The only four cycling workouts you really need – Bike Magazine Australia

Photograph by javi_indy

Named after exercise scientist Izumi Tabata, these all-out efforts train your body to recruit maximum muscle fibres and to fire them faster as well as raise your lactate threshold, which makes even your hardest rides feel easier. They also help you hang onto your precious fitness when time is tight and you can’t squeeze in longer days in the saddle.

Because they’re super short, it’s also easy to psyche yourself up for them (one set takes just four minutes, which includes the rest intervals). Adding them to your usual training can help you see improvements fast. In a study published in the Journal of Sport Science & Medicine, exercisers who added just one high-intensity interval session, like tabatas, to their usual moderate cardio-training routine improved their VO2 max by 10 per cent compared to a 3.9 per cent improvement among their peers doing a similar amount of moderate training alone.

Do it: Perform once a week

• Warm up for five to 10 minutes. • Pedal as hard as possible (you’re going for maximum power output) for 20 seconds. • Soft pedal for 10 seconds. • Repeat six to eight times.

• Rest four to five minutes.

If you are accustomed to interval training, repeat for another set – or two, if you’re feeling game. If you’re new to intervals, stick to one set.

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