VO2 max interval protocol that works best for most

Please vote for the interval type that you’ve personally seen best results with and/or do most frequently these days.

  • 6 mins * x times (no hard start)
  • 5 mins * x times (no hard start)
  • 4 mins * x times (no hard start)
  • 8 mins * x times; with shorter (2-min) rest; Seiler style (no hard start)
  • 6 mins * x times (hard start)
  • 5 mins * x times (hard start)
  • 4 mins * x times (hard start)
  • Shorter than 4 mins * x times (no hard start)
  • Shorter than 4 mins * x times (hard start)
  • Longer than 6 mins * x times (typical rest; hard start)
  • Longer than 6 mins * x times (typical rest; no hard start)
  • 30/15 Ronnestad-style
  • HIDIT (decreasing high-intensity interval training protocol)
  • Other (comment)
0 voters

If you wish, please comment on what results you’ve seen and the reasons for choosing this particular protocol. Thank you!

High cadence hard start intervals done to max repeatable power but prioritizing cadence and breathing being high over power being high.

Generally aim for ~20m of interval time with individual interval length being determined by fatigue. Could be anywhere from 4-5x 5m to 7x3m or 10x2m.

Rest periods are generally around 1x1 but can be longer if fatigued.

Generally done in a 2ish week block with highly concentrated blocks surrounded by extremely easy riding.


Sounds very simlair to kollie moores approach

That’s pretty much exactly what it’s based on and has worked well for me + a couple others. I do some tweaks to it but it largely follows what he recommends.

It is in my experience a very mentally tough block and you absolutely cannot add intensity outside of it without blowing up but I have had some of my best fitness gains following a hard block and proper recovery.


Any specific heart rate target?

Check my first comment above, it is a hard start.

As for hr target I will look at it after the workout but the focus for me here is forcing maximum breathing among some other things.

For more in depth info check out the empirical cycling episodes on vo2 max.


A question for those who experimented with different cadences: have you really seen greater results with higher cadences?

The point of the high cadence is to get you into the zone faster and then keep you there. With lower cadences, it can take longer to get your heart and breathing up.


The reasoning for higher cadence is that it lowers the contribution of muscular strength and places more demand on your cardiovascular system (at least in theory).

I generally aim for 110-115 rpm.

I would give a listen to watts doc 23 for more info (I think that’s the episode at least) the whole vo2 series is 17-24.


That’s interesting! So would you say that as long as one can get a HR up high quickly, there is no added benefit to higher RPM? I really hope someone with a better understanding of physiology can help me understand this.

The reason I ask is that I use an air bike (Bells of Steel) that does’t allow for adjusting resistance. Instead, the faster you spin the more resistance there is. In other words, every RPM value has a corresponding power. I can get my HR high on it very fast (similar to running very fast; but faster than regular cycling I’d say), but RPM always stays very low, even at high watts. E.g. a sweet spot workout at 260 watts can be just 59 RPM. So If my goal is purely VO2 max from the perspective of general fitness( not to compete in cycling), I wonder if I’m leaving something on the table by not using different equipment OR if I already maximize the training effect as long as I get to 90%+ MaxHR quickly enough and stay there (even if RPM stays low). I hope this question wouldn’t be considered an off-topic on a cycling forum! :slight_smile:

I’m listening to the episode right now. Thanks for sharing!

I can’t vote based on your choices so picked other.

I went 6minx3- > 5x4 → 4x5 → 3:30x6 → 3x7 in my recent block of 9 workouts. All with a hard start to around 140-150% FTP for 20s. Maintain Cadence 115 to 125. No explicit power target other than gasping for breath barely able to finish at the end of an interval, and struggling to keep power up at the end. No Erg mode. Rest between intervals up to 2x duration.

I think you should go read through some of the prior VO2 Max Threads, there are some good ones that cover some of your questions.


Nope. Two other significant benefits:

  1. The increased muscle pump effect from the high cadence helps increase cardiac preload; and

  2. The reduction in muscular fatigue helps in individual workouts but also across multiple workouts in a block.


4x8min @ 110%, 4 min rest

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Anything without a hard start is just wasting time not at vo2.


I really like doing 5x5min with about 10min rests, high cadence of 105-115, semi-hard start but nothing too drastic. For example I could average 470-490W for the first minute, settle in a slightly lower power, and end up at around 450W for the 5min duration.

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At least according to Kolie, if your goal is to maximize the VO2Max adaptations, those rest intervals are way too long.

Dont get me wrong, I’m sure it’s a hard workout, but it’s not delivering the max benefit. If you want to know more, listen to the Empirical Cycling podcast posted above.

Mate, I am literally coached by one of the EC coaches :smiley: I rest as long as it takes to go MAX again. Sometimes 8min, sometimes 11min, on average 9-10min. Shorter than 7-8min and the interval quality is worse.


Interesting. I know KM says to make your rest intervals as long as you need to complete the next interval, but he also says to start shorter than you think. Knowing that, I’m kind of shocked to hear yours is 10 mins!


I can validate @visa.k his coach definitely says to take as long as you need to recover for the next effort, if you’re going max you need to recover. Same coach has also suggested recently I do 2 6x4 workouts in a day to overcome a bit of a plateau, so I don’t necessarily love his advice for self preservation reasons

In my last block I generally did rest intervals twice as long as the work intervals.


This is really interesting to me because it seems to go against what KM says. Thanks to you both for sharing! Always learning.

Big surprise to find out we’re all individuals :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: