Now that you know about the physiological adaptations of VO2 Max intervals, here are five different profiles for introducing VO2 max intervals. Each one is progressively harder. Also provided are some modifications for your students who are still not ready to go to this intensity for very long. This is important if you have classes that aren’t always the same students.
In the previous article on VO2 max, you learned about the physiological adaptations that take place when you do intervals at this very hard intensity for at least four minutes. When you train at VO2 max intensity for the prescribed duration, you will induce adaptations that enhance your ability to train here.
It’s as simple as that: to get better at something, you’ve got to do that something!
But as I stressed in the first article, this intensity—especially for that long—is not for everyone.
Begin with just one or two at this intensity, and then gradually increase the number. After you’ve increased the number of VO2 max intervals, you can begin increasing the duration. Spending a longer time at this intensity this far above lactate threshold is much harder than doing more shorter ones. You risk degrading the quality of the interval if riders aren’t properly prepared through a progressive introduction to this intensity.
Before introducing these intervals, make sure your riders have a solid aerobic base. How do you know they have an aerobic base? You should know their history. Have they been attending your classes for a long time? Have they developed the ability to work at a moderately hard intensity for an extended period of time? Can they sustain a threshold intensity for at least 20 minutes? Then they are probably ready to at least try some of these. If they are outdoor cyclists who ride several hours at a time once or twice a week, then they have even more of a base.
In the profiles below, I also give you some suggestions for modifying the effort for your newer and/or less fit students.