Interval training: What it is and why it works

A screenshot of the Sufferfest
(Image credit: The Sufferfest)

Interval training is defined as alternating short bursts of exercise with rest periods at regular time intervals. For example, a classic cycling interval session involves four sets of riding hard for eight minutes, then riding easy for four minutes in between. Most cycling intervals workouts consist of a warm-up, one or more sets of high-intensity intervals divided by rest periods, and a short cool-down.

In cycling, interval training can take on many different forms and cover the entire power profile of an athlete. Power profile refers to a cyclist’s maximum power output over a given duration, such as 10 seconds or 20 minutes. 

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Zach is a freelance writer, the head of ZNehr Coaching, and an elite-level rider in road, track, and e-racing. He writes about everything cycling-related, from buyer's guides to product reviews and feature articles to power analyses. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science at Marian University-Indianapolis, Zach discovered a passion for writing that soon turned into a full-fledged career. In between articles, Zach spends his time working with endurance athletes of all abilities and ages at ZNehr Coaching. After entering the sport at age 17, Zach went on to have a wonderful road racing career that included winning the 2017 Collegiate National Time Trial Championships and a 9th place finish at the 2019 US Pro National Time Trial Championships. Nowadays, Zach spends most of his ride time indoors with NeXT eSport.