HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and is a way for time-poor cyclists to get the most bang for their training buck.
Make no mistake though: these sessions aren’t easy, nothing worthwhile ever is… right? They hurt (repeatedly) and are only interspersed by periods of time trying to suck more air into the lungs!
It is perfectly possible to undertake this type of session alone: there are many options built into the fantastic Zwift training modules but, as I have said before, #sharethatpain – undertaking this type of session as part of a group will drive you further than you ever previously thought possible.
HIIT sessions use short periods of high intensity, anaerobic exercise followed by shortish periods of recovery. The length of a high intensity interval can range between 10 seconds and eight minutes. HIIT offers both aerobic and metabolic benefits, bringing about similar physiological adaptations to a more traditional endurance-based training program but without the necessary time commitment.
The key with HIIT is that the periods of intensity need to be above Functional Threshold Power whereas the periods of recovery should be around 50 – 60 per cent of FTP power (Team WBR Leaders always work hard to slow the herd and regroup between intervals). HIIT stimulates muscle and lung capacity. With real focus one hour of HIIT could produce a similar training effect as a two hour sweet-spot session. Interestingly for those monitoring their sessions via Training Peaks you will notice that the TSS may well be very similar however the former will have a significantly higher IF.
The inclusion of a HIIT training session in a weekly program is something that all riders should aim to do. Team WBR have many such sessions incorporating a range of exercises and intensities to suit riders of many different capabilities. Here are specific weekly WBR rides which include HIIT training:
- Buffalo Stampede
- Buffalo Herd
- Banter Bus
- Family Feud
- 1 Flat Lap Race