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Cycling HIIT: Get fitter faster

7 Sep 2020

Watch our three minute video on maximising your indoor training sessions with high-intensity interval training. In association with Wattbike

Big on motivation, but pushed for time? High-intensity interval training (HIIT) aims to squeeze the most gains from a workout in the shortest possible time.

Yet HIIT isn’t just for time-crunched riders. There’s increasing evidence that short sharp efforts will create greater results than racking up traditional base miles.

Ideally suited to being ridden on a static trainer – such as a Wattbike, you’ll need to be prepared for a fairly punishing session. But given the benefits, HIIT is something many of us should be making time for, as Wattbike training consultant Dr David Nichols explains...

How HIIT works for cyclist 

‘HIIT involves repeated short and very hard efforts interspersed with periods of light pedalling or even complete rest,’ says Nichols.

‘By training well above the FTP (functional threshold power), HIIT stresses both the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. With each repeated bout we rely more on aerobic energy as we deplete anaerobic reserves.

‘HIIT can even have some benefit for longer rides,’ he adds. ‘But it’s not a silver bullet, and a combination of HIIT with low-intensity endurance rides will provide the best training stimulus for longer events.’


How to do the session

‘There are different types of HIIT sessions, but all of them are hard,’ says Nichols. ‘Whether it’s all-out maximal sprints of 5-10 seconds or longer 4-minute repeats, the recovery component is key to be able to consistently hit those higher power outputs during every interval.

’And the aim should always be to reach complete failure by the end of the final rep, such that you feel like you couldn’t do any more.’

Nichols recommends doing these sessions only when you feel fresh and doing them indoors so as not to compromise safety on the road.

• For information on how the Wattbike Atom can help you achieve your training goals, visit

To do this workout and many more, download the Wattbike Hub app, available free in the App Store and the Google Play Store.

Next, watch our three-minute video about the FTP test.