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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 4

Post Series: Off-Season Program

It’s February and we’re now halfway through our Off-Season Base Build Program. Our local, in-house program of 45 Denver-based athletes are now beginning to feel the fitness gains! We’ve met 4 days a week, most weeks, for the last 12 weeks for indoor gym sessions, trainer sessions, and testing. A solid base of aerobic and strength training has been established in the first half of the program. We’re now prepared to build off the basic fitness and add some appropriate amounts of higher intensity work in the form of faster more powerful movements in the gym (plyometrics) as well as shorter and more powerful intervals on the bike in the sound half of the program.

This very same 24-week program is available as a downloadable training plan on Training Peaks ( 24-week Base Build Training Plan ). We also have a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan available to those that prefer a shorter, faster build of early season base fitness. Both versions allow you to follow my programming on your own where ever you live!

Block 4 makes up weeks 13-16 in the 24-weeks of our Base Build Program. You can read more about previous blocks from links at top.

Block 4: Gym Sessions

After reaching Peak Strength in end of Block 3, we now have new one-rep maxes (1RM) in the Back Squat and Deadlift in hand. In Block 4 we re-set our training loads for the second half of the Base Build Program to make further progressions is strength. With new 1RMs established in both, we can target the exact loads more confidently while following a second strength build. This second build incorporates a lower volume rep scheme to make room for the addition of single-extremity stability movements and increased time spent on power-based plyometric movements in the second half of the base build.

Sets & reps in the strength moves will reduce, as we include more stability movements and increase plyometric loads.

The strength session programming will remain as 2 sessions per week. Session formatting will include a “heavy day” in the Back Squat in Session #1 of the week with “stability movements” in the hip-hinging category, similar to deadlifting. Inversely, Session #2 of the week is a “heavy day” in the Deadlift, with stability movements with the knee-extension & glute firing emphasis achieved  through squatting movements.

Following a warm-up and prior to the strength work, every session will include plyometric movements to activate and train the more powerful muscle fibers. Block 4 will include movements including basic box jumps, depth jumps, and floor jumps.

To finish sessions off, we include more complex stability/core movements like Heavy Carries, Renegade Rows, and Turkish Get-Ups to train the total body stability and strength through cross-lateral coordination. All combined, the strength work becomes more dynamic in the second half of the program while building off of the strength base that was established in the first half.

Block 4: Structured Trainer Sessions

As mentioned in previous installments, our Base Build program gradually increases intensity as fitness develops. We started by training the low-end “multi-hour” intensities through aerobic intervals, followed by aerobic-strength intervals in Blocks 1 & 2, respectively.  Block 3 progressed to Anaerobic Threshold intervals that targeted your 64:00-32:00 power output. Block 4 now progresses to intervals targeting your 8:00 to 16:00 power outputs that correspond to your Vo2 Max energy system.

With our shorter durations Vo2 Max intervals in Block 4 we maintain the same duration of work throughout the training block. We’ll target the specific power outputs, as determined through our testing protocol and calculations, of “Max 8:00 Power” (broken into 4 intervals) & “Max 16:00 Power” (also broken into 4 intervals). As we adapt to the work being performed each week, we gradually reduce the recovery interval duration in week 2, followed by another reduction in recovery durations in week 3. This model assumes each individual is adapting to the work from the previous week.

Adaptations to training can be seen by referencing HR in the training sessions. Using HR along with Power is critical to training effectively and knowing when to increase loads, or when to reduce loads in favor of more recovery. By using only power in training you miss a huge piece of the puzzle in terms of your body’s physiological response to the work you’re performing.

Remember, you don’t want to train any harder than necessary to achieve individual session goals. You may be able to “go harder” to achieve the desired power output, but if it comes at the cost of too much stress on the body, you only increase the recovery time required between sessions, and walk the line of doing too much and becoming overly fatigued (ie. sick or injured).

Heartrate Monitors allow us to see how we’re responding to the work (power) we’re applying. From session to session we want to see similar, if not slightly lowering, HRs at the end of intervals and during recovery between intervals. This indicates “status quo” and you’re adapting to the stress being applied. Unusually high HRs indicates maladaptation (fatigue, dehydration, stress, etc); ie. you must work harder to achieve the same power. HRs remaining higher than expected in recoveries between intervals also can indicate maladaptation; body is fatigued and struggling to recover from same efforts. Positive adaptations can be indicated by similar, or slightly lower, HRs at end of intervals, as well as fast drops in HR in recovery intervals; ie. the work you’re preforming (power output) is becoming easier for you to perform.

Assuming you’re adapting, we gradually increase training loads through recovery interval manipulation. Over the course of Block 4, by reducing the recovery durations between work intervals, we allow less time for HR to lower and physiological by-products to clear. We must begin the next interval in more fatigued state and thus can “get into” the proper training zone more quickly and therefore increasing the training load and stress applied to the body. This gradual increase in load should provide the stimulus for adequate growth and keep to far of over-reaching to minimum. This all in turn keeps the stress management aspect in check, recovery achievable, and consistency in tact and less likeliness of missing workouts to a minimum.

Here’s how it will look in our Wahoo Kickr Trainer Studio at Sessions:6…

Session 1

    • Set 1: 4×2:00 @ 8:00 power (2:00 recoveries)
    • Set 2: 4×4:00 @ 16:00 power (3:00 recoveries)

Session 2

    • Set 1: 4×2:00 @ 8:00 power (2:00 recoveries)
    • Set 2: 4×4:00 @ 16:00 power (3:00 recoveries)

Session 3

    • Set 1: 4×2:00 @ 8:00 power (1:30 recoveries)
    • Set 2: 4×4:00 @ 16:00 power (2:00 recoveries)

Session 4

    • Set 1: 4×2:00 @ 8:00 power (1:30 recoveries)
    • Set 2: 4×4:00 @ 16:00 power (2:00 recoveries)

Session 5

    • Set 1: 4×2:00 @ 8:00 power (1:00 recoveries)
    • Set 2: 4×4:00 @ 16:00 power (1:00 recoveries)

Session 6

    • Set 1: 4×2:00 @ 8:00 power (1:00 recoveries)
    • Set 2: 4×4:00 @ 16:00 power (1:00 recoveries)

 

Block 2: Endurance Sessions

As in Block 3, one or two longer duration outdoor rides each week is ideal. If the weather is not great for riding outdoors, taking things inside to the trainer can be an option; as can other outdoor aerobic activities like skiing, running, etc. to get the aerobic benefits.

Maintaining aerobic-strength through over-gear climbing intervals (as we did in Block 2 of this program) is very effective both indoors and out this time of year. Performing 3-10 minute intervals, adding up to 20-40 minutes of total time of intervals is good place to be. Specific sessions are provided in our downloadable training plans.

Your aerobic & strength base has been established in Blocks 1-3. More power in the gym and more power on the bike is the theme for Block 4. 

 

Interested in giving it a try yourself?

• Download our complete 24-week Base Build Program on Training Peaks HERE.

Download our more condensed 12-week Base Build Program on Training Peaks HERE.

Programs include:

•All the strength training details, including videos and set/rep schemes and calculated loads specific to your ability.

•Full Testing Protocol and Training Zone Calculator to identify HR and Power zones and track progress.

•Structured training sessions uploadable to your app of choice (Zwift, Wahoo, Garmin, Trainer Road, etc.)

•Bonus weekend training ride suggestions for either indoors or out.

 

 

Written by Cody Waite, professional endurance athlete, endurance sport coach and founder of Sessions:6 Sport Performance. Looking for help with your endurance sport training? Check out S:6’s Training Plans, Team Programs, and  Personal Coaching options created to fit your needs and budget.

 

 

 

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