Intense VO2 efforts with Hank: 30-minute indoor training session

High power efforts to push your VO2 threshold, led by James 'Hank' Lowsley-Williams

Clock07:00, Wednesday 31st January 2024

This session focuses on bursts of high-power efforts to push your VO2 threshold. This workout will help to increase your body's oxygen efficiency and overall cardio fitness. For cyclists looking to ride harder, for longer, sessions like this are perfect.

The session will have you pedalling at the upper end of your aerobic threshold, then bring you right up to a full gas sprint at the end. By ramping up the intensity, it'll test your muscular endurance and push your VO2 threshold up.

For this session, you will need a static bike of some kind, whether that's a dedicated indoor smart trainer, a spin bike, or your regular bike on an indoor trainer or turbo. It's also a good idea to keep a water bottle nearby, and a towel to mop up sweat. The whole session is based on perceived exertion between 1 and 10, so no need for any power meters or special equipment.

Read more: GCN's ultimate guide to indoor cycling

Warm up on your indoor trainer for five minutes

Warm up on your indoor trainer for five minutes

This session naturally ramps up, beginning with easier intervals and progressing into tough sprints. Even so, we need to warm up properly. To begin, pedal gently on your indoor bike, working up the intensities gradually by following Hank's lead. We'll warm up at 3/10, 4/10 then 6/10 before dropping down to 3/10 so we can recover ahead of the main session.

The main session: steadily increasing efforts to boost your VO2

The main session: steadily increasing efforts to boost your VO2

Now for the main session. It's a complicated one so keep an eye on the screen so you can stick with the pace. We'll be sliding up and down the intensity scale throughout, but as things progress, the efforts will get tougher and tougher, and the recovery periods will get easier. The session finishes with a 10/10 sprint. This is going to hurt, but give it your all for that final minute to get the full benefit from this session.

Cool down for at least a minute and a half on your indoor trainer

Cool down for at least a minute and a half on your indoor trainer

With the session over, the only thing left is to cool down. Stay seated on your bike and gently turn the legs, as easy as you like. By spinning your legs, you'll give yourself a chance to get your breath back and kickstart the recovery process. At least a minute and a half is essential, but longer is better, so if you have the time, keep spinning for a few minutes more.

Top Tip

End a tough session like this with a recovery meal or drink to allow your body to make the most of all that hard work.

Related Content

Link to How to prevent numb hands when cycling
YouTube video Izc-t0axYzI

How to prevent numb hands when cycling

If you’ve ever felt your hands go numb while riding your bike, follow these simple tips to prevent it from happening

Clock
Link to Quick but brutal 15-minute HIIT indoor cycling workout
YouTube video MM6TnN5qvvE

Quick but brutal 15-minute HIIT indoor cycling workout

A short, tough sprint session that is easy to squeeze in for time-strapped cyclists

Clock
Link to Sweet spot endurance training: 30-minute indoor cycling workout
YouTube video V-HmspieYjE

Sweet spot endurance training: 30-minute indoor cycling workout

Manon Lloyd leads the way in this half-hour HIIT workout, designed to work the sweet spot training zone with some sprint intervals included at the end

Clock
Link to Indoor training 20-min recovery ride with Hank
YouTube video wjAYieMdQbQ

Indoor training 20-min recovery ride with Hank

This easier session is a great way to ease into training, or recover from a hard session. Follow Hank's lead for a progressive recovery ride

Clock
Subscribe to the GCN Newsletter

Get the latest, most entertaining and best informed news, reviews, challenges, insights, analysis, competitions and offers - straight to your inbox