Workout of the Week: Cool Your Jets

This short HIIT session can be used by cyclists or runners to work on power without putting too much stress on the body.

Man running along a bridge

As many of us are aware, the key principle that leads to success in training is consistency. Remember: The most important training session is the next session. 

This workout is great if you’re short on time and want a HIIT stimulus to refresh your system without taxing you. It can be inserted into just about anyone’s program, especially when you’re fatigued or under high training volume. If it’s done on the bike, the neuromuscular load or musculoskeletal strain will be low (cycling is a concentric activity unlike eccentric running). And the anaerobic response is low also due to the interval ratio.

RELATED: Understanding Stress and Its Impact on Your Athletic Potential

So with the workout below, I’d like to show you how you can remove a physiological target by altering the work-to-pause ratio of a session. I’m going to lower both the anaerobic response (lactate and hydrogen ions) and neuromuscular response (think muscle damage/soreness) in this workout. And how do we do that? Well, it’s a little physiological trick discovered in the 1950s when scientists found that a protein in the muscle—very similar to hemoglobin in the blood—could rapidly absorb oxygen when the muscle relaxed. The protein is called myoglobin. It simply needs time to work its wonderful magic, such as time between efforts.

In the main set of this workout, we’re only working hard (Zone 5-6) for 10 seconds and resting (walking or spinning the legs) for 20 seconds, as shown below. 

The session can allow you to tick the box of doing something that is going to signal for adaptation, yet stress stays low. With this Cool Your Jets session, you’re enabling the key goal of consistency. It could be one of your most important training sessions, largely because it’s one that will allow you to do the next session. 

Workout of the Week: Cool Your Jets 


5-15 min. easy spin or jog 

Main set 

2-4 sets of: 

  • 9 × 10 sec. hard (Z5-6)/20 sec. easy (Z1) 
  • 3 min. easy, steady recovery between sets (Z2) 


Jog or spin 5-15 min. in Zone 1 or 2

This workout is derived from research and a philosophy that is summarized at HIIT Science. At HIIT Science, our philosophy takes a physiologically targeted approach to training using a simple model.

While the underpinnings and mechanisms of exercise can be made incredibly complex by us scientists, we try to make things as simple as possible so we can wrap our heads around why we might want to do certain types of workouts on any given day. When we know the basic science of how exercise works, it can be an incredibly empowering tool you can use as an athlete or coach to get the most out of your workouts.