Zwift Workouts

Sunday Smart-Trainer Session: Martin Gibala Intervals XVIII

Doing repeated short bouts of exercise at very high intensity develops a number of physiological systems in the body. Predominantly it provides a great training stimulus for the neuromuscular system. Although not specific to endurance events, training the neuromuscular system can bring on your fitness very quickly and is still a massive benefit for endurance athletes especially early in the season or if you are unfit. This workout can be done by beginners or experienced cyclist alike, because a max sprint is all about your level of effort and is likely to be different from another rider.

Each Sunday, I’ll post a Smart-Trainer Session that you can do in about 60 minutes to enhance your cycling. See a previous post about training intensity (Levels) to know how hard to work. If you are working directly with Coach Ray, he will, in most cases, prescribe either a Power Zone or Heart Rate Zone to work within if you are training with these tools.

I’ve put this series of workouts together following the guidelines from Dr Martin Gibala. In this video his concept was explained as a total of 2:30 to 4:00 minutes of total work, using intervals of between ten seconds and forty seconds, with a Work to Rest ratio (W:R) of between 1:3 and 1:9. To optimise fitness gains in minimal duration of training there was a further recommendation to keep the workouts between 30 and 40 minutes.

I sat down with a pen & paper and wrote out a series of workouts that met the requirements above. A series that worked on a 1:3 W:R ration (from ten seconds to forty seconds), then a series with a 1:9 W:R ratio (also from ten seconds to forty seconds), then finally a series with a W:R ratio of 1:6 (you guessed it from ten seconds to forty seconds). I made sure that the total duration of maximum work didn’t exceed the four minutes. I then made some of the workouts easier by splitting the large number of reps into sets of smaller numbers. I haven’t stuck to the 40 minute limit for every workout within this series, with some workouts pushed a little above the 40 minute limit and others there is more aerobic development included. Each fortnight I’ll include a workout from this series.

Martin Gibala Intervals XVIII

  • 10min WU Level II;
  • 3 sets of:
    • 8x 10sec Level V+, 90sec Level I RI,
    • 5min Level II between sets;
  • 10min CD Level II;
  • 10min Stretching

The warm-up (WU) should be done at an intensity that is steady but not over consuming at Level II, riding for ten minutes.

There are three main sets, with each set made up of eight reps of ten seconds duration sprinting at max effort, followed by 90 seconds riding at Level I for you Rest Interval (RI).

Between sets, ride at Level II for five minutes with a cadence above 90 rpm to enhance that recovery.

Conclude the ride with a cool down (CD) of ten minutes riding at Level II.

Finish with ten minutes of stretching to assist with the recovery.

Here is my data from doing the workout:

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