Spring is on the horizon and we’re 2/3 complete with our Off-Season Base Build Program with the final 1/3 coming up! I’m not going to lie, the last 8 weeks have been challenging for our 45 in-house athletes training with us Monday-Thursdsay each week. The middle third of our program is perhaps the most challenging on the bike with Anaerobic Threshold intervals (block 3) and even more so the Vo2 Max intervals twice weekly (block 4). Combine that with continued resistance training on Mondays and Wednesdays and you can see how the training load is reaching a peak. See exactly how we structured our Vo2 Max intervals on the bike in our previous post in this series: Block 4.
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!
Our upcoming Block 5 makes up weeks 17-20 in the 24-weeks of our Base Build Program. You can read more about each previous block from links at top.
Block 4: Gym Sessions
We reached a peak in strength in our primary hip/knee extension movements, the Back Squat & Deadlift, back at the end of Block 3. In Block 4 we dialed it back some to begin another rebuild in strength, although on a much lower volume progression to leave for strength for the increasingly challenging progression on the bike. This is achieved by splitting the two weekly strength days with a “heavy” movement and a “stability” movement with a squat and hip-hinging deadlift emphasis.
Mondays include a “heavy” Back Squat combined with a single-leg or alternative hip-hinge movement; while Wednesdays include a “heavy” Deadlift combined with a single-leg or alternative squat movement.
In Block 5 well continue the similar formatting of sessions for the Strength & Stability work. Prior to the Strength & Stability sets, we include a Plyometric set of movements to train the more explosive end of power production. In Block 4 we focused on a variety of floor jumps, box jumps for max height, and depth jumps to learn proper landing mechanics before progressing to rebounding. Up next is a plyometric progression to box jump with rebounding and an increase in repetition speed and quickness. We’ll also introduce full-body explosive movements with heavy ball-throws: forward throws, lateral throws & backward throws.
Heavy ball-throws utilize every muscle in your body to generate power all at once; incorporating three different throws allows us to address anterior, posterior and lateral power development for complete stability and coordination!
Block 5: Structured Trainer Sessions
Upon conclusion of Block 4 we included our third round of testing to track progress and adjust training zones. Lots of fitness gains are made across blocks 3 & 4 through the Anaerobic Threshold and Vo2 Max intervals. If you complete most of these sessions across the 7 weeks of training, you are guaranteed improvement!
If unfamiliar with our testing protocol, we perform four test intervals to allow us to look at fitness from both ends: Aerobic & Anaerobic. In the first two blocks of training we look for improvements in Aerobic fitness; in blocks 3 & 4 we often see a blend of improvements in both Aerobic fitness (from Anaerobic Threshold intervals) and in Anaerobic Power (from the Vo2 Max intervals). The final blocks of the program typically bring improvements primarily on the Anaerobic end with the Anaerobic Power intervals and Peak Power intervals.
Through our recent testing, we have identified our exact 1:00, 2:00 and 4:00 powers that make up our Anaerobic Power energy system. These are the exact powers we are going to train in Block 5. As always, we will break up the max-power durations into smaller segments (intervals) to allow us to train these power outputs in the correct amounts for applying stress to adapt to, while minimizing the recovery time so we can maintain consistency through recovery, adaptation and avoidance of illness or injury.
Anaerobic Power is the focal point for Block 5. We’re talking 1:00-4:00 maximum power!
Anaerobic Power is high-intensity training and requires adequate recovery between intervals to allow for achieving target powers over repeated intervals. The work to rest ratio is around 1:3. This is an increase in recovery from 4:1 in Anaerobic Threshold and 1:1 (or less) in Vo2 Max. In previous blocks we’ve kept the amount of work the same while gradually reducing recovery interval durations between work intervals to increased the training load. Within Anaerobic Power we’ll instead add additional work intervals while maintaining the recovery intervals to progressively increase the training load as riders adapt.
Here’s how Block 5 will look in our Wahoo Kickr Trainer Studio at Sessions:6…
Week 1, Sessions 1 & 2
- Set 1: 4×0:15 @ 1:00 power (0:45 recoveries)
- Set 2: 4×0:30 @ 2:00 power (1:30 recoveries)
- Set 3: 4×1:00 @ 4:00 power (3:00 recoveries)
Week 2, Sessions 1& 2
- Set 1: 5×0:15 @ 1:00 power (0:45 recoveries)
- Set 2: 5×0:30 @ 2:00 power (1:30 recoveries)
- Set 3: 5×1:00 @ 4:00 power (3:00 recoveries)
Week 3, Sessions 1 & 2
- Set 1: 6×0:15 @ 1:00 power (0:45 recoveries)
- Set 2: 6×0:30 @ 2:00 power (1:30 recoveries)
- Set 3: 6×1:00 @ 4:00 power (3:00 recoveries)
Block 5: Endurance Sessions
With fitness building (and weather/daylight hours improving) riders are ready to take on more endurance riding in Block 5. During the previous Vo2 Max block many riders find they need to back off their endurance training a bit due to the high metabolic cost of the Vo2 Max intervals and the subsequent fatigue that comes with them. Anaerobic Power, although technically “higher intensity” or at least higher power output, the sessions aren’t quite as demanding from a metabolic standpoint and recovery and overall energy levels remain higher. This falls right in time with the ability to build further endurance through longer rides over the weekends.
As mentioned earlier, Block 5 will target improvements in Anaerobic fitness. For this reason getting in the longer endurance rides in on the weekends will help to maintain and/or improve endurance and your resistance to fatigue as you head towards your race season.
Lastly, it’s in this final third of the 24-week program that many riders begin to really feel their fitness improvements and coming around to feel stronger and faster on the bike. This is a great time to consider adding in some early season racing to your calendar. Early season races shouldn’t interfere with your training much, if any, but simply enhance your training program by including some “race specific” training in motivating environments. My preferred method, following my program, is to recover on Fridays, include a race (or hard group ride) on Saturday, followed by longer endurance ride on Sunday. This can work very well and provide added fitness and race preparation for upcoming target events.
Following blocks 3 & 4, fitness should be really coming along and your eagerness to “test” this fitness in more and more challenging training environments is appropriate. Enjoy your progress on the weekends while sticking within the weekday plan and you’ll top-off your Base Build with the top-end energy systems that will have you nearing the top of your game come Spring!
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.
•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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