Workout of the Week: Neuromuscular Hill Sprints 

There are many ways to do sprint workouts, but this is one of my favorites.

Two cyclists performing hill sprints around the Dolomites.
Photo: Summits

Neuromuscular hill sprints are a good workout almost anytime during the race season or late base—especially if you’re a crit rider or your races tend to finish in a pack. But they can be a particularly good workout to use a few weeks out from a target event to get that final boost to your power.  

Of course, sprint intervals will help your ability in the final 200 meters of a race, but there’s also some evidence that says they benefit all energy systems (even your aerobic endurance), leading some researchers to say they are the perfect one-hour workout. But it’s important to point out that most of that research was with untrained individuals. So, if you’re an experienced cyclist, don’t expect miracles. 

RELATED WORKOUT: Neuromuscular Power-Ups 

Remember that aerobic training can blunt anaerobic strength gains, so aim to keep the workout to an hour or less door-to-door. Find a one-minute hill with a 4-6% grade and little to no traffic. Make sure you’re starting from the same place for each rep. You can either do a standing or rolling start. 

For each rep, sprint as hard as you can up the hill for 20 seconds. You should be gasping for air at the end of the sprint. Turn around, roll back down, and recover with minimal pedaling for at least 2 to 3 minutes. Try to extend your finishing spot with each sprint. 

To add an extra neuromuscular component, do a “gear pyramid” variation. Start in too easy a gear, such as a 39-23 depending on the grade. Then do your next seven sprints as: -21, -19, -17, -17, -19, -21, -23. You should spin out your easiest gear and find it hard to get on top of your biggest. 

Workout of the Week: Neuromuscular Hill Sprints 


10-15 min. easy riding 

Main set 

2 sets: 

8 × 20 sec. sprints on 4-6% grade 
2-3 min. minimal pedaling between reps 

10 min. set rest 


10-15 min. easy riding