I am new to HIIT and would like to gain the most our of it. I mostly do indoor cycling for my HIIT workouts. As I am progressing, it is better to increase resistance or increase speed ?

Use case :

Let's say right now I use resistance level 3 and reach about 28 mph during the 20 seconds interval, Should I increase to resistance level 4 while maintaining same speed or stay at the same level and increase speed ?

Thank you, Martin

  • Why not alternate and do both types of training?
    – rrirower
    Jun 15, 2015 at 12:25
  • Can you clarify what you mean by "The most out of it"? What are you trying to accomplish? If you can elaborate, you will get better answers because they are training different things.
    – JohnP
    Jun 15, 2015 at 22:04
  • What are your goals?
    – Freedo
    Jun 18, 2015 at 4:08

1 Answer 1


Focus On Rotation's Per Minute, Not Simulated "Miles Per Hour"

As a certified indoor cycling instructor and road cyclist I can tell you that simulated speed on an indoor bike is generally a bad measure as you generally aren't going to know how it is calculated and it doesn't have a good relationship with technique. Certification training instructs us that the RPM range given to our students generally shouldn't go outside of 60-100, with an admission that serious cyclists will often want to raise this to an 80-120 range (in other words I instruct the serious cyclists to attempt working at the given range +20).

The key point being that at lower RPM's you are adding potential for injury and at higher RPM's you are probably over-spinning (thus not really working AND adding potential for injury). In road cycling their is an added benefit to a good cadence that keeps you from losing energy on your strokes.

My instruction to you would depend on what you want to accomplish:

Road Cyclists:

I would tell to mix it up and aim for high RPM's on simulated sprints, and hit the lower RPM's on simulated hill climbs. The experience of getting both in would prepare their body not only for the mixed experience of the road, but to actually get adjusted to using efficient RPM's.

HIIT for primarily cardiovascular fitness

For HIIT focused primarily on cardiovascular fitness I would say to focus on the higher end of the range, probably 90-100.

HIIT for cardiovascular power

If you were hoping for a bit more power and don't really plan on ever brining it to the road then 70-80 RPM's is a solid goal that still keeps the process in the low-injury low-impact workout realm.

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