Sub-1hr bike session: Tank emptier

An old-school turbo session for intermediate athletes that’s no-nonsense, effective and adaptable

Sub-1hr bike session: Tank emptier

This session for intermediate athletes is under an hour but, as with all turbo sessions, having all your kit set up and ready to go is key to maximising time efficiency. 


For this session you’ll need: a bike, gym bike or rollers. Check out our recent guide to choosing a turbo trainer here.

Tank emptier


10mins building through Zones 1-2; 5mins alternate spinning up for 10secs (120 RPM+, low gear and low resistance) with easy recovery riding

Main session

2 x [1min flat-out, 4mins easy, 2mins flat-out, 3mins easy, 3mins flat-out, 2mins easy, 4mins flat-out, 1min easy]


5mins easy spinning, followed by a stretch.

Main benefits

Performance benefits

It’s a mentally tough session, especially the second time through, as your hard efforts increase in duration and your recoveries go down. If you can dig deep on that second 4min effort, you can be confident on race day that you’ll be able to empty the tank.

Don’t worry about heart rate or power as the efforts are maximal but, if you know what sort of numbers you can sustain for the time periods prescribed, you can use this knowledge to help judge pacing.

Mental benefits

It teaches you how to pace a hard effort, recover and go again. Plus, how to push when fatigued. This is great for hilly or rolling bike courses.

Physiological benefits

This session works through and develops a variety of riding intensities, from anaerobic capacity, through VO2 and into threshold as you fatigue during the second set. This is a workout structure that has stood the test of time, is still used at the highest level of cycling and will make you a stronger rider.

Adapt for Ironman

Use the same structure but with a 10min block. So, you’d start with 1min flat-out and 9mins easy, then 2mins flat out and 8mins easy, and so on.


For four more winter turbo trainer sessions head here.