High-intensity interval training (HIIT) alternates short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods to exhaustion. This challenging set from German pro Andi Boecherer combines multiple 30-second interval sets for a tough VO2 Max session that will help your legs resist fatigue and improve cardiac output.

Andi Boecherer on the bike at Challenge Roth, 2019. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

With a number of 70.3 titles and numerous top finishes at Ironman events in Kona and Frankfurt, Andi Boecherer manages to balance life as a dad, husband and one of the sport’s most successful pro triathletes in style. He and his wife, Corinna, use both creativity and organization to keep him on track – even before the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic he would often get his hard bike sessions done in his living room while keeping an eye on their two children. Today he shares a hard VO2 Max bike set.

Andi Boecherer at the 2019 Challenge Roth press conference

The session can last up to 90 minutes, depending on how many sets you complete. The main set is a 2 to 4 repeats of {6 x 30s hard/ 30s easy}, with 5 minutes rest between sets.

“Thirty seconds efforts is the ultimate HIIT duration,” Boecherer says in his description of the workout. “Each interval is just long enough that you can really ramp it up, but not too long that you fizzle out before it’s over.”

Here’s how the workout goes:
– Start with a good warm-up of at least 15 minutes.
– Then push your effort as hard as you can go for 30 seconds, followed by easy pedaling for another 30 seconds.
– Repeat six times in a row.
– After the final interval of each repetition, pedal easy for 5 minutes
– Repeat the entire sequence 2 – 4 times, depending on your fitness level and experience
– cool down (not too long)

Boecherer’s coach, Paul Larsen, provides some insight on the set: When we do short interval VO2max work, such as a 30s on, 30s off effort, we are working at recruiting our larger, fast twitch muscles (making them more aerobic and fatigue resistant), and also working on our heart’s cardiac output (maximum amount of blood the heart can deliver). You know you are at VO2max when you are breathing hard during a workout – you can hear the air ripping through your respiratory passages.

This workout is part of a week-long training plan available to newsletter subscribers from fe226.com.

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