Rønnestad Study: Effects of Including Sprints in One Weekly Low-Intensity Training Session During the Transition Period of Elite Cyclists

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of including 30-s sprints in one weekly low-intensity training (LIT) session during a 3-wk transition period in elite cyclists.

I thought this was interesting, and something I’d like to incorporate during my transition phase. This is the phase between now and when I start a Sweet Spot Base plan. During this time–4-6 weeks–I will be doing strength training and endurance rides. For interest, I’ll be incorporating the workout from the study that involves 30 second sprints. I’ve designed the workout with the TrainerRoad workout builder and have uploaded it here:


Thanks for sharing, even though the only thing I have in common with the subjects is cycling LOL.

FWIW I was pretty happy with perceived results of doing 15 second sprints near the end of my 10-week resistance training phase. Didn’t try and quantify anything other than rpm and average power. Good stuff IMHO.

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Likewise! Even if it doesn’t stimulate anything physiologically it will psychologically and sometimes that’s a damn good thing. Especially when you live in MN and are strictly relegated to the trainer 5 months out of the year.

From other topic. What do you guys think about this?

well I think that study fairly conclusively shows it doesn’t matter. So you can if you want! (because it doesn’t hurt either) Well, doesn’t matter except for sprint power and even then it’s a pronounced benefit for a few and no difference for most.

I wrote an article about this recently for a magazine in the UK. My main takeaway from speaking to a bunch of coaches from national federations was that for about six weeks, just by doing regular sprinting, there’s real potential to increase your top end power fairly significantly.

After that, the gains get harder to get, but if you’re not doing any sprint training, its money on the table.


It seems to matter. Emphasis mine.

Including sprints in one weekly LIT-session in the transition period improves sprint performance and maintains 20-min all-out power and fractional utilization of VO2max without compromising mental recovery. Inclusion of sprints in LIT-sessions may therefore be a plausible, time-efficient strategy during short periods of reduced training.

Edit: Nice edit after the fact :roll_eyes:

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Yup. While doing sprint work the last month or two, my primary goal was resistance training and so mostly zone2 riding and some sprint work. The sprint work unsurprisingly improved sprint performance, and appears to have maintained longer power but I didn’t do any 20+ minute testing.

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As coincidence, even before reading this topic, started adding 20sec sprints every 20min into long Z2 rides since last week (TBHV1). 5sec power went from 700W to 960W with single week :slight_smile:

Although I suspect it’s not sudden power increase but improving muscle recruitment. I’m happy diesel and never bothered with sprints before except starting after traffic light. Will continue including them, just to spice up those Z2 rides.


:smiley: Well, let’s read past the abstract. Half the experiment group had less than no sprint improvement. A couple had a LOT of sprint improvement. I’m just guessing that couple riders that had a pretty good increase in sprint power probably didn’t do much sprint work previously. Anyhow that’s the way it goes for me.

So if you want to throw in a few sprints, go ahead. It’s not going to hurt. If you don’t normally sprint much you’ll probably see some benefit. But most likely it’s not going to matter much one way or the other.

Thats the way I read it too. For my n=1 there was some minor improvements in sprint, mostly in ability to put down power at higher cadences. So it was mostly neuromuscular. But I was still lifting heavy and moving to explosive work, and the sprint work from my point-of-view was really about balancing out all the z2 work with some top-end maintenance, while starting the process of transferring the gym work to the bike (after building muscle, work on muscle recruitment).

Is this even considered a good or great study? Calling it a Ronnestad study is a bit misleading as he is in last position. I assume that he is the phd advisor?

I disagree with the claim that the sprints “maintained” 20 minute power. The SPR group has one rider that increased his 20 minute power by 15% which pulled up the mean and average. On the other hand, they also say that 20 minute power in both groups stayed about the same. It’s contradictory.

So, either the data was faulty, the rider under tested at the beginning of the study, or he was overtrained and recovered by the end of the study. Either way a 15% bump in 20 minute power is suspect at the elite level.

I’m not sure they’re directly comparable to the study, but these types of Sprints within an Endurance ride workouts are included in the first 3-4 weeks of most of the Triathlon Base plans, if people have never checked those out. To a lesser extent they’re also in some of the Traditional Base II/III plans workouts, but not to the same extent as the Tri plan workouts (i.e. Haku, Shasta, Berryessa, Fuji, etc)–the Tri plan workouts have 20" sprints and the TB workouts are usually 10" sprints and more Form or Power/Force sprints (and not as many).

Last pos’n on the list of authors is prestigious. Better to be last than third, by far. Strange but true…

But either way I agree with your line of questioning.