3 indoor cycling HIIT routines

Progress more quickly with short bursts of intense efforts.

Intervals are the bedrock of many pro cyclists’ training plans. “If you just ride at a steady tempo, it’ll probably crack you mentally,” says Geraint Thomas, a pro cyclist who has won three World Championships, two Olympic gold medals, and one Tour de France. “Anything that brings variety to the session is good for the head and the body.”

High-intensity intervals do just that. To incorporate them into your routine, try the three rides below. First, complete a 20-minute time trial on a stationary bike. Subtract 10 percent from your average wattage to calculate your baseline number, or functional threshold power (FTP). For example, if your average is 200 watts, then your FTP is 180. You’ll need your FTP for the intervals below.

Warm up with 10 minutes of easy riding sprinkled with a few 1-minute sprints, then try one of the intervals below. Cool down with 10 minutes of easy effort and stretching.

20-Minute Hard Tempo Efforts
20 minutes at 85 to 95% of your FTP
20 minutes recovery
20 minutes at 85 to 95% of your FTP

2-Minute All-Out Intervals
8 sets of 2 minutes at 100% of your FTP with 1-minute recovery
5 minutes easy recovery
8 sets of 2 minutes at 100% of your FTP with 1-minute recovery

Descending Ladder Intervals
Do this set twice:
4 minutes at 100% of your FTP
1 minute of recovery
3 minutes at 110% of your FTP
2 minutes of recovery
2 minutes at 120% of your FTP
3 minutes of recovery
1 minute at 130 to 140% of your FTP
4 minutes of recovery