20+1 ways to increase training intensity

Here is a list of 20 ways to increase your training intensity. Some tips are serious, and others are included just for fun. There might be other ways to increase the intensity, and if you feel that one of your favourite tips is not on the list and would like to inform us about it, please leave a comment. There is an ultra-short description following each tip, but if you want to understand the full reasons behind you have to spend some more time here on Training4cyclists.com.

These tips can be helpful when you train on your own, but they can also be beneficial when you train with a group where you are (a lot) stronger than the other riders. Intensity is an important parameter for your overall training load, which makes these tips worth considering.

1. Intervals
Intervals are the best known and commonly used way to intensify training. There are many intervals such as sprint intervals, anaerobic endurance intervals, maximum oxygen consumption intervals (VO2 max intervals) and aerobic endurance intervals.
2. Racing
Races are a shortcut to several intervals with very high and race-specific intervals. It is very motivating to compete in races and is a prevalent way to prepare for races among professionals.
3. Use an old bike
Your old bike is harder to ride and requires more watts to maintain the same speed. When you return to your favourite bike, you will experience that you feel light and your legs are doing exceptionally well.
4. Use heavy wheels
The additional weight also requires more watts, especially in hilly terrain. Wheels are the most sensitive place for extra weight.
5. Low pressure in tyres
Low pressure makes your bike slower and makes you work harder to keep up with the pack.
6. Train on your own
You can´t hide behind the windbreakers.
7. Be in front of group rides
It is harder to stay in front because of the winds. Don´t sit behind your friends just because it is more comfortable.
8. Wear loose clothes
Poor aerodynamics makes the trip harder for you.
9. Sit in an upright position
Body position is the most critical factor considering aerodynamics. Sit in a comfortable position and brake the wind with your chest.
10. Climb mountains
Well, this is an obvious way to increase intensity. If you only got small hills, then do them repeatedly.
11. Train with stronger riders
Just like in races, you are forced to work harder to stay in the group.
12. Train on windy days
Windy days are more challenging days, simple as that.
13. Train behind a scooter
The feeling of going fast motivates you to ride with high intensity.
14. Even better: Train in front of the scooter
Well, you can at least try to jump for a few hundred metres?
15. Go for an Mtb ride
Riding cross country is fun and very intense.
16. Improve your personal best time
It is an old idea that I used a lot when running. Focusing on making personal bests is a very intensifying way to train.
17. Improve your maximum velocity
I liked that challenge as a kid, and it still is a challenge. Not only downhill, but also how fast can you go uphill?
18. Improve your maximum peak power output
If you are the lucky owner of a power meter, you can make a list of personal bests to improve. What is your highest power output ever?
19. Hit your maximum heart rate
Heart rate monitors are getting very cheap, but they offer a straightforward measure of training intensity. What is your highest maximum heart rate?
20. Avoid red lights when cycling in a city
If you train in the town, try to catch the green wave (and be aware of the traffic..!)
21. Join Power Meter Project 2008
Increase your threshold power in 31 days.

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