Rønnestad Intervals

Published on 10 January 2021

In the last weeks, I've been working on my base training. However, to extend my schedule a bit and get some more variety into my workouts, I've decided to add some HIT-sessions. Right now, I'm usually doing one or two interval sessions per week, accompanied by three low to moderate intensity workouts. I started to do some 4x4s but quickly felt that I'd like to get even more variety to these workouts. Luckily, by that time I stumbled across the norwegian Rønnestad interval method, which I'll introduce to you in this post.

I'm not a sports-scientist so I'll keep it short for you. Basically, let's think about regular intervals: Their target is to deplet your maximum oxygen uptake capacity. During that, we're trying to stay on the peak power output, where vo2max is reached (Pvo2max). The norwegians then tried to ride the first part of the interval above the peak power output. Of course, you wouldn't be able to maintain this power, which is why the second part of the interval is executed below Pvo2max. What makes this interesting, is that Rønnestads field tests showed, that using this method, you could gain a higher oxygen update then if you would ride consistently at the same power. Also, the field tests showed better results regarding vo2max improvements. One thing to keep in mind though is the increase of lactate formation.

Of course, I can't compare myself to the norwegian pros, but my takeaway is that I can use this approach to make my intervals more fun, and also mentally easier to handle. When the first, more intense part is done, the rest is mentally way easier for me to finish. I'm integrating this into my workouts by doing four or five reps of four minutes HIT, followed by four minutes recovery at 50% FTP. The HIT part consists of one minute at 115% FTP and three minutes at 105% FTP. Of course, you'd need to adjust these to your individual requirements. You could also split the intervals in even parts, which again should result in a power output adjustment.

If you want to read more about interval structuring, I recommend to check out the other articles Rønnestad published. You can find an overview on Researchgate