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Turn Up the TORQ: The Many Benefits of Interval Training at Flywheel

By May 27, 2014 2 Comments

prefly-fuel-main-580Remember that first Flywheel class that you came to? The one that you left asking your friends, “WTF have we been doing in our old indoor cycling class?! That was SO much more intense!!” For some, this class may seem like ages ago. However, you may still be wondering why your workout at Flywheel is just that much better. Of course, there’s a reason. It comes down to the foundation of our rides, something you may not even realize. It’s Interval Training.

Interval training is not new. In fact, elite cyclists have been using this type of training for decades. But when Ruth Zukerman started Flywheel, she knew that the benefits were so powerful that she built her empire around this super intense and athletic training regimen.

Interval training is different than endurance training because it involves massive bursts of activity (think, 25 on the Torq and RPMs at 75-80 for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds of recovery), as opposed to long sustained effort. Flywheel classes literally FLY in the face of traditional indoor cycling because of our focus on high intensity intervals. These intervals are so killer, that if you hit the 30-60 second bursts that our highly experienced instructors are trained to throw your way, you’ll achieve maximum benefits.

We use intervals in all of our Flywheel classes because overall, they push our riders to spend more time doing high intensity activity than they could in a single sustained effort (like old indoor cycling classes). In Flywheel classes, we go harder during the intervals so riders’ legs have to recruit more muscle fibers, resulting in massive increases in total calorie burn, power output, and whole body cardiovascular improvements. Our instructors have the ability to use the Flywheel Tech Pack to guide riders to hit specific RPM goals at specific Torq ranges, so when our riders push during an interval, they do not need to guess how hard to work. Most indoor cycling classes use interval training, but the reason Flywheel bikes are different on the physiological level is because of the abilities our tech gives us to be specific and accountable.

The Flywheel method is also about building strong, but lean muscles. When we do ask for intervals with heavier resistance, they are quick bursts—we do not keep the rider there long enough to make building bulk possible. When we do give longer intervals, the torq level is at a more moderate level allowing us to burn fat.

A few fun facts. In a 45 minute Flywheel class you:

  • Are guaranteed to sustain a 24 hour metabolic burn similar what you would experience if you had done a much longer endurance session.
  • Could double your endurance capacity compared to a long seated endurance ride.
  • Will torch over 30% more fat than endurance sessions (because intervals encourage the growth of more mitochondria in the muscles and those new powerhouses are trained to burn more fat as fuel)!
  • Improve the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to working heart and skeletal muscles, reduce blood pressure and improve fasting glucose!

So, when your instructor tells you to crank the torq or push your RPMs, try it! That extra effort will literally change your body…your day…your life. #NeverCoast

How endurance training benefits your physical and mental health.

Rachele Pojednic is a Flywheel Boston Instructor and PhD Research Fellow at the Institute for Lifestyle Medicine at Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School. Her passion is to teach people to live strong, healthful lives by eating good food and moving every day. She blogs at and is on twitter at @strongprocess.