3 Ways to Improve Your Fitness Fast

Cycling is a sport that often leaves participants crunched for time. Adequate training requires long hours in the saddle, a routine that conflicts with the chores of daily life and leaves most wondering if they've done enough when it's time for the next big event.

If you're feeling crunched for time and the stress of your next event is getting to you, incorporate these three quick workouts into your routine. They take 10 minutes or less and can improve your fitness in just a few short weeks.

More: 9 Post-Ride Recovery Rituals

The All-Out Sprint

You can complete this workout as part of a training ride or on a day when you don't have time to head out on the road. An indoor trainer is recommended so that you don't have to worry about traffic lights and pedestrians as you hit full speed.

Workout #1: After an easy warmup, pedal as hard as you can for 15 seconds. Alternate with easy pedaling for 1 minute. Repeat 8 times. Do this workout no more than twice per week.

More: The Basics of Lactate Threshold Interal Training

Drop the Hammer

This quick workout will test your anaerobic fitness and increase your stamina on the bike, even during long rides. This drill can be done on the road or trainer, but make sure you pick a spot with light traffic and long straightaways. Bike paths are recommended.

Workout #2: After a good warmup or in the middle of an easy training ride, pedal at 80 to 90 percent of your max effort for 45 seconds. As you get stronger, move the duration up to 1 minute. Repeat 5 times with 1 minute of easy spinning in between reps. Do no more than twice per week. Using a heart rate monitor can be useful to gauge your efforts.

More: How to Combine Bike Commuting and Interval Training

Take it to the Max

Nothing will get you in shape as quickly as testing your VO2 max. Since the duration is longer than the other workouts, an indoor trainer or bike path is recommended.

Workout #3: Pedal at an even, all-out effort for 3 to 8 minutes. The key is to have nothing left at the end. Once you can complete an 8-minute interval, do two sets of 5 minutes at the same intensity but with 5 minutes of easy spinning between sets. Slowly increase the time spent at your VO2 max until you're back up to doing 8-minute efforts (2 x 8 minutes). These will hurt, and overdoing it can lead to injury, so complete no more than once per week. You'll be prepared for race day in no time.

More: 4 Cycling Intervals That Will Make You Faster

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About the Author

Marc Lindsay

Marc Lindsay is the Cycling Editor at Active.com. When he's not at work, you can find him riding his bike. That is seriously all he does.

Marc Lindsay is the Cycling Editor at Active.com. When he's not at work, you can find him riding his bike. That is seriously all he does.

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