30:30 Interval Training For Indoor Cycling

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Written By James Quilter

Passionate cyclist and content creator

At times, cycling training is not just about perspiration and exertion.

It’s about time and making the most of it.

So 30:30 interval training for indoor cycling is a great way to improve your cycling performance in a short amount of time.

Screenshot-2023-07-26-at-12.46.25 30:30 Interval Training For Indoor Cycling

TLDR; it involves 30 seconds of high-intensity interval training, followed by a 30 second rest period. By doing this for just 30 minutes, you can see improvements in your endurance and cycling performance.

However, progression should be gradual and individualized based on your fitness level, goals, and recovery capacity. Don’t rush the process; give your body time to adapt and avoid pushing yourself too hard too soon. Always prioritize safety and listen to your body’s cues during training.

It’s an excellent alternative to outdoor riding during the winter months.

And it means you can do it quickly without missing key time with the special people in your life. 

Here we look at how to do it, the benefits, and what’s available on Rouvy and Zwift.

Why 30 30 training is great

The 30 seconds of high-intensity cycling is enough to get your heart rate up, and the 30 second recovery periods allows you to recover before starting the next interval. This type of training can be done indoors, so it’s perfect for busy cyclists who don’t have time to go for a long ride outdoors.

Interval training cycling can help you improve your endurance and speed

It allows you to perform at a higher intensity, which will increase your aerobic capacity. This means that 30 30 interval cycling will improve both your endurance and speed.

30 30 training also simulates hill repeats to gain speed and power. It’s a safe workout option for cyclists of all levels, so you can use it to get in better shape before starting more intense workouts.

Can it improve anaerobic capacity?

There is some evidence to suggest that 30 30 interval training can improve anaerobic capacity. Anaerobic capacity is the maximum amount of energy you can produce without oxygen.

This type of energy production is important for cyclists, as it allows them to generate more power during short bursts of activity.

It may not be as effective as traditional endurance training at improving anaerobic capacity, but it is still a worthwhile workout to do if you’re short on time.

How it can help improve V02 max

30 30 interval training can also help improve your Vo2 max. Vo2 max is a measure of the rate of oxygen consumption you can manage in a given time period.

By doing 30 30 interval training, you’re able to increase your oxygen uptake, which will improve your Vo2 max.

The more oxygen your body can use, the longer you’ll be able to ride at a high intensity.

Interested in some actual science? This research by the National Library of Medicine outlines the benefits for both anaerobic and aerobic fitness.

30 30 interval training – the basics

Here are some basic instructions on how 30 30 interval training works:

  • 30 30 interval training is 30 seconds of high-intensity cycling, followed by 30 second of rest.
  • For the 30 seconds of high intensity biking, ride as hard as you can. 
  • After 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds by decreasing your intensity and slowing down until you reach a leisurely biking pace. Sounds obvious, but you should measure both the 30 second bouts and the 30 second rests. The rest is never long enough. 
  • Repeat multiple times in a row, according to your fitness level. You can work your way up to include more in each set you perform. 

How hard should you go?

When cycling at a high intensity during 30 30 interval training, you should be in your ‘high intensity’ of heart rate zone 6 or 7, ie being close to going flat out. 

There’s a great saying about intervals. If you’re not close to throwing up at the end of a session you haven’t done it right. 

Your rest intervals should be in your ‘low intensity’ zone. This is the level of intensity at which you can still hold a conversation.

How will high intensity training improve your cycling ability?

30 30 interval training will help you cycle at a higher intensity, which will increase your aerobic capacity. This means 30 30s can both improve endurance and speed.

It will allow you to recover quickly before the next 30 second high-intensity bout. 

How should I start?

When you’re first starting 30-30s, keep the 30 second high-intensity bouts short and sweet.

This type of training improves over time as your fitness level increases, so working your way up is best.  Gradually increase how hard the 30 seconds of high-intensity cycling is.  This will give your body time to adjust and won’t overstress you to the point where 30 30 interval training is no longer effective.

If you’re new to 30 30 interval training, it’s best to start with fewer 30-second intervals and gradually work your way up as you improve. You can either increase one 30 30 interval at a time, or you can increase the number in your set.

Progession guidelines – from the start

  1. Start with a Beginner-Friendly Routine: If you’re new to interval training, begin with a conservative approach. For instance, start with just 4-6 intervals (30 seconds high-intensity followed by 30 seconds of rest) in a single session.
  2. Gradually Increase the Number of Intervals: As you become more comfortable with the workout, gradually increase the number of intervals in each session. Aim to add 1-2 intervals every week or every other week, depending on your fitness level.
  3. Increase High-Intensity Effort: As you adapt to the training, push yourself to work harder during the 30-second high-intensity intervals. Increase your effort level, but still maintain good form and avoid overexertion.
  4. Decrease Rest Time: As your fitness improves, you can reduce the rest time between intervals. Instead of 30 seconds of rest, you could try 20 or even 15 seconds. This will make the workout more challenging and help improve your recovery capacity.
  5. Extend the Duration: Gradually increase the total duration of your 30:30 interval training sessions. Work towards 20 minutes, then 25, and eventually reach the goal of 30 minutes of continuous intervals.
  6. Add Sets: Once you are comfortable with a single set of intervals, consider adding additional sets with short rest periods between sets. For example, you could do two sets of 10 intervals each with a 3-5 minute rest in between.
  7. Introduce Variations: To keep the training fresh and prevent plateaus, introduce variations to your 30:30 intervals. You can try pyramid intervals (increasing intensity and then decreasing), or mix in longer intervals (e.g., 60 seconds hard effort followed by 30 seconds rest).
  8. Incorporate Outdoor Rides: If possible, try doing 30:30 intervals during outdoor rides. This will add variety and challenge you in different ways than indoor training.
  9. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your body’s response to the training. If you feel excessively fatigued or notice signs of overtraining, take a step back and give yourself more time to recover.
  10. Consult a Coach: If you are serious about maximizing your performance or have specific goals, consider seeking guidance from a cycling coach. A coach can tailor a training plan to your individual needs and help you progress effectively.

Some sample 30:30 high intensity workouts

Beginner’s Blast

  • Warm-up: 5 minutes of easy spinning.
  • Main Set: 6 intervals of 30 seconds high-intensity cycling (80-90% effort) followed by 30 seconds of easy spinning for recovery.
  • Cool-down: 5 minutes of easy spinning.

Intermediate Intervals

  • Warm-up: 5 minutes of easy spinning.
  • Main Set: 8 intervals of 30 seconds high-intensity cycling (85-95% effort) followed by 30 seconds of moderate spinning for recovery.
  • Cool-down: 5 minutes of easy spinning.

Advanced Attack

  • Warm-up: 10 minutes of easy spinning with 2-3 short bursts of 15 seconds high-intensity efforts.
  • Main Set: 10 intervals of 30 seconds all-out sprints (95-100% effort) followed by 30 seconds of active recovery (spin at an easy pace).
  • Recovery: 3 minutes of easy spinning between sets.
  • Cool-down: 5-10 minutes of easy spinning.

Tips for getting the most of out your 30 30 sessions

When you’re performing 30-30 interval training, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re getting the most out of your session. 30 30 interval training is an intense workout, so it’s important to take care of your body before, during and after.

  • Remember to maintain proper cycling form and stay focused during the high-intensity intervals.
  • Adjust the resistance or gear on your indoor bike to match the intensity levels mentioned.
  • Don’t forget to cool down after each session to gradually bring down your heart rate and help with recovery.
  • Make sure you’re biking at a high intensity for the 30 seconds of high-intensity cycling. This means going all out and pushing yourself to your limits.
  • If you want to do sets. Take a 3 minutes of rest between sets. This will allow your body to recover before starting the next set.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your 30 30 interval session.
  • Eat something light after your workout.

Safety precautions for high-intensity workouts

Safety precautions are crucial when engaging in 30:30 interval training or any high-intensity exercise. Before starting the workout, ensure you have a proper warm-up to prepare your muscles and cardiovascular system for the intensity ahead.

Always maintain proper cycling form during the high-intensity intervals to minimize the risk of injury. Stay hydrated throughout the session and have water readily available. If you experience any unusual pain or discomfort, stop immediately and consult a healthcare professional if needed.

Gradually progress your training to avoid overexertion and allow ample time for recovery between sessions.

Lastly, listen to your body and know your limits; pushing yourself too hard can lead to injuries and hinder your progress. By following these safety precautions, you can make the most of your 30:30 interval training while minimizing potential risks.

At/ Overs – Zwift’s take on 30 30s

ZwiftFile_000-1024x675 30:30 Interval Training For Indoor Cycling
At Overs

Zwift has a 20 minute workout called at overs. The workout is based on the rest set based on your FTP and the main interval set higher than that.

What’s the view? Well, it’s quite a tough workout. But because Zwift uses power to measure effort it is not going to be a full effort.

Just my view of course. 

Rouvy – 30 second intervals

File_000-1024x715 30:30 Interval Training For Indoor Cycling
Rouvy 30 sec intervals

Rouvy’s version is more like a traditional version of the workout.

Like Zwift, it’s based on a 265w FTP. So you can see the top end goes to 400w – pretty close to an all out effort over half a minute.

In summary

30 30 interval training is a great way to improve your cycling performance. If you’re short on time or don’t have the money for expensive equipment, or a Zwift account 30 30 interval training is perfect part of your training plan. 

It’s also an effective workout at any fitness level because it allows you to cycle intensely without overdoing it. 30 30 interval training is a good way to mix up your workout routine, and it can be done indoors or outdoors.

It’s also a great type of high intensity cardio that will improve your aerobic capacity. 30 30 interval training develops endurance and energy. You can start this 30 30 interval training workout at any fitness level because it builds over time.

Featured pic: nikkycycling.cc