Derek Rush's Pain Cave Intervals

These workouts, which range in intensity from difficult to downright brutal, are designed specifically for cyclists who already possess a high level of fitness, those pedal pushing savages that aren't truly having fun unless they're storming the fiery trenches. So if you think you're beast enough and up for the challenge, let's fuel up the tank, prime those legs, and prepare to enter the Pain Cave.


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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 56m 40s

Stress points: 152

Zone distribution

Z1: 56m

Z2: 6m

Z3: 3m

Z4: -

Z5: 32m

Z6: 19m

48%
5%
3%
0%
28%
16%

Author: Derek Rush

VO2MAX/AC Intervals of decreasing duration but increasing power. As the power ramps up so should your cadence. By the time you hit the 10/10s you really want to be going for max rpms. This is one that takes you way outside your comfort zone, and keeps you there for the duration. After all, what better way to improve your sustained threshold power than to train above it?

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 52m

Stress points: 151

Zone distribution

Z1: 41m

Z2: 8m

Z3: 40m

Z4: -

Z5: -

Z6: 22m

37%
7%
36%
0%
0%
20%

Author: Derek Rush

2 x 20 30/30 Strength Reps @ 140%. Target cadence for these is 70-75 rpm. All movement from the hips down; push with the glutes, pull with the hammies. Concentrate on smooth pedaling form. Stay seated and grind it out. After a short break, we move on to 8 consecutive sets of 5 minute Tempo Zone Waves, each ramp culminating with a 15 second out-of-saddle effort at 175%. Again, maintain a controlled cadence, focusing on smooth transitions from seated to standing and back again. This one will hurt!

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 49m 40s

Stress points: 124

Zone distribution

Z1: 46m

Z2: 47m

Z3: 2m

Z4: 1m

Z5: -

Z6: 14m

42%
43%
2%
1%
0%
13%

Author: Derek Rush

The focus of this one is leg speed. Stay seated and wind out that cadence on each rep. We've got 3 sets of 20 micro bursts. Each rep is a short 10 seconds in length, set at 200%, and you want to be shooting for a cadence of 120+rpm. Soft pedal for 20 seconds between each. Follow this up with 45 minutes of endurance zone with 15 second bursts, seated or standing, your choice.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 52m

Stress points: 164

Zone distribution

Z1: 58m

Z2: 3m

Z3: 3m

Z4: 40m

Z5: -

Z6: 8m

52%
3%
3%
36%
0%
7%

Author: Derek Rush

5 x 8' Sweet Spot Muscle Tension Intervals @ 60-70rpm with 2' breathers. Once fatigued, you'll be going into 10 x 15/45 Maximal Seated Power Reps right into 10 x 30" Standing Form Drills. Dig deep! This one is going to hurt.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 46m

Stress points: 105

Zone distribution

Z1: 17m

Z2: 29m

Z3: 1h

Z4: -

Z5: -

Z6: -

16%
27%
57%
0%
0%
0%

Author: Derek Rush

Here we have a mix of low and high cadence work. Set at 85%, the 6 x 10 minute Tempo Intervals will be nasty grinders with a target cadence of 50 - 60 rpm. Each will be followed by 4 minutes of Endurance work at 75%, but for these you're going to ramp that cadence up to 100+ rpm.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 49m

Stress points: 145

Zone distribution

Z1: 47m

Z2: 6m

Z3: 3m

Z4: 40m

Z5: -

Z6: 13m

43%
5%
3%
37%
0%
12%

Author: Derek Rush

4 x 10' blocks at 102% of FTP with 30" recoveries, each followed up with Russian Steps of high cadence reps at 130%. Five minute rest between sets.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 42m

Stress points: 143

Zone distribution

Z1: 40m

Z2: 7m

Z3: 4m

Z4: 1m

Z5: 50m

Z6: -

39%
7%
3%
1%
49%
0%

Author:

A relentless VO2Max interval session of 50 x 1 minute reps at 115% of FTP on a limited 30 seconds rest. Don't feel bad if you throw in the sweat soaked towel. Not everyone can endure this kind of punishment.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 44m

Stress points: 120

Zone distribution

Z1: 13m

Z2: 48m

Z3: 17m

Z4: 15m

Z5: 5m

Z6: 7m

12%
46%
17%
14%
5%
6%

Author: Derek Rush

Here's something a little different. 10 x 20" standing form drills sandwiched between Cresting Waves of 20/40s. This one is harder than it looks. Trust me.

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