5 Of The Best Cycling Workouts That Boost Your Power and Endurance

Intervals. The very word triggers groans of dread from even the most training-obsessed cyclists. But these short, misery-inducing cycling workouts offer a huge fitness return for a comparatively small time investment. Even 20- to 30-second micro-intervals have been shown to increase V02 max, burn fat, and improve endurance. And they work fast. “Just two weeks of interval training can enhance your performance,” says Paul Laursen, Ph.D., an endurance coach and sport scientist.

You’ve probably already heard of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short. While some of the cycling workouts below can be considered HIIT (the Tabata-inspired one especially), interval workouts can also be built around moderate periods of intensity. The bonus—regardless of which one you go with, a recent study has shown that interval workouts can actually burn fat up to 28.5 percent more than moderate, steady-state exercise.

Here, we collected five cycling workouts that all improve your speed and power on the bike. Choose one of the following interval cycling workouts and add it to a ride no more than twice a week. For each, warm up with easy pedaling for 10 to 15 minutes and cool down as needed after. Stick with it for (at least) four weeks, and you’ll be dropping your friends by next month.

1. FLYING 40S FOR MUSCULAR ENDURANCE

  • Warm Up: 15 Minutes
  • Pedal Hard: 40 Seconds
  • Recover: 20 Seconds
  • Pedal Easy:
  • Pedal Hard: 40 Seconds
  • Recover: 20 Seconds
  • Cool Down: 10 Minutes

Build power and train your body to recover quickly between efforts for events that demand repeated surges. In a medium to large gear, push hard for 40 seconds, then recover for 20 seconds. Repeat 10 times. That’s one set. Do up to 4, resting 5 minutes between sets.

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