The full pyramid: 30-minute HIIT indoor cycling workout from GCN

A 30-minute HIIT workout for developing anaerobic fitness, led by Manon Lloyd

ClockUpdated 13:29, Wednesday 15th May 2024. Published 09:42, Wednesday 30th August 2023

GCN's Manon Lloyd leads this 30-minute HIIT session. Starting with a warm-up, this session will gradually work up to a flat-out, high-intensity effort, and then gradually work back down again. If you’re looking for a tough, fat-burning workout, this one is a good place to start.

To keep things as simple as possible, the workout is based on perceived effort rather than training zones, although you can use these if you know them.

All you’ll need for the workout is a turbo trainer or exercise bike, plus the essential indoor cycling accessories, like a fan.

From sweet spot endurance training to HIIT sessions, explore GCN’s best indoor cycling workouts

The benefits of high-intensity pyramid training

This session will test your top-end power when you’re already tired, which will force your body to work harder.

You’ll be working anaerobically, which means your body produces energy by breaking down glucose in your muscles. That means that when you stop exercising, your body will still be working to repair itself. Sounds painful, but this is how you get stronger.

It’s also a great way to burn calories. A study in the National Library of Medicine found that anaerobic training burns more calories in a shorter period of time than steady-state exercise.

As an added bonus, another study found that anaerobic exercise, along with aerobic workouts, boosts cardiovascular health.

Is a 30-minute workout long enough for indoor cycling?

In an ideal world, we’d have plenty of time to ride our bikes. That unfortunately often isn’t the case. Family, friends and general life get in the way, leaving only small periods of time to train.

When you get these precious moments of free time, a short 30-minute workout like this is perfect. It may not be long, but it packs in plenty of high-quality training in the time, and with it lots of performance gains. Some studies have shown that regular short training sessions are actually better for fitness than less frequent longer exercises too.

Indoor cycling workout details

  • GCN instructor: Manon Lloyd
  • Indoor workout duration: 30 minutes
  • Indoor training type: A hard HIIT workout
  • Fitness difficulty: A tough indoor cycling session for experienced cyclists or those searching for big performance gains
  • Benefits of this indoor cycling workout: Building muscular endurance, improving the body’s ability to recover, calorie-burning

Explore all of GCN’s indoor cycling workouts

Warm Up

Step 1: Warm up for 10 minutes before the main HIIT session

Warm up on your indoor trainer or exercise bike for 10 minutes. This warm-up ramps up, starting with easy spinning, and gradually increasing to an 8/10 effort. Then, relax and have a couple of minutes back at that really easy intensity. Now you’re ready to start the main session.

Work up and down the pyramid

Step 2: Work up and down the pyramid

The main efforts in this session are structured like a pyramid, meaning that you start at a low intensity, gradually build up to high intensity, then gradually work back down to low intensity. Those higher intensity efforts are going to sting, but keep pushing to get the most from this session.

Top Tip

The second half of this session, when you scale down the efforts, is just as important as the flat-out efforts. Keep the intensity up to test your fitness.

Cool down

Step 3: Finish off with a quick cool down

Since this session gradually brings the intensity down, the warm-down is almost baked into the pyramid. Even so, spend a couple of minutes spinning the legs at the end of the session.

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