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One-Hour Workout: Ride The Pyramid

Boost your ability to work at higher intensities with this bike pyramid workout.

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Pyramid workouts like this one can be a fun way to boost your ability to work at higher intensities. As the interval duration decreases, your effort should increase yet your recovery remains constant. This also helps you to learn to differentiate between effort levels, which is an important part of learning to pace yourself. 

This session can be done on the road or on the trainer, but many people find it easier on the trainer as you can focus solely on your effort. Begin with a 15-minute warm-up building to RPE 6-7/10 (rate of perceived exertion). Towards the end of the warm-up include three one-minute “sprints,” where you raise your effort level closer to 10/10 RPE—just for 60 seconds. This helps “open your engine” for the efforts ahead, priming your muscles and raising heart rate and breathing rate.

You’ll then hit the main set: four minutes at 8/10 RPE into two minutes recovery; three minutes at 8-9/10 RPE into two minutes recovery; two minutes at 9/10 RPE into two minutes recovery; one minute all out into two minutes recovery. Make sure you don’t just switch off on the recovery blocks, still keep effort around 6/10 RPE and focus on smooth, higher cadence (90-100 RPM) pedaling. After that one minute all out you’ll then work your way back up the pyramid: two minutes at 9/10 RPE, two minute recovery; three minutes at 8-9/10 RPE, two minutes recovery; four minutes at 8/10 RPE, two minutes recovery. 

Be sure to really differentiate effort on the different sets so that 10/10 RPE feels distinctly different to 8/10 RPE. Finish the session with an easy 15-minute cooldown, focusing on relaxed riding and bringing your heart rate and breathing rate down. 

One-Hour Workout: Ride The Pyramid

Warm-up:

15 min. building to 6-7/10 RPE, include 3 x 1-min. sprints towards the end

Main Set:

4 min. @ 8/10 RPE; 2 min. recovery
3 min. @ 8-9/10 RPE; 2 min. recovery
2 min. @ 9/10 RPE; 2 min. recovery
1 min. all out, max. effort, 2 min. recovery
2 min. @ 9/10 RPE; 2 min. recovery
3 min. @ 8-9/10 RPE; 2 min. recovery
4 min. @ 8/10 RPE; 2 min. recovery

Cooldown:

15 min. easy riding