Can you get faster in just 30 seconds? You might if you try this set of short intervals from the recently published study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports called Superior performance improvements in elite cyclists following short‐interval vs effort‐matched long‐interval training.
If you’ve read much about fitness and training, you’re probably already familiar with the concept of HIT (high‐intensity aerobic training), also sometimes called HIIT (high-intensity interval training). The idea is basically that short bursts of highly-intense, all-out efforts can improve your cardiovascular fitness quickly and effectively.
In this new study, a group of elite cyclists were divided into two groups. One group did a series of short, 30 second intervals, and the other group did a series of 5 minute intervals, over a period of three weeks. Both groups rode their intervals at full effort — as hard as they could sustain.
The total amount of time riding at the same perceived effort and intensity was the same between the two groups of cyclists. But the cyclists who did the super short intervals improved their 20 minute cycling power by 4.7 percent, while the long interval riders only improved by 1.4 percent.
The short interval riders did three sets of 13 x 30 seconds with 15 seconds of recovery, and three minutes of rest between sets. That means they’d do a 30 second interval followed by a 15 second rest period 13 times in a row, recover for three minutes, and then do that same thing two more times.
The long interval riders rode 4 x 5 minutes, with 2.5 minutes of recovery between sets. That means they’d ride a five minute interval, recover for 2.5 minutes, and then do it all over again three more times.
If you’re planning on some interval training this season, consider adding these 30 second interval sets to your arsenal.