow and low volume efforts in the beginning followed by a progression of faster, more voluminous efforts later. MAP 10 efforts should begin with longer efforts at a slower pace in the beginning (for most people). The reason MAP 10 needs to start with such long efforts is that you need to keep the pace easy. Very easy effort mixed with smaller amounts of eccentric muscle contractions is often interpreted as recovery by your body.

How to Program MAP 10 Aerobic Workouts

When programming MAP 10 you often want to begin with more aerobic – long easier efforts – work before you implement Gain work into your client/athlete’s fitness program because it builds your ability to do more work – volume – in your training.

To benefit greatly from MAP 10 – and easy aerobic work – make sure you minimize the eccentric load on your client. In the video, you will notice that Solange is doing carries (overhead, suitcase, etc…), Flywheel biking, versa climbing, Front Leaning Rest – FLR (plank) on the rings – etc…The lack of eccentric work allows her body to get better recovery than she would if she was pounding her body day in and day out in her “aerobic” work.

To pick great MAP 10 workouts, you want to pick easy, non-eccentric work and “go easy.” You don’t need to overthink this. You just need to move blood, find relaxation and rhythm, and be consistent in “going long.” People get scared of doing a 60-minute workout because they are going long and hard. MAP 10 is long and easy! To progress in this, you will add volume, but you would still get the pace nice and easy.

Programming MAP 10 Aerobic Workouts For Athletes

High-level athletes may have five morning sessions of 60-90 minutes of MAP 10 work + two “off” days of three sessions/day of 60-90 min of easy aerobic pieces. It will be all different styles of movement but do the math of that volume. They may have 8-12 hours of easy aerobic work each week on top of 3-4 hours per week of intense work.

When you are doing your easy aerobic work, don’t be afraid to go at conversational pace or listen to a podcast or read a book if you are on a machine that allows you to do that. We don’t recommend Deadmau5 for easy aerobic work unless you want to “wake up” 20 min into a row at 180 beats per minute heart rate. Also, don’t be afraid to just walk (in the sun if possible)

Next Steps

MAP 10 is just tapping into one of the bodies three energy systems. If you are looking to become a professional coach and develop your programming ability download our free guide Energy System Training, today.

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  1. John, in many ways they are close to the same. they differ in that MAP 10 is classified for our teaching of the aerobic work of intervals lasting 60-90 min in length at a pace that can be maintained for 3-5 hours.
    the aforementioned Z1 was used to describe the similar “pace” but the Z1 was taken from an incremental testing situation in a lab, where the % was given after the max was taken.
    now, the issue there and why the change was that the % given ONLY applies to the modality tested.
    i.e. like i have tested numerous times, maxes of HR in the pool, on the versa climber, rower, running, ski erg, etc…are all varied, therefore a ONE TIME max makes no sense to use in sub maximal HR work in mixed training. – for example someone scores a 188 max on the run max HR test but scores 169 max on the swim max HR test – in training what number should they use, and what is the max – this is where the benefits of science and at the artistry of the coach must be applied.
    so MAP 10 is a way for OPEX coaches to understand the easy aerobic effort in a way that is structured, can be progressed and that works.
    thx for asking

  2. This awesome, I love it. Going through the CCP program right now and just finished up Energy Systems in the Program Design Course recently. I read this article by Mike Robertson “You need long duration, low intensity cardio” a while back, and it put aerobic capacity training in a completely different light for me. Maybe you’ve read it, but I just thought I would share, I really enjoyed it.

  3. the concept of MAP 10 training and the idea that you do not have to give 100% effort in the gym every single time to continue to improve has completely saved my fitness life. It does an incredible job of preventing a burnout. Thank you tons for this article and video!

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