In their quest to improve both stamina and speed, most cyclists will try out a number of training regimes before they find the one that gets the results that they want from the workout.
Many head to the gym to work with weights in an effort to build their power, however, there are a number of ways that you can train using your bike alone, so that you get all of the cardio benefits in addition to making gains in your cycling technique. One of the key training methods that many modern cyclists espouse is interval training.
What Is Interval Training?
You have probably heard the term interval training before, as the general concept can be applied to many different types of exercise. It is essentially the idea that exercising intensely for short, sharp bursts, with adequate rest periods in between, it is a more efficient way to boost your strength and overall fitness.
The theory can be applied to cycling just as readily as it can to many other types of workout, as there are many different interval training techniques that you can use to improve your speed, cadence and power levels.
What Does Interval Training Do?
Interval training is designed to get you at your peak levels of speed, strength and stamina as quickly as possible by making use of special exercises that focus on a particular area of your riding.
As such, it is always best to conduct interval training on a bike that you feel comfortable on and in optimal conditions for riding. Smooth surfaces are a must, as you will be focusing on maintaining consistency and good form in an effort to improve your overall technique.
And that’s what it comes down to. Interval training forces you outside of your comfort zone for short periods of time, while also calling upon you to maintain the technique that you need to really make gains in your cycling.
What Are The Benefits of Interval Training?
The benefits of interval training are numerous, which is why it has quickly been adopted by many fitness professionals throughout the world, in addition to a lot of cyclists.
Of the many advantages, the below are the four that are likely going to be most appealing to the average cyclist.
Efficiency – Interval training is designed to get you the best results in the shortest amount of time, so you will find that you end up spending a lot less time on your workouts.
Fat Burning – The intense effort required in an interval training program means that you will burn a lot of fat much more quickly than you would with standard riding. You also boost your body’s repair cycle during interval training, which means that you will lose more calories and fat following the completion of the workout than you would after a standard ride.
No Equipment Needed – One of the main sticking points of going to the gym to build power is that you need to use equipment other than your bike. In doing so you aren’t improving your technique and you’re often spending money to get results. Interval training just needs you and your bike to get the job done.
Challenge – No workout is going to keep your attention for long if it doesn’t offer a challenge and, even worse, it will start to lose its effectiveness if you find you can do it easily. Interval training is never anything less than a challenge, especially because intervals can often be scaled up to become harder as your body improves.
So what do you think? Is interval training for you?