Time to Read

3.5 minutes

Points of Interest

  • Flying 40s For Muscular Endurance
  • Descending Interval Set for fitness
  • Off-Bike HIIT for explosive power


It’s common knowledge that if you want to get better at something you need to practice, practice, practice.

If you want to get better at swimming - swim.

Want to get better at running? Run.

The same thing goes for cycling...

Here are some specific exercises you can do to improve aspects of your cycling performance


Cycling is a unique physical activity that requires cardiovascular and muscular endurance.

It’s low impact but requires a high VO2 max.

You also vary between long steady-state periods and high-intensity sprints.

Cycling is interesting because you’re moving, but you’re not actually moving. You’re sitting but exerting yourself as much as any activity there is.

So with the continuous focus on cycling workouts including hill climb workouts, and long stretches of endurance, what are some other short intense workouts you can do to improve your cycling performance?

Let's look at 3 workouts here...

1. Flying 40's For Muscular Endurance

This is a short intense workout to improve your cycling that you can do on your bike but might work just as well on a stationary bike. A stationary bike is handy as it’s practical during those days of bad weather, or you only have time for a quick workout.


Flying 40's will help build your power. It's also designed to help improve your ability to recover. This will be helpful on any events or races where there have different portions of higher surges.

Here's a quick breakdown on how to structure the workout.

  • Start with a 15-minute warm up to elevate the heart rate and increase blood flow to the working muscles
  • In a medium to large gear, peddle hard for 40 seconds
  • Recover for 20 seconds.
  • Repeat ten times. That will be one round


You can do up to 4 rounds of these in one workout.

You’ll want to rest with some light peddling for around 5-minutes in between each round.

If these are new to you, start with two rounds and don’t forget to finish with a ten-minute cool down ride with stretching, and some foam rolling to promote healing and recovery.

2. Descending Interval Set for cardio fitness

These are also known as “miracle intervals” and were developed by Olympic coach Gale Bernhardt.

This is another high-intensity interval style of training that will build your fitness and improve your cycling.

This high intensity training will be your ideal choice when it comes to improving your oxygen consumption which benefit your cycling performance. It also helps you build lean muscle, specifically in the trunk and legs which will greatly boost your power.

This workout will only take 45-55 minutes and it’s designed to have longer rest periods to allow you to generate all-out power on the intervals.

  • 10-minute warm-up
  • 45 seconds all-out fast (4:15 easy)
  • 40 seconds all-out fast (4:20 easy)
  • 35 seconds all-out fast (4:25 easy)
  • 30 seconds all-out fast (4:30 easy)
  • 25 seconds all-out fast (4:35 easy)
  • 20 seconds all-out fast (4:40 easy)
  • 15 seconds all-out fast (4:45 easy)
  • Additional 5-minute cool down if needed to be followed by stretching

3. Off-Bike HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) for explosive power

This workout will take you off the bike but is great for building explosive power, improving VO2 max, raising heart rate, and burning calories while you’re at it.

This is a simple 20-minute workout and one that is very intense.

This is sure to boost your fitness and power for cycling.

It will combine two exercises done in an interval style over the course of a minute and you will do multiple rounds. You will work every muscle in the body alongside improving your lactate threshold.

With lactate threshold training you are working at your max intensity before hitting the wall caused by lactic acid build up. The higher you can get this threshold, the more you will be able to push at higher intensities during races. This is an intense way to train. You can build this up naturally over an extended time period, as the lactate threshold is where your body switches from your aerobic to anaerobic metabolism. Consistent, long term training builds up your aerobic system of fueling your body for longer, before the anaerobic system takes over. HIIT training will also help to develop this when added to your regular training program.


As usual, start with a 5-10 minute warm up.

In this case, some dynamic stretching involving leg and arm swings will be a great way to warm up the muscles, increase blood flow, and get the heart rate up.

Round 1: Kettle bell swings and push ups:

  • Kettle bell swings - 30 seconds
  • 15 second rest
  • Push ups - 30 seconds
  • 15 seconds rest
  • 4 rounds


Round 2: Kettle bell squat to overhead press & Mountain Climbers

  • Kettle bell squat & press - 30 seconds
  • 15 seconds rest
  • Mountain climbers - 30 seconds
  • 15 seconds rest
  • 4 rounds


Notes: the 30-seconds exercise period is at full intensity so push yourself 100% and don’t hold back.

This is called Tabata style meaning short rest periods to fully engage your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.

The mountain climbers can also be swapped out for push-ups into a side plank using dumbells.

Over To You!

Alongside your regular training its important that you include some short intense workouts to improve your cycling performance.

When you combine all of this, you’ll notice improvements in endurance, power, fitness, and performance... helping you move closer every day to reaching your goals!


For more information about our infrared cyclewear and how it helps your performance and recovery click here

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October 14, 2019 — Jamie for KYMIRA Sport

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