Stomp Intervals

Develop that "Snap" Acceleration for Sprinting on a Bike

Stomp intervals are an effective way to develop more powerful early acceleration on your bike.

When it comes to sprinting, whether in the gallop for the line or when trying to create the separation from the bunch that results in a successful breakaway, being able to accelerate with "snap" is important if you're going to be successful.

Watch any professional bike race and the thing you notice when someone attacks is just how quickly they create a gap from the group. On the other hand, when you watch amateur bike racing, it's not uncommon to see someone try to pull steadily away from the group, with the predictable result that the lead riders in the bunch simply drift across onto their wheel, negating all the effort the attacker put into that acceleration.

Stomp intervals are one of the nearest things you can do to a one single powerful gym lift whilst on your bike (the other is standing starts). This ability to deliver maximum force quickly to the pedals is that key to the acceleration "snap" we're looking for.

The session consists of only 6 intervals.

What most people find hardest with these intervals is keeping the recovery intervals easy enough. These should be very easy. This session is not meant to address aerobic fitness, it's designed to address maximum power output, which requires that you be fully recovered before every interval.

If you're using a power meter, you should stop the session if you're more than 10 percent lower than your second interval on any subsequent interval - that means you're tired and not getting the most benefit any more.

In my notation, the "Stomp Intervals" session is written like this...

6 x Stomp (6 ALL OUT pedal strokes) Intervals on 3 minutes (zone 1 for the rest of the interval)

How to do it...

Ideally perform this workout on a turbo (if it's computerised, set the turbo to a 1-2% incline). 

You could do it on a flat road, although the vagaries of outdoor weather, traffic etc tend to complicate things a little (e.g. recovery intervals can often be too hard).

Warm up thoroughly for 20 minutes using the Roller Warm Up protocol.

  • Select a fairly high gear.
  • Slow your cadence to between 20 & 30rpm, making sure you feel connected to the drive train (i.e. don't freewheel).
  • Accelerate as hard as you can for 6 pedal strokes (3 revolutions of the pedals)
  • Cruise the rest of the 3 minutes in zone 1.
  • Repeat another 5 times
  • Cool down 5-10 minutes Easy pedalling, keeping your heart rate below 120rpm.

Why should you do intervals? Find out here.

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Will Newton


In over twenty years of coaching, I have coached everyone from absolute beginners to world champions. My interest in getting the best results for people who train for health and fitness or the love of sport, rather than as professionals, drives me to find the most effective ways to get results. My mission is simple: Be in better shape at 70 than most people are at 20, and to help you do the same.

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