HIIT – Painful Fad or Incredible Training Trump Card?


How much do you know about HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and how it can benefit your cycling?  Well, we’ve got Shane (the bike expert) in today with all the details.

HIIT – Painful fad or incredible training trump card?

Speed is an elusive quality for racers; we’re all in search of it and we all want to find it, but it’s sometimes tricky to achieve! Conventional training includes vast volumes and base miles, these can really sap the speed out of your legs! It can be tough to cram all these miles in with family commitments, work deadlines and seeing friends – enter High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT.

HIIT can take a number of forms, from brief 5-10 second sprints, to 2-3minute high intensity efforts (Laursen et al. 2005). These efforts build well on your existing aerobic base, boosting your top end speed and performance – think last minute breakaways, fighting for position in changing wind direction and the last lap of a crit race!

Many studies have looked into the impacts of high intensity training on untrained participants, but more recent work has looked into the effects on already well trained cyclists (Laursen and Jenkins, 2003).

The studies have produced conclusive proof that HIIT increases VO2 max and therefore performance gains (Laursen et al. 2005; Laursen and Jenkins, 2003; Creer et al. 2004). The great thing about HIIT training is that it can fit easily into your day. A 35 minute or 45 minute turbo session is all you need to fit in your HIIT workouts, I even managed to fit one in while my dinner was cooking last week!

Due to the short duration of the sessions, HIIT doesn’t increase your training load excessively, and hence provides maximal gains for minimal extra time – think SMART training, not just excessive training! Be careful to throw in some recovery time though, these sessions will hit you hard!

The benefits go way beyond simple VO2 improvements – studies have found that improvements in neuromuscular activation, and hence reactions, were also significant and therefore led to improved repeated spring work performance (Creer et al. 2004). HIIT should boost your metabolic rate, you’ll burn through more calories throughout the day or night after a session and this should help you manage your weight down to boost Watts-Kg!

It’s great to see a new training method really taking hold and having some fantastic results! There are plenty of great sessions available on the net, from Youtube to specific sites! A personal favourite of mine comes courtesy of CycleCore training, found here.

Happy Suffering, Happy Winning!

Enjoy Your Ride
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2 Responses to “ HIIT – Painful Fad or Incredible Training Trump Card? ”

  1. Riaan Coetzee on May 14, 2013 at 2:44 am

    Sufferfest for the win 🙂

  2. S Mathews on May 11, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Is there any difference between this and regular interval training on a bicycle?

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