Over/under threshold intervals: 35-minute HIIT indoor cycling workout

Join Manon Lloyd for this tough over/under threshold workout which replicates race efforts and improves endurance

ClockUpdated 08:58, Saturday 11th May 2024. Published 11:30, Tuesday 19th September 2023

GCN’s Manon Lloyd is back in the pain cave for a tough 35-minute over/under threshold cycling session for anyone who wants to replicate race efforts and improve their endurance.

Each interval consists of 90 seconds at a 9/10 effort before a further 90 seconds of recovery at 7/10. The intensity levels are based on perceived effort.

What is threshold (FTP)?

Threshold, commonly referred to as FTP (functional threshold power), is the maximum power a cyclist can sustain for an extended period of time, usually one hour. It’s considered to be one of the best benchmarks of cycling fitness and is needed to estimate training zones.

The threshold training zone is around 95% to 105% of a rider’s FTP and many cycling workouts target this zone, like this HIIT over/under threshold session.

Read more: 20-minute, one hour or ramp test: Which FTP test is best?

The benefits of over/under threshold intervals

While riding close to or above FTP, the body generates lactate. At a certain point, known as the lactate threshold, lactate is produced quicker than it can be removed.

Training in and around threshold increases a rider’s lactate threshold, improving the body’s ability to remove the lactate, meaning you can ride at a higher intensity for longer.

Training at this intensity also helps to improve your aerobic capacity, improving endurance.

Read more: Is measuring lactate the key to cycling success?

Indoor cycling workout details

  • GCN instructor: Manon Lloyd
  • Indoor workout duration: 35 minutes
  • Indoor training type: Over/under threshold intervals
  • Fitness difficulty: A hard HIIT cycling workout leading to be big fitness gains
  • Benefits of this indoor cycling workout: Improves ability to ride at higher intensities and aerobic capacity

Explore GCN’s best indoor cycling workouts

Warm up on your indoor trainer for six minutes

Warm up on your indoor trainer

It’s important to warm up before any indoor session, especially for a high-intensity effort like this. For this session there is a six-minute warm-up, starting with one minute at 3/10, then two minutes at 4/10, a further one minute at 6/10, before finishing with two minutes at 4/10.

Top Tip

Take the final two minutes of the warm-up to mentally prepare and find the right gearing as you’re about to jump straight into a high-intensity effort.

Three-minute intervals at threshold

Main interval session: Three-minute blocks at threshold

With the warm-up completed, it’s time to jump straight into the threshold intervals. Each of the three-minute blocks is the same, starting with 90 seconds at 9/10, followed by 90 seconds at 7/10. Complete four sets, then take two minutes of recovery riding at 3/10. Then finish the main session with four more sets.

Cool down on your indoor trainer for three minutes

Cool down on your indoor trainer for three minutes

Your legs will be burning after the session, so it’s time to cool down and try to remove some of the lactate that has built up. This cool-down should be easy at around 3/10 for at least three minutes, but you can ride for longer if you have the time.

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