One Minute Max Power

In doing HIIT interval training workouts like my live Superbowl Sunday Scoobervals workout, you need to know your one minute maximum power so you can most effectively do the workout. This procedure shows you how to find your one minute maximum power.

The Scoobervals workout has you doing a certain percent of your maximum power for specific durations, for example, do 80% of your max power for 3 minutes. In order to do that you need to know what your maximum is. If you just guess you will either not be challenged sufficiently or you will run out of gas too early and have to stop the workout – neither is good. Lets look at how you calibrate your power for various devices.  First a reminder though.  The Scoobervals workout is NOT for beginners.  It uses 100% of max heart rate for extended periods of time so if you have any heart issues then this workout should not be done.  It is strongly advised that you get a full physical and clearance from your physician before undergoing an extreme workout like this.

Determining your one minute maximum power

Kurt Kinetic Fluid Trainer
Bike Trainer Calibration: Lets start with the fluid bike trainers like I will be using. These have no resistance adjustment but the difficulty increases with speed just as it would on a real bike because of wind resistance. To calibrate this device, find the maximum speed that you can hold for a full minute. If you can do 32mph for the first 30 seconds but then have to drop down to 27mph for the last 30 seconds then 27mph is your maximum one minute speed. Don’t full throttle out of the staring block, try to leave a little reserve so that you can maintain a constant speed for the full minute but be completely spent at the end of the minute.

  1. Choose a speed you think you can maintain for one minute
  2. pedal for one minute
    1. If you cant hold that speed for one minute then it was too high.  Rest and try again with a lower speed
    2. If you can hold the speed the whole minute then it wasn’t high enough.  Rest and try again with a higher speed
  3. Now you have your one minute maximum power speed.  Calculate 80% of that.  For example, if your maximum speed is 30mph then your 80% max speed is 24mph.  In the workout when I say to go to your “80% max”, you start pedaling at 24mph

Stationary Exercise Bike
Stationary Bike Calibration: Many of you will be joining my class from your gyms where the stationary bike is the most common piece of cardio equipment. Calibrating your one minute maximum power is a bit different on this because it has a resistance adjustment typically a “level number”. First, decide on a rpm that you are comfortable using – that is the rpm you will be using the entire workout. For most people I would suggest 80-100rpm, personally I use 100rpm. To find your maximum one minute power:

  1. Start peddling at your target RPM
  2. Set the resistance level number to the value that you think you can maintain for one minute but no longer.
  3. Pedal for 60 seconds
    1. If your RPM drops toward the end then you chose a level number that was too high.  Rest, then try again with a lower resistance level.
    2. If you can hold the RPM the entire minute then you were not aggressive enough, rest, and try it again with a higher level.
  4. That resistance level is your one minute maximum.  For the Scoobervals workout you will need to know what 80% of that maximum level is, go ahead and calculate that now. For example if you can do level 10 at your target RPM for one minute then your 80% max is level 8.  In the workout, when I say to go to “80% max” that means set the machine to resistance level 8 at your target RPM.

eleptical

Elliptical Calibration: Many of you will be joining my class from your gyms from an elliptical machine.  Calibrating your one minute maximum power is very similar to doing it on a stationary bike at the gym.  First, decide on a rpm that you are comfortable using – that is the rpm you will be using the entire workout.  To find your maximum one minute power:

  1. Start ‘running’ at your target RPM
  2. Set the resistance level number to the value that you think you can maintain for one minute but no longer.
  3. ‘Run’ for 60 seconds
    1. If your RPM drops toward the end then you chose a level number that was too high.  Rest, then try again with a lower resistance level.
    2. If you can hold the RPM the entire minute then you were not aggressive enough, rest, and try it again with a higher level.
  4. That resistance level is your one minute maximum.  For the Scoobervals workout you will need to know what 80% of that maximum level is, go ahead and calculate that now. For example if you can do level 10 at your target RPM for one minute then your 80% max is level 8.  In the workout, when I say to go to “80% max” that means set the machine to resistance level 8 at your target RPM.

Treadmill

 

Treadmill Calibration: A lot of you have access to a treadmill, either at home or at the gym.  Calibrating the treadmill to find your one minute maximum power is a bit different because there are two factors you can adjust: your speed and the incline.   You can do the scoobervals workout on the treadmill two ways.  You can hold the angle constant and vary your running speed or hold your speed constant and vary the angle, the latter is what I would recommend.  Here is the procedure for finding your one minute maximum power using the latter:

  1. Start running at 70% of your max flats sprint speed
  2. Increase the treadmill incline such that you think you can hold your 70% speed for one  minute but no longer
  3. Run for one minute
    1. If your speed drops toward the end then the angle was too high.  Rest, and try again with a lower angle.
    2. If you can maintain the speed for the full minute, it was too easy.  Rest and try again with a higher angle.
  4. That angle is your one minute maximum.  For the Scoobervals workout you will need to know what 80% of that maximum angle is, go ahead and calculate that now.  For example if you can do 20 degrees for one minute then 80% of your maximum angle is 16 degrees.  In the workout, when I say to go to “80% max” that means set the treadmill to 16 degrees and run at 70% of your max flats sprint speed.

Modified burpee (starting position)

 

Burpees Calibration: What if I don’t have any cardio machine at all, can you still do this workout?  Yes, you can do it with burpees however you will need a metronome.  Metronome apps are easy and free to get for smart phones and computers alike.  Here is your burpee calibration procedure:

  1. Set the metronome to tick-tock out the highest rate you think you can do burpees for one minute
  2. Do burpees to the metronome beat for one minute
    1. If you cant keep up, the beat is too fast.  Rest, slow the beat down, and try again.
    2. If you can keep up, the beat is too slow.  Rest, speed the beat up, and try again.
  3. That metronome beats-per-minute setting is your one minute max.  For the Scoobervals workout you will need to know what 80% of that maximum is, go ahead and calculate that now.  For example if you can do 40 beats per minute for one minute then 80% of your maximum is 32 beats per minute.  In the workout, when I say to go to “80% max” that means set the metronome to 32 beats per minute and to do burpees at that speed.

Other Devices

I cant cover every possible cardio device but the above calibration procedures should give you an idea how you can find your one minute maximum for virtually every type of cardio you could conceive of doing.  If you are jumping rope,  you can use the burpee method.

One minute max power

8 thoughts on “One Minute Max Power”

  1. I saw a documentary called “The Truth about Exercise” by Michael Mosley which the main point was that 3 minuts of HIIT was more beneficial in regards to regulating your insulin and blood circulation and fat metabolism then steady state cardio is. it claims that approx 15% of the population gets no benefit from steady state cardio. seemed pretty legit, they ran tests including blood and DNA tests during the filming.

    they still preached the basic tenets like moving around and eating less makes a person skinnier though. it’s free to watch on youtube if anyone cares to watch and decide for themselves. it was made by a group of English doctors, im just some loser in Canada, so this is not an advertisement, i dont care if you watch it or not. just spreading knowledge

    1. Yes, great programme. Since then I’ve been doing 46 minute sessions on a stationary bike (6 min warmup, 30 min exercise, 10 min cooldown) but give 100% effort for 30s out of every 2 minutes. Best of both worlds IMO.
      The message that gentle cardio may do some people *no good at all* was essential knowledge.

    2. The trouble with a lot of those studies that show the benefits of interval training is that they focus on some very narrow thing, like insulin. The trouble is then people read that and hear what they want to hear which is that interval training is better for *everything*, no its not. The trouble with the study that you point out that says that 15% of the population gets “no benefit from steady state cardio” is that they are focused on that one little thing, the insulin. There are about 1000 other reasons to do cardio other than regulating insulin. There is a reason that the American Heart Association recommends walking (steady state cardio) to make people live longer. There is a reason that people training for Ironmans dont just do interval training and do multi-hour steady state cardio sessions, its because it makes you faster and gives you better endurance! Having said that interval training DOES have its place but its just ONE tool in the cardio toolbox, not the only one.

      1. They did suggest that exercise should be tailored to the person, based on gene tests. They tested VO2 max as well as insulin function. In a 4 year study on 1000 people made to do 4 hours exercise per week for 20 weeks. 20% of people were non-responders. 15% were super-responders.

        Gene tests showed that Dr. Mosley would be a non-responder (they hid this from him.) He did just 12 minutes of total exercise (was HIT) over 4 weeks. He had a 23% increase in insulin sensitivity – not to be sniffed at! He had no change in VO2max – as predicted by the test.

        And Scooby, you know very well that the reason Heart Associations recommend walking is that many people out and out refuse to do anything else. Maybe they would be willing to do 3 minutes of real exercise a week if they knew it did them good. Don’t you think? There was an average increase of aerobic fitness of 10% from HIT.

        Please watch the show if you can. P.S. they called it High Intensity Training, not High Intensity Interval Training. There were no intervals involved in the exercise they advocated.

        1. Raymond- what I got from his “no increase in vo2 max” was that he was only exercised 3 minutes a week, maybe you know, 30 a day woulda made him better. But in the video, he says during the second test that he could go for longer and a better pace, even if his vo max didn’t get better his cardiovascular fitness did. By mosley’s own admission in the video, he was going from a completely sedentary lifestyle to the experimental workout. Noob gains ya know

      2. Hey scooby yes I agree with you 100% I still do the steady state cardio because I love it regardless of what great or minuscule results ill get from it (says that somewhere around your site I think) but I know you and your readers are a studious bunch and might wanna check the video

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