One-Hour Workout: Top-End Bike Power Efforts

Boost your fitness and bring some variety to your training with this top-end bike power efforts workout.

Photo: Hannah DeWitt/Triathlete

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It can be easy to get stuck in a rut just doing steady aerobic workouts—but bringing in some top-end bike power efforts can help change all of that. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with steady aerobic training—but sometimes it’s great for the body and mind if you can mix up the intensity levels. On the bike, this can mean varying cadence and power, as is the case in this workout. The intervals don’t need to be long or overly taxing to yield the training effect you’re looking for and, in fact, this helps leave you fresher for whatever comes next.

Top-end bike power efforts like these can be done on the trainer or on the road, but just be sure to pick a quiet road if you are riding outside. The workout begins with 10 minutes of easy warm-up with relaxed smooth pedaling, think 5/10 RPE (rate of perceived exertion). You’ll then nudge up the effort level slightly for the next 10 minutes, riding at 6-7/10 RPE with a higher cadence (90-100 RPM). And then the fun begins!

There are two parts to the main set with part one preparing you nicely for part two. The first part involves four rounds of 30 seconds at “full gas” (10/10 RPE), where you’ll stand and sprint out of the saddle for five seconds before then returning to the saddle to finish the 30-second interval. Take 2.5 minutes of recovery and then repeat this pattern, four times in total.

Spin easy for five minutes—and then part two! You should be well warmed up by now to give these intervals a solid effort.

Ride at 8-9/10 RPE for 2.5 minutes (all seated) and then take 2.5 minutes of recovery. Repeat this for a total of four rounds. The 2.5 minutes of “work” should be hard but controlled: focus on riding well with smooth pedaling.

Wrap it up with an easy relaxed 10-minute cooldown.

Note: this workout is slightly over one hour in duration, but can be pared back by reducing the number of rounds in the main set and/or cutting the five-minute recovery interval in the main set.

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One-Hour Workout: Top-End Bike Power Efforts


10 min. @ 5/10 RPE

10 min. @ 6-7/10 RPE, cadence @ 90-100 RPM

Main Set

Repeat x 4: 30 sec. “full gas” @ 10/10 RPE — 5 sec. out of the saddle, 25 sec. seated; 2.5 min. recovery

5 min. easy smooth riding

Repeat x 4: 2.5 min. @ 8-9/10 RPE; 2.5 min. easy 5-6/10 RPE


10 min. easy and relaxed


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