High intensity interval training

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by dominikk85, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. dominikk85

    dominikk85 New Member

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    In the last years the so called high intensity interval training (HIIT) training became quite popular(especially in the "fitness" world). It is also called tabata intervals. the protocol is to do like 30-60 seconds sprint, followed by 30 seconds coasting and then another sprint repeated 8-10 times. It is supposed to produce fast gains in a very short training time as well as being good for weight loss.

    would this be a good training for time crunched cyclists? I think there was a study that this kind of training creates good benefits and the short duration is certainly tempting for the indoor trainer time. any experiences with that kind of training?
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    I've used Tabata's, typically when particularly tight on training time or as part of event peaking. They're really hard to do but at least it's over very quickly. Some folks do a set or two of Tabata's and then go do a longer steadier ride to prop up the training load. Lot's of ways to use these as part of a program.

    Just to be clear, Tabata's are an example of HIIT training but HIIT is a much bigger subject than just Tabata intervals with a lot of short intense workouts but most relying on some form of limited recovery. Also there's a difference between High Intensity Intervals and a 'HIIT training philosophy' as advocated by some coaches. The individual intervals can be worked into a lot of different training philosophies at appropriate times but a pure HIIT approach to training relies very heavily on short intense sessions and takes the duration vs. intensity concept all the way to the intensity extreme. IOW, some of the interval patterns can be very useful but IMO HIIT as an overall approach to training for bike racing....not so much.

    -Dave
     
  3. Bigpikle

    Bigpikle New Member

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    worth also looking at exactly what the Tabata protocol was - as its not what you describe...

    "...seven subjects performed an intermittent training exercise 5 d.wk-1 for 6 wk. The exhaustive intermittent training consisted of seven to eight sets of 20-s exercise at an intensity of about 170% of VO2max with a 10-s rest between each bout" using a mechanically braked ergometer

    thats quite a different workout to what you describe.
     
  4. dominikk85

    dominikk85 New Member

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    As Dave said there seem to be a lot of programs out there. they all seem to have very intense short intervalls with very little rest (usually shorter rest than power phases).
     
  5. scottz123

    scottz123 New Member

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    Hunter Allens 2012 book Cutting Edge Cycling has chapter comparing HIT, Med intensity and Low intensity training.

    Q&A with Martin Gibala on HIT:"
    "The most effective protocols were 12 intervals of 30s @ a very high intensity equivalent to 175% of VO2 max w/ 4.5m recovery, OR 8 intervals of 4m @ 85% of VO2 max with 1.5m of recovery between repeats"
     
  6. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    "The most effective protocols" means of those tested on the subjects tested. In general, there is enough variation in both untested protocols and untested subjects that "most effective" is worthless.

    For most people finding a protocol that they can perform on a regular basis is difficult. Determining if a given protocol is effective is almost impossible.

    ---

    I find one of the 2 protocols listed very easy. I find the other one difficult. I have no idea if either would be helpful to me.
     
  7. scottz123

    scottz123 New Member

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    Ok
     
  8. scottz123

    scottz123 New Member

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    I am curious to which one you would find easy. Thanks.
     
  9. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    For me 85% of VO2max is about 95% FTP. I can hold 95% FTP for a couple hours. Anyone can hold 95% for 1 hour. The total time for the intervals is under an hour. It is an easy workput.

    For me 175% of VO2max is about 190% FTP. 30 seconds at 190% FTP is not long enough to raise my heart rate to LT. My heart rate recovers from LT to Z1 in 30-60 seconds. It is an easy workout.

    The first set of intervals is easy. I just cruise at 95% FTP for a few hours.

    The second one is hard because it is boring. On days when I am to angry to ride on the roads, I go to a nice hill and ride similar intervals for a couple hours. But it is boring.
     
  10. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

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    AOG you are so full of sh!t it is all over my iPhone. "Just cruise at 95% FTP for a few hours", unless your FTP is set way to low you are just making stuff up. 95% for 2 hours would even be a real difficult task, not something you would be able to do on a regular basis. And before you spout off with some stupid a$$ response, let me remind you, you have not provided a shred of evidence that you as much as own a bike.
     
  11. bigfred

    bigfred New Member

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    Dominik, As has already been pointed out, Tabatas are only one type of High Intensity Interval. There are many others. A High Intensity Interval Training program tends focus a greater percentage of your training time on such intervals than a more traditional volume based program would. "Time Crunched" is a bit of a Carmichael'ism, but, yes, such training programs are quite successful for cyclists who can't dedicate more than 9 hours/week to their training. If you have more time avaialbe, you might be better served by a program that has just as many intervals, but, more total volume. The really difference between the two types of programs isn't in the total amount of interval training, but, in the volume of sub threshold milage.

    There are some caveats to HIIT programs. One, because they don't include as much base volume as more traditional programs your performance is usually limited to events of upto about 3 hours. For events longer than that, you need a program that includes more volume. Two, because they tend to not have as much base volume the gains tend to be shorter lived. When you come off the program you will see a more significant decline than if you were participating in a program with a high volume and percentage of base milage.

    However, I'm pretty convinced of their effectiveness. I trained used HIIT principles for most of the past year, with the exception of one volume block a few weeks preceeding my goal century ride. I trimmed 27% off my time from last year! Granted, I was a slow as a slow thing the year before, as I had just gotten back on the bike with less than 12 weeks to train. But, the is no doubt in my mind that the HIIT program added a lot of strength, speed and ultimately power to my riding.

    So, basically, if you have less than 9 hours per week for training and are looking at events of less than 3 hours, yes, HIIT programs are probably a pretty good training option (over a more traditional program scaled down to so few hours). If you have your eyes set on events of more than 3 hours, or, you have more than 9 hours available for training each week, a more traditional program that includes a greater percentage of sub threshold milage will probably help you develop closer to your potential.

    Is that what you were looking for?
     
  12. scottz123

    scottz123 New Member

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    Quote: Originally Posted by bgoetz .

    AOG you are so full of sh!t it is all over my iPhone. "Just cruise at 95% FTP for a few hours", unless your FTP is set way to low you are just making stuff up. 95% for 2 hours would even be a real difficult task, not something you would be able to do on a regular basis.
    And before you spout off with some stupid a$$ response, let me remind you, you have not provided a shred of evidence that you as much as own a bike.
    That is exactly what I was thinking
     
  13. dominikk85

    dominikk85 New Member

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    You are talking about sub threshold. Isnt HIIT well above threshold? If you do 30 second sprints at full speed with very short rest I would asume that it is highly anaerobic, right?
     
  14. Yorlik

    Yorlik New Member

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    If you do multiple 30 second work intervals at maximum intensity with a short recovery, I would expect that you would exhaust your anaerobic capacity in a very short time. Future intervals would be energized over fat burning (aerobic) pathways.
     
  15. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    I know everyone is different but ime the HIIT plans worked better at sub 2hr events, and flat ones at that. I found the time crunch plan inadequate prep for longer hilly races (at 50 miles wasn't even all that long). The base is just not there for extended periods at redline (like a long climb) or repeated efforts beyond redline (you get one or two big efforts and the 2nd one really rellies heavily on mental fortitude). They are fantastic prep if time constrained and one is able to draft for the majority of race distance or race conservatively offering a very nice punch at the end, a single knockout punch. The problem is getting to the red kite and still having some gas left.
     
  16. bigfred

    bigfred New Member

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    HIIT may or may not be anaerobic. The intervals you describe certainly would be. However, HIIT can include intervals out to 20 minutes or more that are most certainly aerobic in there nature. My reference to sub threshold mileage was in comparing HIIT with more traditional programs. While the total volume of intervals between the two might not vary that much, the more traditional volume based plan would include more sub threshold milage. The HIIT program is going to gain it's zone 2 mileage from warm ups, cool downs and recovery periods, without actually targeting entire rides for such.
     
  17. bigfred

    bigfred New Member

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    I guess this is one of those areas where personal experiences can vary. My training has included intervals plenty of longer intervals. On the road, everything from 30 second pedal smashes to climbs of up to 10 minutes in zone 5. On the trainer, 15 seconds sprints to 8 minute steady states in zone 5 and even 30 minute TT simulations in zone 4. This has resulted in me feeling pretty good for up to 80-100 km, after which my performance drops off noticably. I'm certainly climbing stronger than I have in many years. But, I'm focusing on lots of hill climbs, repeats, etc.

    But, hey, if a higher volume program is working better for you, and you have the time to put into it, congratulations. Unfortunately, life somtimes gets in the way of me putting in more than 6 or 7 hours per week and I can't imagine attaining the same gains by using that time crusing around in zone 2. All I know is, the guys I ride with and against have been stunned at the progress I've made over the last 12 months. Your mileage has obviously varied.
     
  18. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    I may have used HIIT incorrectly, mea culpa. I was referring to a high intensity interval training plan generically speaking, in my case the Carmichael CTS plan, as opposed to any other trademarked plan. I also often have limited time, but luckily manage to get in some longer ride on the weekends. I'm not sure how your plan is structured but the Carmichael plan, also interval intensive, while definitely making me stronger, was just that much better after starting with 2 months of zone 2/3 for 9 or 10 hours/week, along with the occasional 3-4 hour ride when I could manage. I did both with and without. I understand the time restrictions, we do what we can. As far as intervals year round, at my age I got little interest. The 9-10 weeks of tough intervals in my current setup is plenty for me, both physically and mentally. As in racing, just like a fight, I'm always happy to absorb pain knowing I'm inflicting it on someone else. Quid pro quo. For me the racing season usually starts in March, which puts me about at about Week5 (out of 11) on the CTS plan. And the way the plan is structured it puts me at my prime (Week9) mid-April, for the juicy races in my neck of the woods. Once the racing season kicks off racing keeps the legs sharp. Sometimes I'll include one other interval day in the week, that is if I'm not doing the Tues eve races at my local abandoned runway. Glad you are happy with your progress, it's always nice to get compliments from yer riding buddies and it is an amazing thing to feel strong on the bike.
     
  19. James SA

    James SA New Member

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    I too have limited training time and have started incoporating loads of L3 and L4 intervals on the trainer. My two key days (Tuesdays and Thursdays) include either 2x20 @ 90% MMP20 or a 90-90-90 session ala Andy Coggan. Wednesday is usually a slightly more relaxed tempo session and weekends include at least 1 x 3hr group ride and hopefully a 2hr mtb ride. My first key ride is in March, a 110km road race and I think that this type of training is perfectly suited for the base period leading up to the event. My problem is that in May I have to prepare for a 3 day mtb stage race and as you guys are mentioning, I am very worried that I will be underprepared. I am not sure how you classify these interval sessions that I have mentioned above (HIIT or just IT). If I manage to find more time before May I will try to incorporate more long duration rides but I have been told that these adaptations take longer and generally need to be completed early in the season?
     
  20. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    If you are referring to the 2x20's I'd say they are sub-threshold intervals. I would qualify high intensity as anything over threshold, super vs. sub-threshold. The sub-threshold work (really any effort over 15 minutes - some go 30, 40, even 60 mins) is great as it can be done year round, and works well into time constrained workouts. There are different types of periodization, linear being the most common used - base work, build cycle, peaking, event. When the adaptations need to be completed would really depend on when it's needed and how long they can be held. Generally the model goes from general to specific but another model, reverse linear periodization, has the intensity phase done first with volume added as the plan progresses. this might suggest it's less important in which order the adaptations occur. I don't know much about this though. Unless you are like me and take a few months off the bike each winter, the gains from the sub-threshold work can be carried and built on from season to season, the gains from the high intensity work (think intervals that are 3-4 minutes or less) really max out after 2-3 months imo.

    It would be helpful to find out the demands of your particular event/course and focus on those for a few weeks once you have some basic cardio laid down. ie. does it end with a climb or series of climbs, will you need a sustained effort or a number of short intense efforts, etc. It's sometimes tough to speculate as you don't know what other riders are going to do, but I found preparing for the course the way I would ideally want to race it is a good model to use. I don't know the specifics for training for multiple day events, maybe someone else has some advice. I think depending on how the body is responding to training and where along your own personal fitness scale you are, will determine how quickly the adaptations are realized. However I find the adaptations from the high intensity stuff are usually noticeable from week to week, they just can't be sustained for all that long.
     
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