Profile: Turbo-Charged Intervals

This challenging interval profile takes your riders into the anaerobic zone over and over (and over). You get a taste of it all with several sets of 60/60s, 30/30s, two sprints, and one final set of 40/20s, all in Zone 6 (anaerobic capacity)—except for the maximal sprinting efforts, that is. 

Here is something you’ll find hard to believe at first…just over half of the ride is spent in Zone 1, or “easy”!

I can hear it now—some of you might gasp, “Oh my! My class would kill me if I made them ride that much in Zone 1!” 

I promise you, that will not be the case with this profile. If you do the intervals at the target intensity for the target duration, your riders will not only appreciate the amount of recovery you’ve provided them, they may even want more! After this ride, they will feel fatigued yet invigorated, not completely wiped out and barely able to function. 

On the other hand, if they do not use the recoveries properly and instead ride at a higher intensity than Z1, they will be unable to hit the desired target of the work efforts over and over. They may be more likely to not finish a set. In other words, they won’t be able to TURBOCHARGE their intervals! 😀 

For this reason, this is a great profile to introduce your riders to the science of high-intensity interval training and to reinforce the importance of sufficient recovery. 

While it is challenging, it is not the most challenging high-intensity ride I’ve done. (I’ll have a second version of Turbo-Charged Intervals coming out shortly—it is slightly harder!) Nevertheless, you will want to make sure to invite your newer or less fit riders to sit out a few of the intervals or even an entire set if they need additional recovery.

A common question you’ll be asked (or may wonder yourself) is, should a less fit person do all the intervals at a lower intensity or do fewer intervals at the target higher intensity? That is a very important question that I answer in the profile. 

(Note: This is not the ride for beginners. Invite your newbies or older recreational participants to ride wherever they need to, occasionally pushing themselves as desired.)

This is a fabulous profile for those who teach with power, as it will be easier to identify the target effort.

However, if you don’t have power, then cue the efforts using perceived exertion. Riders should feel a very strong sensation of effort in the legs during the intervals and should feel breathless for the final half or third of each of the intervals. In other words, for the 60-second intervals, they should be breathless for the final 20–30 seconds. If they are breathless out the gate, they probably won’t last the full minute and/or they won’t be able to do all three of them. Each duration will require a little different pacing.

Use the “talk test” to help your class identify if they are at the correct intensity. I will often say to my class, “You should not be able to say more than one or two words by the second half of this effort. In fact, if I were to come by and ask you how you were doing, you might just grunt and throw your water bottle at me!”

Another good indication of whether they are working at the target intensity is the inability to drink water when the set is over. They should be breathing really hard at the end of the final interval of each set; it should take them 30–40 seconds to catch their breath and only then take a sip of water. If they can immediately drink water, then they probably were not riding in anaerobic Zone 6!

Let me know in the comments how you enjoy this profile. I especially like the way the playlist came out, as did my class. The song for the first set of 60/60s is on fire! I’ve used it for a consistent hard 86 rpm effort in the past but I discovered it’s perfect for three 60/60s (something that’s not easy to find in one song, I might add). The second 60/60 song is also a keeper for these high-intensity efforts, and that sprint song with the lyrics that tell you to lay down the power…killer!


  1. Finally got to this profile today. Excellent! great music choices challenging workout,the class loved it. Thank you.

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