Eight HIIT workouts for faster rides

We take a look at eight sessions perfect for getting training benefits in a constrained time schedule

(Image credit: @CYCLINGIMAGES)

This article is part of a series on indoor cycling, supported by Wattbike

Getting the most out of your time on the bike is something that all of us want to achieve in our time stringent lives. A great way to do that is through HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions, which allows us to squeeze in a short, sharp session but can also produce massive training benefits.

One of the best ways to do this is on an indoor turbo trainer or a static bike like a Wattbike Atom for example, where you can ride at specific intervals and intensities to the exact second and power output. These smart trainers can also automatically adjust resistance based on the wattage of the intervals in your training session if it's set through a training platform like Zwift and Sufferfest, or proprietary apps like Wattbike's Hub. That means you just need to concentrate on your performance rather than constantly watching your power output, helping you nail each interval perfectly. Training indoors can also be ideal if you have set sessions that can be affected out on the open road by the irregularities of terrain, weather and traffic.

Here are eight of the best HIIT workouts for you to try on your turbo trainer or Wattbike at home.

HIIT Pyramid

Time taken: 23 minutes

This session focuses on gradually building up the interval intensity with a mixture of all-out zone five intervals followed by zone one recovery blocks, before coming back down again like a pyramid. This eight-minute interval can be repeated as many times as your time schedule or ability allows for.

Time (minutes)Zone
0-101-3
10:00-10:155
10:15-11:001
11:00-11:305
11:30-12:001
12:00-12:454-5
12:45-13:001
13:00-14:004-5
14:00-15:001
15:00-15:454-5
15:45-16:001
16:00-16:305
16:30-17:001
17:00-17:155
17:15-18:001
*Repeat block depending on ability or time restraints*
18:00-23:001-2

Micro intervals I

Time taken: 25 minutes

This micro interval session is all about short high-intensity efforts of 15 seconds apiece, followed by increasing the next batch of all-out efforts to 20 seconds for each zone five effort.

Time (minutes) Zone
0:00 - 5:001-3
5:00-5:151
5:15-6:305
6:30-6:451
6:45-8:155
8:15-8:301
8:30-9:455
9:45-10:001
10:00-12:005
12:00-12:201
12:20-14:005
14:00-14:201
14:20-16:001
16:00-16:205
16:20-18:001
18:00-18:205
18:20-20:001
20:00-25:001-3

Micro intervals II

Time taken: 26 minutes

This micro interval session is purely done on feel, rather than training zones or power outputs. Slowly building up each 40 second efforts with 20 seconds rest, be sure to stick to these timings and lengths so you fully achieve the 10/10 effort to culminate the session.

Time (minutes) Effort level
0:00-5:00Warm up
5:00-5:406/10
5:40-6:00Recover
6:00-6:406/10
6:40-7:00Recover
7:00-7:407/10
7:40-8:00Recover
8:00-8:407/10
8:40-9:00Recover
9:00-9:407/10
9:40-10:00Recover
10:00-10:407/10
10:40-11:00Recover
11:00-11:408/10
11:40-12:00Recover
12:00-12:408/10
12:40-13:00Recover
13:00-13:408/10
13:40-14:00Recover
14:00-14:408/10
14:40-15:00Recover
15:00-15:4010/10
15:40-16:00Recover
16:00-26:00Cool down

Pedal to perfection

Time taken: 40 minutes

The aim of this workout is to focus on manipulating your cadence and gearing around each effort, with each set slowly tweaking the cadence and subsequent efforts, interspersed with minute recoveries.

Time (minutes)CadenceZone
0-10901
10-12904
12-14954
14-15Self-selected2
15-171004
17-191054
19-20Self-selected2
20-221104
22-241154
24-25Self-selected2
25-271104
27-291054
29-30Self-selected2
30-321004
32-34954
34-40Cool down

5x5s

Time taken: 70 minutes

This workout, as its name suggests, includes five-minute maximal intervals, followed by five-minute recovery blocks repeated five times. Try not to overly focus on pacing as you won’t exert yourself hard enough for the five minute interval.

Time (minutes)Zone
0-101-3
10-15VO2 max power (110–120% of FTP)
15-201
20-25VO2 max power (110–120% of FTP)
25-301
30-35VO2 max power (110–120% of FTP)
35-401
40-45VO2 max power (110–120% of FTP)
45-501
50-55VO2 max power (110–120% of FTP)
55-601
60-65VO2 max power (110–120% of FTP)
65-701-3

Train for sprint success

Time taken: 30 minutes

Focus on unleashing a strong and consistent zone five effort here, if 30 seconds is too long to sustain, shorten each effort so you are sill able to complete all the repetitions.

Time (minutes) Zone
0-101-2
10-10:305
10:30-15:002-3
15:00-15:305
15:30-19:002-3
19:00-19:305
19:30-22:002-3
22:00-22:305
22:30-25:002-3
25:25-30:005
25:30-30:001-2

Hill climb replication

Time taken: 50 minutes

Most British climbs are short and sharp and this session is ideal for preparing for them with four-minute intervals replicating these type of climbs. Ensure you gradually build throughout each interval starting in a steady zone four effort before building and ending each four-minute interval in zone five.

Time (minutes)Zone
0-151-3
15-194-5
19-232
23-274-5
27-312
31-354-5
35-392
39-434-5
43-501-2

Cadence, Cadence, Cadence

Time taken: 35 minutes

As the name of this session subtly implies, the intensities are dictated by cadence. Increasing and reducing the intensity of the session through cadence helps improve your ability to maintain your pedalling form at different cadences. It’s important to stick to the structure of the session; even if it seems easier to ride at a higher cadence, you will be thankful you held something back for the end.

Time (Minutes)ZoneCadence
0-10752
10-121104
12-14803
14-151104
15-17803
17-181104
18-23802
23-241205
24-26903
26-271205
27-29903
29-35702

Cycling Weekly created this content as part of a paid partnership with Wattbike. The contents of this article are entirely independent and solely reflect the editorial opinion of Cycling Weekly.