Just 15 minutes of high-intensity work on a spin bike can give runners a marked lift in perormance, says a new study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
Every day for two weeks, 32 long-distance runners performed six 10-second intervals of intense sprints on stationary bikes, with 30 seconds, 80 seconds, or two minutes of rest between them. The 30-second resters became 3% percent faster on a baseline treadmill test—and that’s in only 14 days.
Researchers think the short rest periods between sprints made each interval tougher and forced riders’ muscles to adapt faster, leading to faster gains in less time. “By doing cycling HIIT and taking themselves out of that comfort zone, runners can become faster,” study head Mykolas Kavaliauskas says. “Or they can do uphill sprints on a 10% grade using the same protocol.”
Cycling sprints could also be a low-impact way for runners to avoid overuse injuries, he suggests.
For three great HIIT cycling workouts, check out this workout plan.