According to a new study, three sessions of sprint interval training—an extreme form of high intensity interval training—are as effective as longer endurance exercise. (Click here to read up on all the details.)
Here, Rachel Buschert Vaziralli, Schwinn Master Trainer, and New York City-based group fitness instructor and trainer shares a killer interval workout so you can bike your way to a fitter, healthier body, stat.
The speed One of the many ways to approach intervals: Maintain the same speed but change the resistance to amp up the intensity. Turn up the resistance for the push, and turn it down for the recovery period. Keep your cadence (pedal speed) at around 90 RPM (revolutions per minute) throughout this workout.
Quick tip: Don’t be afraid to back off. “The goal is high intensity, so if you ever feel like you need more time to recover, then you need to take it and skip an interval, and join back in when you are ready to go full throttle again,” says Buschert Vaziralli.
The playlist In case you don’t know how to measure RPMs, Buschert Vaziralli suggests using music to maintain your speed. How to do it: Play songs that have 180 BPM (beats per minute) and pedal to the beat. This’ll keep you on your 90 RPM target. A few of Buschert Vaziralli’s favorite tunes to try:
“Lose Yourself” by Eminem “Gold Guns Girls” by Metric “Diamonds” by Rihanna “Back in Black” by AC/DC “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett
The warm up Maintaining 90 RPM, pedal with an easy resistance for 2 minutes, then with a moderate resistance for another 2 minutes, and then with a hard resistance for 2 minutes. Then turn up the resistance as much as you can handle (without losing speed) for 30 seconds. Recover for 1-3 minutes.
Interval Set 1: 30 on 90 off 30 on 90 off 30 on 90 off 30 on 2-5 minutes recovery
Interval Set 2: 30 on 90 off 30 on 90 off 30 on 90 off 30 on 2-5 minutes recovery
Interval Set 3 (Note: This set is optional. Beginners should work up to this third set.) 30 on 90 off 30 on 90 off 30 on 90 off 30 on 2-5 minutes cool down/stretch
Make it harder If you’re more of an intermediate or advanced rider, use the same workout above, but tweak the work-to-rest ratio to suit your fitness level. For intermediate riders, Buschert Vaziralli recommends completing 30 second pushes followed by 60 seconds of recovery, and for advanced riders, completing 30 second pushes followed by 30 seconds of recovery. Complete the intervals 4 times, and then spend 2-5 full minutes recovering. Repeat the entire set once or twice.