VO2Max, 30/15 or Classic 3-8m

Getting a VO2Max blog together and curious: When training VO2Max, Which do you utilize more: 30/15s (or something similar with 2:1 work to rest ratio) or classic 3-8m intervals? Or a hybrid??

@mcneese.chad / @Nate , I’m not familiar with every single TR plan in and out; does the platform favor one type of interval versus the other? Maybe depends which plan or where in the plan progression the athlete is?

Thanks so much everyone! Please vote! And if you don’t do a ton of VO2Max, if you hear that term, which type of interval do you think of?

  • 30:15
  • Classic 3-8 minute
  • Hybrid

0 voters

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I do solely 30/30 these days.

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I think you wanted to address Chad, the head coach, right? If so, his forum name is @chad. :slight_smile:

In terms of hybrid, what do you have in mind when you use the term? A combination of long and short interval VO2 workouts within a training cycle? Or deviations for the suggested options? Like longer and shorter respectively.


I find short stuff much easier than longer stuff. Most people will do a mix, starting with short stuff and building up interval length over several weeks.


Yup, I was about to post the same. Coach Chad Timmerman is @ Chad (without the space).

I am just the forum rat and not a TR employee.


Yeah, though I guess you are pretty knowledgeable about the matter too. :slight_smile:

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I chose “Hybrid” as I follow the TR stuff, which is usually a planned progression of 60 second with 1:1 work:recovery, that adds roughly 30 seconds each week in a similar program. Eventually you get up to the 3+ minute versions, and those start to drop from the 120% FTP target and go down based on the duration of the interval. But Coach Chad has added in quite a few of the shorter on/off style VO2 as well, so there is a pretty wide range in play, depending on exactly which plans you review.

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I prefer a hard-start VO2max approach. Something like Dorr +5


I vary.

Racing (on the rare occasions when I actually do) demands both the repeatability of short duration efforts and sustained steady punches.

I’m not big on 30/15, but I have done what I think of as “swimming sets” on the trainer to avoid the mental stress of solid 3-8 min efforts. something like 5 x 2:00 or 10 x 1:00 on :15 rest – doing them at around 110% FTP gets HR, breathing, and subjective fatigue signals (“oh my god imma gonna puke”) in the same register as continuous efforts, and I find the micro-breaks help.


I hate them all equally! Lol but I like the workouts with 60sec 120% at a 1:1 rate. I know that’s not true vo2 workout but like others I feel like gradually increasing interval duration helps me as opposed to jumping right into 3min efforts

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i was actually tagging Nate since we’ve chatted a few times before, but the more opinions the merrier! Thanks @nate and @chad! I tagged @mcneese.chad since he’s on a lot of these threads. Still learning over here! Appreciate your help @Triathlete

Meant hybrid in terms of doing both. Great Q!


As a 55 year old I do a customized Bluebell which consists of 3 sets of 5 by 1min on 1min off @115% with 5min recoveries between sets.

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Good stuff! I mostly do 2-3 minute jobbers at 120% and 8 minute jobbers at around 110%.

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Hybrid - I like the adaptations and ability to complete 30/30 and 30/15s indoors, but feel the longer intervals better represents what I will do when actually riding the bike. I’d say race specific but not always about a race, sometimes just need to go hard for 2-5 min to make it over a hill or keep up with a buddy.

More specifically, for indoor training I lean toward 30/30 or shorter VO2max intervals up to 4-5 min and then lengthen things out in to the 5-10 min range when riding moves outside.

My training tends to have at least one formal VO2max session per week and I know the off road rides generate a fair amount but haven’t quantified it.

Hope that helps,



I think most people here will follow a TR plan, which means a hybrid.

30/15s are real killers. Not found on most training plans.

I find 30/15s at 120% to be harder than 30/30s at 130%.


30:15 and 30:30 are more Tabata style in my view, with the 30 being done at quite a bit above VO2max power.

When these shorter intervals are done at VO2, I think they are a little too easy.

The 2-8 min intervals are the ones I think of when I think VO2 workouts. With the 2 min intervals being done at VO2 power, and the 8 min intervals being done a few % above FTP.

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I did several blocks with intermittent intevals in the last few years. 30/30s, 40/20s, 60/30s. And I could always increase my wattage in these interval sets. However, this never translated into better race performance. Many of my shorter races are very vo2 dominant with climbs in the 3-8min range.

I don’t know but perhaps this “being easier on the mind” is one of the disadvantages of these intervals. You may improve your physiology but not your mental pain tolerance. And especially at high intensity the mental game is important. And that needs training as well. The book by Laursen&Buchheit mentions that more elite athletes tend to longer intervals, while the lower ranks tend to the shorter ones. Perhaps the elites have to train more their minds than their bodies. Or probably both. And being tough is simply a main characteristic of those up there.

I’m just glad I’m more into long distance so I don’t have to deal with this in more depth.


You probably know him, but Jem Arnold has lots of good info and testing about VO2Max on his blog.
Maybe you’ll find some extra idea’s for your own write up.

Based off of his info I started to try more Hard start intervals.


depending on my goals/where my season is at. Generally I will follow a progression from the 30/30 off, all the way to the 3min efforts like spencer. From there I try to shorten the rest periods towards a 2:1 work ratio.

given the specificity of the riding/racing around my area my top end vo2 workouts are Keith, where you need to surge into vo2 and settle back into threshold

I’m totally a Classic guy (aka Hardman :laughing: ).

Last VO2 sesh I did was a Rattlesnake redux – 4x8min hard start descending power, no rest intervals.

I’ve done both types of VO2 workouts, intermitting and steady state, but I definitely enjoy(?) the Classic style more. My physiology/kinetics is better suited to the longer intervals. And, during my racing career, those types of efforts, puncheur type hills, were my bread and butter, so I kinda have a soft spot for them.

I’ve read all the same VO2max literature everyone else has so I’m sure doing 30/15 et al workouts would be beneficial for me in some manner and shouldn’t be discounted.