A 4-minute exercise programme for everyone

Dr Paul Clayton 2011

The Peak 8 regime is so-called because it involves 8 bouts of high-intensity exercise which raise heart rate to peak anaerobic threshold for just 30 seconds. You don’t need gym equipment as you can easily perform this by walking or running on flat ground and the pattern is:

1. Warm up for three minutes.
2. Exercise as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. (You should feel like you couldn’t possibly go on even another few seconds.)
3. Recover for 90 seconds.
4. Repeat the high intensity exercise and recovery combination 7 more times.

You know you’re doing it right when you’re exerting yourself to the point of typically gasping for breath, after a short burst of activity.

Whatever activity you choose, by the end of each 30-second period you will want to reach these ‘markers’:

a. It will be relatively hard to breathe and talk because you are in oxygen deficit.
b. You will start to sweat profusely. Typically this occurs in the second or third repetition.
c. Your body temperature will rise.
d. Lactic acid increases and you will feel a muscle ‘burn’.
e. As with any exercise, drink plenty of water in the recovery periods.

The entire routine lasts no more than 20 minutes; and appears to be highly effective in triggering growth hormone release which helps weight loss. (Godfrey et al ’03).


Godfrey RJ, Madgwick Z, Whyte GP. The exercise-induced growth hormone response in athletes. Sports Med. 2003;33(8):599-613.