Wednesday’s Workout – Interval Training On The Bike


It’s a rainy morning and I don’t have the motivation to venture outdoors for my Wednesday Morning Hill Workout.  Don’t worry though, the weather is supposed to clear and I will be out there soon enough.  For those who prefer an indoor workout due to weather restrictions, Indoor Trainer Intervals are something to consider.  Cycling is one of those sports where you can push yourself really hard multiple times a week and still recover.  Unlike running, which can be really hard on the body, cycling tends to be non-impact and as a result you recover faster.

I prefer to take my cycling outdoors, but depending on your schedule and area you live in, this may not always be convenient.  Cycling at the gym and/or purchasing an indoor trainer will give you options beyond cycling outside.  In the Fall and Winter and on rainy days like today, having a good indoor trainer is almost a requirement when the weather turns nasty and you still want to get a workout in.


Some good indoor trainer options are from companies like

Here are some fantastic Cycling Interval Workouts to boost your speed, power and endurance.

Interval Training On The Bike

Let’s face it, intervals hurt.  Some intervals hurt more than others.  You can do long grueling intervals or short duration intervals.  Intervals have the positive effect of increasing V02 max, burning lots of fat and improve overall endurance.

Flying 40’s (Helps Boost Muscular Endurance)

This workout will have you pushing a BIG GEAR.  I like to call this “mashing the gear” or “gear mashing”. 

Warmup – 15 to 20 minutes
Main Set – Switch gears to the big chain ring and use one of your smaller cog rings. (it should be difficult, but not overly so).   You will be alternating between mashing the big gear for 40 seconds, with a 20 second recovery or spin times 10 per set.  You’re goal is to try and do this for 4 sets or 40 minutes with a 5 minute recovery between each set.
Cool Down – Cool down for 15 – 20 minutes
Note: if you’re able to spin more than 70-75 RPMs during the mashing phase, you’re probably in to easy of a gear and should switch to a harder one.

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Tabata Intervals (Helps Boost Your Pain Threshold and Power Output)

Tabata Intervals were derived from the Japanese exercise scientist Izumi Tabata’s.  These are extremely short bursts of intense effort followed by a short recovery period.  The duration is only 4 minutes, but since these are maximal efforts, 4 minutes might seem like a very long time.
Warmup – 15 to 20 minutes
Main Set – Switch gears to a gear that you are comfortable sprinting in.  Sprint as quickly as possible for 20 seconds, and then coast for 10 seconds. Your goal is to do 6 to 8 intervals.
Cool Down – Cool down for 15 – 20 minutes
Note: You don’t want to be in too hard of a gear because you will not be able to spin as fast as you need to be to do a sprint.  Your RPMs during the sprinting section should be above 110 RPMs.

Spin Intervals (Helps Boost Spin Efficiency)

While the Flying 40’s was about mashing the gears, Spin Intervals is about increasing your cadence to 90 to 110 RPM.
Warmup – 15 to 20 minutes
Main Set – Spin for 10 seconds and try to maintain a constant 90 to 110 RPM rhythm followed by 20 seconds of recovery.  Repeat for 10 – 15 minutes..  Recover for 5 minutes.  Your goal is to do 2 10-15 minute intervals.
Cool Down – Cool down for 15 – 20 minutes

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about running, cycling and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of,,, and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day. Location: Austin, TX USA

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