interval training/rollers etc.

Anyone got any advice on good interval workouts to have a crack at?

I know the Tabata protocol is a pretty popular way to get a lot of meaningful training done in a very short period of time. I’m nowhere near fit enough to nail a Tabata workout, but am structuring sessions accordingly with 8 efforts. Still aaaaages away from getting down to the protocol quota of 20sec efforts with 10sec rest, but am slowly narrowing the gap.

Looking at YouTube clips and whatnot, have noticed that people seem to always be doing these workouts on a trainer with a road bike in a big gear. Is it completely unrealistic to think that a workout like Tabata is achievable on rollers with a track bike, getting up to some pretty high-ish cadences during efforts? Or is it do-able?

Here’s a good article Tabata Intervals - BritishCycleSport

Also keen to see what other sort of training people are doing on the rollers, if any. Generic Hipster and Dalai, I’m looking at you.

I know very little about the Tabata thing but from what I have read I’m skeptical of how much benefit anyone can get from it.

I think it will be pretty hard to train properly on rollers, quite hard to get enough resistance.

How you train depends on what you’re focusing on but I’m going to assume endurance track racing meaning you’ll mainly want to work on FTP, V02 and anaerobic capacity.

My favourite session to do on the trainer once or twice a week is 8x5 minute intervals. This is 5 minutes at about 105% FTP with one minute between each interval. Very good for FTP and V02.

I also do some longer efforts one the trainer 3x 15min (varying watts every minute but av power just above ftp) with 3min rest between 15min sets then finish with a 20min ftp/zone 4 interval. That and 3x 20min just below ftp, first two 20min has either anaerobic or v02 efforts every 4 mins then last one is an all out effort.

I occasionally do anaerobic session doing 8x2min at 135% FTP with 3min rest then 5x1min at 145% ftp. Anaerobic is hard to train properly without a power meter though and heart rate isn’t ideal to go off for these kinds of efforts.

Most of this kind of stuff can be done slightly less accurately with a heart rate monitor.

EDIT: All of this is pretty painful and will make most people hate bikes, I really enjoy hard trainer sessions though. Quite satisfying finishing hard sessions.

V interesting. Worlds apart from the narrow/focused stuff I was on about in the OP (tabata).

On the rollers query I had…my gut feeling is that these sorts of workouts pretty much always require a trainer. The core stability and balance needed to stay upright on rollers just isn’t gonna be there when you’re 5 reps in and shivering/gasping/hurting. You’d fall off lol.

GH, did you get given programs by a team/coach, or make your own? Or combination of both? Probs too many questions I know haha sorry.

I have a coach, while I find it very helpful it’s most definitely not needed.
There’s enough information out there that if you do some reading you’ll definitely be able to get a good idea of what you’re doing.

One thing I would recommend against is strength endurance (very low cad race in a big gear) intervals.
Heaps of people will say they are good, those people would be wrong.

why do you say this Matthias? I remember hating them back in the day…

I do this on this rollers with my track rig…

[video]20 Minute High Intensity Indoor Cycling Workout - YouTube

Just watched the first bit. They’re all doing it on road bikes in a huge gear at a really low cadence (interestingly, one of them appears to be on rollers, the others all on trainers). I assume if you’re doing it on your track bike with rollers, you’d be spinning like crazy?

The only stuff supporting it is anecdotal evidence, nothing scientific to say it works. There have been studies done to show what kind of loads leg muscles need to actually build strength, SE does not even come close to the correct amount. All it does it teach your legs how to produce power at a very low (useless) RPM. Power jumps on the other hand (big gear, close to or standing starts from about 10 rpm. Max effort for 5-10s) do seem to build strength.

EDIT: Just watched the link above, 4min warm up?? Barely enough to even get the legs going!

Yeah the 4 min warm up is silly for sure, as for the spinning thing @argument… yeah you spin pretty hard but thats a good thing obviously. Leg speed and a good bit of cardio is where is it’s at for scratch/ points races and cardio/distance is not my forte as opposed to sprints and strength so it’s good for me.

I find that video good in regards to being a interval clock and with someone talking to you (all be it the computer lady voice) is easy to make sure you don’t turn the power off a second or two early I find. 2c

Yeah totally agree mate. I guess I was just wondering if it’s even possible to do a workout that intense on rollers. You’ve answered my question! I’m fairly confident riding the rollers but have obviously got a long way to go with regard to fitness. I reckon I’m gonna keep aiming at hitting the tabata protocol, but will definitely look into other structures like the ones you and GH have mentioned. Might have a crack at that GCN one later in the week. I can guarantee there’s gonna be some sloppy form haha. Might have to position myself in a doorway in case of catastrophic failure.

Good chat, thanks for the replies.

Argument, take a look at this post by brendan from ages back. I did the roller sessions he describes in point 4 throughout my junior days and honestly I can’t say they didn’t work. At first I split the intervals up into groups of 6 and gradually worked my way up to a full set. From the sounds of where you’re at you could also try going for as many as you can and splitting them up into sections accordingly and then next time you do them see how far you get.

Nice one, thanks.

The issue with “absolute max efforts” is the first few efforts will be way above V02. They’d more likely be neuromuscular/anaerobic efforts then at some point when you get tired enough you’re power will drop in to the V02 area for a few efforts, towards the end of the session your perceived effort will still be high but it’s likely your power will drop even further and you’ll be doing threshold efforts. While the session will benefit you there’s much better ways to train.