OCD: Turbine Speed Intervals Drill

This drill helps improve leg speed (cadence) and power by mimicking a turbine for short on-and-off intervals. Think high intensity revving up! These intervals develop the ability to generate and process a lot of lactate, allowing the body to continue at a high level. Outdoor cyclists do these to improve their speed on the road; moving faster is a direct result of being a more powerful rider. Indoors, this drill is a very realistic high-intensity training session, one that will have your riders begging for mercy.

You will need a very good warm-up. After 8–10 minutes of easy pedaling, gradually bringing up the heart rate, do some high-cadence ladder drills for another 10 or more minutes. Perceived exertion should reach about a 7 or 8 by the end of the extended warm-up. If you have power meters, you should not exceed FTP in the warm-up (Zone 4).

This drill absolutely demands that the legs be primed, the heart be prepped, and the mind be prepared.


  1. Sister Havana by Urge Overkill, or The Pretender by Foo Fighters are songs I have done this drill to as well.

  2. I am very excited to work this into my class!

  3. Thank you! This is very helpful!

  4. Wow! just tried this at home myself “hardcore” Don’t think i could use this just yet with any of my classes. I am trying to put together a class with just racing cyclists here I beleive I could use it.

    1. Author

      yes, it is pretty hard core!
      The beauty of it is that you don’t have to make the rest of the class TOO hard. The speed work prep beforehand, maybe some moderate climbs afterward. But everyone will remember these 5 minutes (or 10 if you do 2 sets) the most. Of that 5 minutes, only 2.5 minutes are actually the *hard* work.

      I find too many instructors try to make the whole class very hard, and as a result, it’s just of bunch of mediocrity that *feels* harder than it actually is. Their HR is high but if they had a power meter they would see their average was actually lower than they think.

      A drill like this highlights the benefits of being able to push really hard for a small amount of time, but also highlights the fact that you don’t need much more than this 5-10 minutes at this level.

      Hope that makes sense!

  5. Thx Jennifer…going to be fun running this drill…challenging too!…

  6. Thank you, Jennifer. Can’t wait to do these with my riders.

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