For a cyclist, a solid aerobic engine is essential. When you go for a ride, you stimulate your aerobic system, but stimulation depends on the intensity. Therefore, trained cyclists need a greater absolute and relative workload to improve the VO2 max.
Thus, if you are an experienced rider, doing hard intervals or races is necessary to make further progress. Elite athletes will sometimes reach a plateau where there will no longer be significant increments. At this level, the riders still train to work at VO2 max – to stay fit and maintain maximum intensity longer.
Maximum power test
As I have described previously in How to train with a power meter for VO2 max, it is a perfect idea to do a 5minutes all-out test to find your average Watt at maximum oxygen consumption. There are other tests, but this one is easy to use and still very reliable. You can do the test on a stationary bike or the road if you are the lucky owner of a power meter.
Killer intervals for VO2 max
Athletes should do all intervals with an intensity found in the maximum power test.
3 x (3 + 3min)
This one is a winner. Done correctly, you got 9 minutes of practical training at your VO2 max. You can make a slight twitch to this one by completing the recovery period faster, and that will give you more time with maximum oxygen consumption.
5 x (40 + 20sec)
I like this one very much even though it is not as effective for your VO2 max as interval program no. 1. These intervals are perfect for race preparation. Typically, I recommend 3 to 4 sets.
1 x 5min
Very tough interval. Also, this interval is an excellent test of your VO2 performance.
12-20 x (30+30sec)
One of my favorite workouts. Based on scientific studies, these intervals are best in theory. But like in all other training situations, it is crucial to be motivated for what you decide to do.
Looking to increase your VO2 max? Then you need to be doing killer VO2 max intervals! These short, high-intensity bursts of cycling can help you achieve the results you’re looking for.
So, what are you waiting for? Give them a try today!