Training for the Working Cyclist
Great workouts in under 2 hours.
In 1996 Izumi Tabata came up with a new version of the highly popularized HIIT (High-Intensity Intermittent Training). These very short, highly intense intervals were originally designed to improve anaerobic fitness, glucose metabolism, and increased fat burning. What people didn’t realize is that these type of workouts also produced a great increase in aerobic capacity and VO2, as well as anaerobic capacity.
Tabata compared the two different training modalities: one based on 6 weeks of moderate intensity endurance based training (70% VO2max), the other based on 6 weeks of 7 to 8 reps/day of an intense four-minute interval routine. As expected, the high intensity intervals yielded an increase in the anaerobic capacity of the subjects. Unexpected however, the high intensity intervals yielded a greater increase in VO2max (+/-5 ml.kg v. +/-7ml.kg) than the moderate intensity intervals. So, in essence, Tabata intervals can help increase both aerobic and anaerobic capacity.
Tabata intervals are very simple. They don’t require a power meter or HR monitor as they are based on a full-out effort. Start with a 20-30min light spin before beginning the intervals, then be prepared to hurt.
20 seconds all out
10 seconds rest
Repeat 8x for a total of 4min.
How Many and How Much Rest?
Between each interval, you should allow yourself a full recovery. What does this mean? You should roll around lightly until you feel like you are able to have conversation with someone next to you on the bike without breathing hard. Although Tabata had his subjects start with 7 to 8 reps/ride, you should start off with 3 to 4 and increase by 1x/week. Fair warning: Although these interval sets have shown to increase anaerobic and aerobic capacity, they are also very hard on the body and can be a source of overtraining and injury if done excessively, so take caution.
Adam Switters is a former professional cyclist and currently races for Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase. He is a USA Cycling Certified Coach is the owner of Switters Coaching. You can check him out at his website http://www.SwittersCoaching.com/. Feel free to comment if you have any ideas for workout or questions.