cycling, 20 minute, twenty minute, workout, spin, spinning

20-Minute Workout: Indoor Cycling Ladder

Boost your burn and your performance with this creative routine from Rachel Buschert Vaziralli.

While you can carve a tantalizingly toned body in less than a half hour, we’re here to tell you what you likely already know: To reap the rewards—increased calorie burn, strength, power, blissful endorphin high—truncated workouts must be insanely intense. So, we asked a team of Equinox trainers and group fitness instructors what they would do if they were given just 20 minutes to have at it. Here is the latest in the series

The Pro: Rachel Buschert Vaziralli, Cycling Master Trainer for Equinox NYC, M.S. in Exercise Science and Cardiac Rehabilitation, Certified Trainer (ACE, NASM and AFAA), Schwinn Master Trainer and Presenter

The Club: All NYC-based locations

The Workout: This interval-based ladder workout includes three 8-minute rounds in which you incrementally decrease your intensity as you increase the duration of each interval (with a 30-second recovery between each) until you reach the longest one (60 seconds), and then do the reverse on the way back down (like climbing up and down a ladder). “Doing shorter bouts of high-intensity work like this will allow you to go harder/faster, increase your cardio capacity, burn more calories both during and after exercise and help keep you motivated,” says Vaziralli. The key is making sure you try to lower your heart rate back down to normal during each recovery interval (RI). For best results, perform this routine three times a week, on non-consecutive days.

WARM-UP

Pedal for a few minutes, adjusting your resistance until you establish a good baseline wattage at which you feel challenged, but could actively recover in between hard/very hard efforts (about 65 to 75 RPMs standing).

ROUND 1

For this set, your resistance will stay the same throughout, but you’ll increase intensity using RPMs. At the start of each interval, sit down and accelerate your speed by 5 to 15 RPMs, upping wattage to a hard/very hard intensity. Stand up and recover for 30 seconds. On the last 30-second interval, you should go all-out.

ROUND 2

For this set, your timing and intensity do not change, but your approach does. First establish your baseline wattage in the saddle at 65 to 75 RPMs. Then at the start of each interval, stand up and accelerate your speed by 5 to 15 RPMs, upping wattage to a hard/very hard intensity. Sit to actively recover for each 30-second RI. On the last 30-second interval, you should go all-out. 

Recover for 3 to 5 minutes at 80 to 100 RPMs (easy effort)

ROUND 3

For this set, your timing does not change, but your intensity and cadence do. Perform each interval in the saddle, at 85 to 100 RPMs, increasing resistance as needed after each RI. On the last 30-second interval, you should go all-out.

Recover for 3 to 5 minutes at 80 to 100 RPMs (easy effort)