The World's Best Spin Bike HIIT Workout: How To do 8:12 Intervals

For teams sport athletes, long steady-state continuous exercise doesn't offer a huge amount of benefit when it comes to sporting specific fitness. A much better option is to do high-intensity interval training or HIIT.

The best way to get match fit

Without a doubt the best form of HIIT is actually just playing your sport.

Playing, competing, scrimmaging, training, these are going to directly mimic what you'll do on the court, field, or ice when it comes time to compete. The next best option for athletes who run as the main movement modality in their sport is to do running based conditioning work, with workouts like Game Fit, or repeat sprint training. But the problem is our tendons and bones can't handle as much hard running and ground reaction forces as we might like to do when developing fitness (this is especially true when returning from an injury).

There needs to be some form of interval training that can help develop our fitness without adding more ground reaction force loading to our bodies. This is where spin bike training comes in. 8 and 12's on a spin bike are the next best way to develop anaerobic fitness, pushing our heart and lungs without adding extra miles into our legs.

We particularly like 8:12s because the work period (eight seconds) is short enough that you aren't likely to "coast" through it, giving each sprint a really high level of effort, and the rest period (12 seconds) is short enough to not enable full recovery. It's a fitness-building, sweat-generating, fat-burning hell - which is why we love it! (There is also great research backing up its effectiveness).

How to do the bike workout

First download The Core Advantage Interval Timing app. It is available for free on phone and tablet for both iOS and Android and has a pre-built timer specifically for doing 8:12s. (Link to download at the bottom of this page).

The Core Advantage app. Available for free on phone and tablet for both iOS and Android

Next, have a quick foam roll and stretch to warm up, then set the seat to hip height (or slightly above), strap your feet in and start peddling.

Jump up on the bike and set a warm-up of between three and five minutes in the Interval timer, set the workout cycles to 30, which will give you 10 minutes of work and start pedalling.

The app has bells to let you know each round has started and stopped, and the screen is colour coded, white for the warm-up, green for go and red for rest.

The trick is you want to be sprinting all for the entirety of that eight second green screen. So you need to use the last three seconds of the rest countdown to increase the gear and start peddling faster before the bell chimes to start the next interval (we call this a flying start).

Keep peddling all the way until the screen turns red to end the interval and only then can you slow down your legs, lower the gear, and rest for a few seconds. Repeat this for 30 rounds.

Tips for your first time doing 8:12s

Don't push it all the way to spew city.

Work hard, but also leave a little bit in the tank during the sprints. As you get fitter and more accustomed to the workout, increase the number of rounds you do and push them harder with either more resistance or faster leg speeds.

30 rounds is more than enough for your first workout (even 15-20 is fine), then build slowly by adding 3-5 reps per workout. The record at Core Advantage is 120 rounds completed consecutively - and it didn't look like fun!

Download the Core Advantage Interval timer for free:

The easiest way to time this workout is with the Core Advantage Interval timer, a smartphone app you can get for free.


If you are interested in improving your running technique or sprinting speed, our Ultimate athlete newsletter has some great tips and tricks to improve your running efficiency.
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