Indoor Workouts To Supercharge Your Ride

Four HIIT indoor workouts that will ramp up speed, pile on strength and build up endurance! By Mark Carroll

DCIM100GOPRO

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) consists of short but tough training sessions that boost speed, strength, endurance and speed endurance. The most effective way to maximise the effects of HIIT is on an indoor trainer – where you can fully focus on the interval without scenery and terrain distracting you. Here are five indoor workouts I use at Cadence Cycling Performance Centres to help my clients their fitness over. Do three of these sessions a week.

NB! I’m using Gunnar Borg’s Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE – see below) to illustrate effort level, from 1 (very light activity) to 10 (max effort).

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Warm Up

  • 5 min easy pedalling
  • 4 min RPE 2-3
  • 1 min RPE 4-6
  • 1 min RPE 6-7
  • 1 min RPE 7-8
  • 20 secs RPE 9
  • 2 min RPE 2-3
  • 6 secs sprint RPE 10
  • 1 min recovery

Now, start your interval session…

<subhead>Session 1

<bold>Training Oxygen Delivery

This is a pyramid workout that steadily increases demand for oxygen delivery, without excessive stress on the legs over the five-minute interval. Your legs will feel a burn, but it’ll be your breathing where much of the load will be felt in the last minute. Expect your heart rate to rise into the 90%+ space by then too. The recovery of one minute should be a complete stop.

The more oxygen you can deliver to the legs, and the better it can be used for aerobic energy metabolism, the faster and longer you will be able to ride.

  • 1 min RPE 1 at 80+ RPM
  • 1 min RPE 2-3 at 80+ RPM
  • 1 min RPE 4-6 at 80+ RPM
  • 1 min RPE 7-8 at 80+ RPM
  • 1 min RPE 9 at 80+ RPM
  • 1 min recovery at a complete stop

Repeat this interval 7 times, then cool down for 10 min at an easy pedal.

Session 2

Training Oxygen Utilisation

This could be viewed as having an opposite focus to Session 1. The mitochondria in the leg muscles get to work fairly hard here, but have plenty of oxygen to breathe because of the frequent and complete breaks – note that ‘stop’ means exactly that: stop and relax.

  • 40 secs RPE 9 at 90+ RPM
  • 20 secs recovery at a complete stop

Do this 5 times, then move on to the next set.

  • 30 secs at RPE 9-10
  • 30 secs recovery at a complete stop

Do this 5 times, then recover for 1 min at a complete stop.

Repeat this entire session 3 to 4 times, then cool down for 10 min at an easy pedal.

Session 3

Build Respiratory Muscle Fatigue Resistance

Like any muscles, the respiratory muscles get fatigued when worked hard; and there’s a sound hypothesis that when this happens, the body initiates an auto-response called a respiratory metaboreflex, to save more vital functions by routing some blood away from the legs that are screaming for more. This is a contributing factor to muscle fatigue. Here’s a good workout that loads everything – including the respiratory muscles – to help improve fatigue resistance.

  • 45 secs RPE 9 at 90+ RPM
  • 1 min RPE 2-3 at 90+ RPM
  • 1 min RPE 4-6 at 80+ RPM
  • 1 min RPE 9 at 90+ RPM
  • 1 min RPE 2-3 at 80+ RPM
  • 1 min RPE 4-6 at 80+ RPM

Repeat this 3 times in total – but on the final set, skip the last 2 segments (RPE 2-3 and 4-6). Then add these steps instead:

  • 2 min recovery at a stop
  • 1 min RPE 2-3 at 80 RPM

Repeat this procedure once or twice, then cool down for 10 min at an easy pedal.

Session 4

High-Force Intervals

Low-cadence drills will not help with hill climbing – improving your power-to-weight ratio will. But low cadence drills will help leg-muscle fatigue resistance, which translates to better endurance and speed endurance when the leg muscles are under a sustained load for a long period. This exercise should not cause more than mild knee pain – if it does, try a slightly higher cadence.

  • 1 min RPE 4-6, from 50 RPM
  • 5 min RPE 7-8, from 50 RPM
  • 1 min recovery at a complete stop

Repeat this sequence 6 to 8 times, then cool down for 10 min at an easy pedal.

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