You bought your e-bike because you want to get healthier. Fantastic! Don’t get us wrong, riding your e-bike (on a low pedal assist setting) will make you healthier. Over time, you’ll notice an improvement in your riding skills. You’ll be able to cycle faster, longer, and harder. This will all happen naturally. However, the process may be a little bit slower than you may expect. This is because casual riding isn’t really going to push your body too hard. You’ll ride however you feel is the most comfortable. This is why you need to look into techniques to push yourself that little bit harder. One such technique is interval training.
On this page, we’re going to take a deep dive into interval training. You’ll learn what it is, and what the benefits are, and we’ll even share a few cool interval training workout routines for your e-bike with you (this includes the much-famed HIIT workout). We’ve got a lot to cover, so we’re just going to jump right on in.
What is Interval Training?
In order to understand interval training, you need to know that there are two forms of exercise:
- Aerobic. Cycling is naturally an aerobic activity. When you cycle, oxygen is used to produce energy in your muscles. When you perform an aerobic activity, you’ll be breathing harder, and your heart rate will increase.
- Anaerobic. Cycling is not naturally anaerobic. You have to make an active decision to make your cycling anaerobic. To cycle anaerobically, you’ll have to be pedaling at your absolute maximum. We are talking incredibly hard. When you are cycling anaerobically, your muscles will receive their energy from resources stored in the muscles e.g. glucose, and any stored oxygen. With anaerobic cycling, the power boost will be immediate, and it will be massive. However, because there are limited resources in the body, you won’t be able to cycle anaerobically for long. We’re talking anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute.
Interval training aims to switch up aerobic and anaerobic cycling. So, you’ll do a period of aerobic cycling (normally 5 minutes or so, but it can vary) followed by anaerobic activity for 30 seconds to a minute, and then back to the standard aerobic cycling. So, the anaerobic cycling will take place in intervals (hence the name!)
This is a highly beneficial exercise because those periods where you switch to anaerobic activity are going to boost your muscles considerably more than purely aerobic activity. This means that, over time, you’ll develop more powerful leg muscles which can lead to longer, harder, and faster cycling.
It is worth noting that there are some e-bike interval training routines that won’t quite take your exercise to an anaerobic level (i.e. you are not working insanely hard), but the benefits are broadly the same.
We’ll share some e-bike interval training routines in a short while. For now, we want to give you a brief overview of the benefits of interval training.
The Benefits of Interval Training
Interval training on your e-bike has a few different benefits. As you go through these benefits, you’ll notice why it is so highly recommended that you look into interval training, even if you are not incorporating it into every single ride.
Boosts Leg Strength
While aerobic exercise (i.e. standard cycling) will benefit your muscles, anaerobic exercise takes this to a whole other level.
When you engage in interval training, during the ‘intense workout’ part, your muscles will be working harder than ever. They become stronger. They become better at making use of available energy resources.
Over time, you’ll notice that your interval training has resulted in faster cycling. After all, the harder you push the pedal, the further you can move with one rotation. You’ll also notice that you are able to tackle harder routes with ease. For example, you may find that you are able to tackle hills that you previously wouldn’t have been able to tackle.
Boosts Your Endurance
During the ‘high intensity’ parts of your exercise routine, you’ll be working insanely hard. Your breathing and heart rate will increase substantially. Over time, your body will get better at utilizing oxygen to power the muscles. This will, eventually, result in you getting less tired when you are cycling.
It isn’t uncommon for people that engage in e-bike interval training to go from being able to cycle for just an hour or so, all the way up to several hours. Remember, you’ll also be able to tackle far harder routes as your endurance goes up.
Increases Fat Burn
Interval training will burn more fat than standard e-bike riding. So, if calorie burning is on the agenda, then you’ll almost certainly want to add e-bike interval training into your workout routine.
Remember – interval training is also going to boost your muscle strength. So, you’ll be losing fat weight, but you’ll be bulking up at the same time. If you just did standard e-bike riding, you’ll notice the weight falls off, and you’ll also lose muscle mass at the same time. Interval training helps to prevent this.
Boosts Your Overall Cycling Performance
In a second, we’re going to share a few interval training workout routines that you can follow. Each of our routines has been designed to improve a particular aspect of your e-bike riding. For example – our routines can help to boost speed and endurance, pedaling efficiency, or even boost the speed at which you tackle hills.
One of the wonderful things about interval training is that you can easily come up with your own routines to target particular areas of cycling where you may be struggling. You’ll see what we mean shortly.
Interval Training Workout Routines
In this final section, we’re going to share a few interval training workout routines with you. Each of these routines has been designed to improve a particular aspect of your cycling. If you are planning on becoming an all-rounder rider, then you should try and fit as many of these interval training routines into your training regime as possible.
It is worth noting that while we have taken a very e-bike-centric view of interval training here, all of these routines can also be used with a traditional bike. If you are using an e-bike, we suggest that you keep the pedal assist down to the absolute minimum. Off, if possible.
Standard Interval Training (For Beginners)
We’re going to start things nice and simple here. We just want to give you a brief overview of a simple interval training routine. This isn’t really going to improve any specific aspect of your cycling. Instead, it will introduce beginners to how interval training works.
You want to start with a 10-minute warm-up. Cycle at a casual pace here. You’ll then want to repeat the following 10 times:
- Pedal hard for 2 minutes.
- Pedal casually for 2 minutes
Ideally, you want the ‘pedal hard’ part to be around double the speed of your casual pedaling. You don’t need to push yourself too extreme here. This is just a beginner’s workout.
At the end of your 10 repetitions, you can cool down for 10 minutes (i.e. a very casual cycle).
HIIT – Strength, Speed, and Endurance
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, is the most common form of interval training for not only e-bike riders, but everybody doing cardio. It is something that you should be engaging in if you want to boost your leg strength, your overall speed, and your endurance. If you want to improve your overall cycling skills in a very short span of time, then regular HIIT training is a must.
This exercise is going to be incredibly hard, but once you start to see the benefits, you’ll be proud of yourself for putting in the work.
As before, you’re going to want to start by warming up for 10 minutes. You’ll then want to repeat the following 2 steps 10 times.
- Pedal as fast and as hard as you can for 30 seconds.
- Pedal at a slow speed for 60 seconds (you can bump it up to 90 if you’re a newbie rider)
Round off the routine by cooling down with a casual cycle for 10 minutes.
Hill Climb Power Boost
This interval training routine is designed to boost your hill-climbing prowess. It is a rather simple routine. Repeat this 10 times (you may need to restart at the bottom of the hill if the hill is too short):
- Climb standing up on your bike for 30 seconds
- Recover for 30 seconds
- Climb sitting down on your bike for 30 seconds
- Recover for 30 seconds
During the ‘climb’ stage, you want to be going all-out. Pedal as hard as you can. You’ll tire yourself out, but we promise you that it’ll be worth it.
Pedaling Efficiency Boost
Our final interval training routine is designed to boost pedaling efficiency. This can help to increase cycling speed and endurance.
We suggest that you switch to a very low pedal assist setting for this. You don’t want too much help with the ‘intense’ pedaling stage, as it won’t really improve your skills when you do that.
As before, start with a 10-minute warmup. Then repeat this 10 times:
- Pedal at 90 RPM for 10 seconds (20 seconds if you’re more experienced)
- Cycle at a speed that is comfortable for you for 5 minutes.
Round it off with a 10-minute cooldown.
If you want to improve your cycling skills quickly, then we suggest you consider interval training. There is no quicker way to boost your endurance, speed, and overall cycling strength. To get started, check out any of the routines we have discussed on this page. You can even devise your own once you get a bit more experienced with e-bike riding.