How to Maximise Watt Bike Interval Training
Here’s my insights on a method I have developed to set challenging targets for Watt Bike intervals.
I want, by sharing this, to ensure your interval sessions are both challenging and that you don’t blow up after one set.
It’s taken me nearly 20 years to fully understand how to set intervals and energy system training up so that it’s effective, the targets are achievable and also to prevent clients cruising on sessions that should be tough.
My hope is that this method provides you with a way to get things absolutely right from the start and not waste any time.
Before I started setting targets in sessions typically the intervals would fall into 3 categories:
1. Unrealistic targets – the client or athlete comes away feeling like they failed from trying to hold an intensity for a length of time that they are either not capable of or the human body is not capable of.
2. The first interval is high intensity and all intervals following are garbage.
3. The client reduces their effort in order to complete the sets and doesn’t work at a high enough intensity.
Bear in mind that when setting up a strength training session there are a few different methods coaches use to establish the intensity.
Prelipins chart for example is a system that takes the amount a client can lift on any lift for any number of reps and then aims to predict (with a good degree of accuracy) what they can lift for another rep range on the same exercise.
The number of repetitions performed has a corresponding percentage which can be used to predict what weight the client should lift.
For example if you could back squat 100kg for 1 rep this would predict you should lift 80-85kg for 5 reps in training (80-85%).
As far as applying this type of thinking to setting the intensity on interval training I couldn’t find anything that was applicable to personal training clients, recreational athletes and gym goers.
There are methods for setting intervals off heart rate zones that keen cyclists use but I didn’t feel testing thresholds on a bike for 20 minutes was a good use of my clients and athletes time.
Enter the Spencer Davey Max Output Method, or MOM 😉
1. Open your wattbike menu and select “tests” then select “3 minute aerobic”. I’d select between level 4-7 resistance. Follow the instructions and enter your age, weight etc.
2. Perform the test – my advice would be to go out at a 7/10 and hold that pace, see what kind of shape you’re in the last minute and aim to sprint for between 25-45 seconds.
3. When done check the results and note down your “max minute power”.
4. Try out the aerobic session below and enter your specific target wattage.
5. Train and review the session – it should be an 8/10 throughout with the final 2-3 intervals being super tough!
Session one – Under-overs – designed to improve myocardium strength and local muscle endurance in the legs.
4x40 seconds @ max minute power x 1.2 then 80 seconds @0.7 x max minute power.
Easy peddle for 4 minutes then repeat for 2-4 rounds.
For example my max minute power is 326 Watts so I performed the 40 second efforts at 390 W rest interval at 210 W.
Try this workout if you have access to a wattbike and let us know how you get on! Alternatively have a play with using percentages of your MMP and see what workouts you can come up with, I’d love to hear about them.
Here’s a little bonus for those shorter intervals where you want to work on power endurance.
1. Open your wattbike menu and select “tests” then select “Power Peak Test 6” – I’d select between level 5-8 resistance.
2. Perform the test – just go all out!
3. When done check the results and note down your “peak power”.
4. Try out the power endurance session below and enter your specific target wattage.
5. Train and reap the power benefits!
Here’s the session… Every minute, on the minute (start on 0:00 set two starts on 1:00 etc), perform 6 seconds @ Peak power x 0.8 keep going until you can no longer hit the target.
When you can no longer hit the target take 3 minutes rest and repeat for 3-5 clusters of intervals.
Here’s an example:
1377 Watts (my peak power) x 0.8 = 1,100 W.
So my aim was to hit 1,000 Watts for 6 seconds with 54 seconds rest for as many sets as possible.
I managed 9 sets on my first cluster and that reduced right down to 4 intervals on set 5 by which time I was completely gassed having completed a long session at relatively high intensity.
By way of comparison had I hit this session all out from the start I would only have managed 3-5 intervals in total at or above this intensity.
Give this a go and comment with your thoughts, I’m sure there’s somebody reading this who has the time, know-how and inclination to create a percentage chart similar to prelipins for cycling that transform a lot of workouts.
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