Long Intervals 4×4 min vs 4×8 min vs 4×16 min
What long intervals are the best to improve your Threshold Power and VO2 Max?
Today I want to research what intervals are the best for you.
What is your guess?
- 4×4 min
- 4×8 min
- 4×16 min
Testing Group and Training Protocol
35 cyclists (29 male and 6 female) with VO2 Max 52 ± 6 mL kg/min were separated into 4 groups. Training protocol was applied for 7 weeks. Intervals were prescribed at the maximal tolerate intensity.
The first group was doing only low-intensity training (8 cyclists), 4-6 sessions at low-intensity/week.
The second group (9 cyclists) was doing 2 sessions/week with 4×4 min intervals at intensity 94 ± 2 HR peak (2 min recovery between intervals) plus 2-3 low-intensity sessions/week.
The third group (9 cyclists) was doing 2 sessions/week with 4×8 min intervals at intensity 90 ± 2 HR peak (2 min recovery between intervals) plus 2-3 low-intensity sessions/week.
The fourth group (9 cyclists) was doing 2 sessions/week with 4×16 min intervals at intensity 88 ± 2 HR peak (3 min recovery between intervals) plus 2-3 low-intensity sessions/week.
Threshold improvement was highest after 4×8 min intervals, 16.2%! 9.2% after 4×16 min intervals, 8.2% after 4×4 intervals, and even 7.7% after low-intensity training.
VO2 Max Power increased by 8.5% after 4×8 min intervals, 5.2% after 4×4 min intervals, 3.0% and 2.6% after 4×16 min intervals and low-intensity training
The goal was to compare the physiological impact of intervals at the threshold and VO2 Max intensity on recreationally trained cyclists. We could see the best results for 4×8 min intervals in increasing threshold power as well as VO2 Max power. We need to take into consideration that a test group of cyclists was recreational level. That’s why we can see faster improvement in threshold and VO2 Max values.
Remember to always adjust your training plan to your needs, but it is definitely worth it, to try Polarized Training. Let me know if you need the help of a coach.