The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 4

The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 4

  • February 3, 2018
  • Blog

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.

 

 

 

 Shop Rudy Project for the best helmets & eyewear for the most demanding athletes. Use code: s6racing at checkout and receive 50-62% discount on all their gear.

The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 3

The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 3

  • January 15, 2018
  • Blog

Happy New Year! January brings block 3 of our Off-Season Base Build Program with our local in-house athletes in Denver. We meet 4 days a week, most weeks, for 6 months for indoor gym sessions, trainer sessions, and testing. Weekends are for getting outside on your own and going longer to build endurance. We also offer the very same program as a 24-week Base Build Training Plan, as well as a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan, to follow on your own where ever you live.

Upon conclusion of Block 2 we took a little recovery time through the New Year holiday window and returned on January 2nd for our second of 4 testing sessions within our 6-month program. Our first test was at the end of October right before we kicked off official training; test two was 8 weeks later right after the new year, tests 3 and 4 will follow in 8-week cycles at the 2/3 point of the program and conclusion of the program. We prefer testing every 8-weeks as this provides enough time for fitness to evolve and provides a carrot of sorts to keep your training consistent so you make the improvements you’re looking for.

With test results in-hand we can check progress, reset training zones, keep motivation high, and get ready for further improvements over the next blocks of training.

Block 3 builds upon Blocks 1 & 2 with continued progressions in the gym and on the bike.

The weekly routine remains the same in the third block. Creating a consistent daily routine of the training pattern is an essential part of the program. Knowing exactly what you’re doing on any given day of the week: gym day, interval day, endurance day, recovery day; helps to establish the consistency in training that is so critical to progression and success.  In the following paragraphs I’ll break down the subtle progressions to be made in each of the three domains of training days. Block 3 makes up weeks 9-12 in the 24-weeks of the Base Build Program.

 

Block 3: Gym Sessions

Block 3 brings the final big push of heavy strength work in our primary movements for cycling specific strength: the Back Squat & Deadlift. Over the first 8 weeks of training, we’ve methodically increased the training loads, and allowed adequate recovery/adaptation time, to allow for a final build towards peak movement strength in a 1 or 2 rep max lift by the end of this block. Rep schemes become less and less as loads increase over the final 3 weeks of this build. The goal of the heavy lifting is to reach maximum, or near maximum, movement strength prior to shifting the focus towards single-leg stability movements and more explosive plyometric training in the second half of the Base Builder Program.

Along with the two key strength key movements, the Push & Pull movements for the upper body are further increased in loads and/or complexity of movement for continued progression. Core strength follows the same pattern of increased reps and/or complexity of movements that target all the muscles surrounding the hips: the low-back, glutes, and abdominal muscles for linear movement, and the glute-medeius and obliques for lateral movements.

Lastly, we begin to introduce more dynamic drills in to the session warm-ups that include “plate agility drills” (very low-hight jumping, landing and rebounding movements), and Depth Jumps (stepping off gradually higher heights to learn “landing mechanics”) to train the eccentric absorbing of plyometric impacts before learning the more explosive “rebound” jumps in the next block of training.

 

Block 3: Structured Trainer Sessions

The structured interval sessions become more power based in block 3. In the two previous blocks we trained the aerobic system with increasing duration Aerobic Threshold and Aerobic-Strength intervals. The lower-intensity Aerobic energy system is best trained via heart rate. As we progress to higher intensity energy systems, power becomes the focal point to set training loads, while using heart rate to identify adaptation (or lack there of) and future progression in loads.  You can read more about this concept in a previous post: Training Heart Rate & Power.

In Block 3 we progress to the next higher energy system: Anaerobic Threshold (aka. Zone 4, Lactate Threshold or just “threshold” training).  This energy system targets power levels between 32:00 and 64:00 power. The workouts in this program are designed to be performed on the indoor-trainer so we target the shorter duration 32:00 power (more powerful) to allow for shorter intervals (less mind-numbing).

We begin with just 18:00 of work in the first session, as 3×6:00 to ease into the effort of the new energy system, and progress over the weeks as through 24:00 of work and finally 32:00 of work at max 32:00 power. Each riders 32:00 Power is identified from our Testing Protocol and provides them with an exact workload to be training at. We can further manipulate things with the amount of recovery time between intervals, beginning with 3:00 and reducing down to just 1:00 in the last session of the block for the most demanding workout. Here’s how it looks in our Wahoo Kickr Trainer Studio at Sessions:6:

  • Session 1: 18:00 (total work duration) as 3×6:00, with 3:00 recoveries

  • Session 2: 24:00 as 4×6:00, with 3:00 recoveries

  • Session 3: 24:00 as 3×8:00, with 3:00 recoveries

  • Session 4: 32:00 as 4×8:00, with 3:00 recoveries

  • Session 5: 32:00 as 4×8:00, with 2:00 recoveries

  • Session 6: 32:00 as 4×8:00, with 1:00 recoveries

In addition to the Anaerobic Threshold intervals, we keep up with single-leg ILT intervals for one last block in order to reach peak effort for strength development. This coincides with the peak strength being achieved in the gym sessions. It is here that the complete connection between the knee and hip extension while maintaining proper shoulder and back stabilization in the Deadlift in the gym, and the hip-knee extension with proper core tension and pull on the handlebar on the bike in the 60 rpm high-tension ILTs is most apparent.

The strength and power on the bike achieved through he strength work in the gym becomes so clear at this pointing the program!

Block 3: Endurance Sessions

Our outdoor endurance sessions continue to lengthen in Block 3. Adding 10-15 minutes per weekend ride is a great place to be. You’re likely feeling your fitness really improving around this time of the program and getting more and more eager to test it out. Adding in a faster paced group ride on one day is a great option  for getting in some unstructured intensity to the program. Just keep it minimal and don’t smash yourself on any given ride where you need 3 days to recover from it. Keep things in moderation so daily recovery is achievable and you can keep your training consistent day to day.

Another great option, included in the training plan, is an aerobic-strength session, indoors or out, to maintain the aerobic-strength gains made in the previous block. Taking aerobic-strength outside on a local climb is often more challenging that indoors, so start with shorter durations, like 6×3:00, and build weekly from there. Again, the goal is to gradually build rather than smash yourself, so be conservative and patient and gains will be made safely and soundly.

At this point in the program, make getting outside and getting in longer rides (or hikes/skis if weather is poor) in on the weekend a priority to build your endurance.  If unsure if you should add in the group intensity to aerobic-strength, it’s better to stick with just going longer and longer and building up that fatigue resistance. These easier, long sessions should not require much in terms of recovery and you get the full endurance benefits. If getting outside or going longer, is not an option on a given day, then hit the trainer with some Aerobic Threshold intervals (from Block 1) to build endurance through a more time efficient manner at 80% max HR.

Block 3 brings max efforts in strength and the beginning of power-based training on the bike.

 

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.

 

 

 

 Shop Rudy Project for the best helmets & eyewear for the most demanding athletes. Use code: s6racing at checkout and receive 50-62% discount on all their gear.

The S:6 Off-Season Base Builder Cycling Plan (a Deep Dive!)

The S:6 Off-Season Base Builder Cycling Plan (a deep dive!)

  • August 18, 2017
  • Blog

The stationary trainer is one of the best tools in your training arsenal.

The highly controllable environment makes it one of the most effective ways to improve your cycling power. By allowing your workouts to be controlled using variables like time, gearing, cadence, power and heart rate you can more easily execute precise, repeatable intervals. On the trainer you can eliminate the uncontrollable variables found in outdoor workouts like varying terrain, wind, weather, traffic, etc. You can focus solely on the work you are performing to make the most out of the time you are putting into your training.

Our 24 Week Base Builder Program/Plan, as well as its condensed little brother: the 12 Week Base Builder Program/Plan, are both designed to be performed during your “off-season”. The term off-season is referring to time off from racing, as opposed to time off from training. This concept is explained in a previous post, Ideas for Your Off-Season.  During this off-season base-building phase your primary objectives are to develop a strong aerobic system and build sport-specific strength.

Training Blocks

Our 24-week Base Builder program is built around six 3-week training blocks. Each block has a specific training focus that builds upon the previous block in intensity and training load. Within each block there are three weeks of loading (training) followed by one week of recovery (low-intensity), before getting into the next block. Each training block targets a specific energy system and the overall progression is from lowest intensity to highest intensity before reaching a peak at the end of your base build.

The energy system block progression on the trainer includes the following:
  • Block 1: Pedaling Skills/Aerobic Intervals
  • Block 2: Aerobic Threshold/Aerobic Strength 
  • Block 3: Anaerobic Threshold (including FTP)
  • Block 4: Vo2 Max
  • Block 5: Anaerobic Power 
  • Block 6: Peak Power 
In our off-season Base Build Program we leave zone 1/2 aerobic endurance training to longer outdoor rides and/or other extended aerobic endurance building activities such as skiing, hiking, running, etc. as time and weather permits.

The primary difference between our two programs, 24 vs. 12 weeks, is that speed at which the progressions through energy systems occur. The 24-week program allows for a more thorough off-season build and deeper base development for those that have the time and/or interest. While our condensed 12-week program goes through all six of the same energy systems as the longer version, it does it at much faster rate allowing for fewer weeks of training for those that don’t have the time due to an extended previous season of racing (or period of inactivity or training) or an earlier upcoming season of racing.

Upon completion of our 24-week or 12 week Base Builder programs, you will be ready to transition into your Race Season and/or more specific Race Preparation training phase.

This is when your training become more specific to address the demands of your goal race(s): road cycling, XCO mountain bike racing, endurance mountain bike racing, triathlon of all varieties and durations, etc. But before you can bring your race fitness to a peak, you must establish your base.

As a general rule of thumb, the longer, bigger, deeper more thorough base of fitness you can develop each year, as well as over many years, the more demands you can apply on yourself in your race preparation training and on race day. Most everyone is aware of this concept; however it is surprising how few racers actually apply it. Many racers hinder both their development and performance by not doing the specific training required in the off-season to build a prober base from which top-end fitness can be achieved.

 Training Zones & Testing

Our Base Builder programs/plans uses two primary metrics for training progression; one for measuring actual workload (power) and the other for measuring your body’s response to the workload (heart rate). You’ll ideally want to be equipped with both metrics to make the most of the training series (ie. power-meter and/or smart trainer AND heart rate monitor). To use one without the other shines light on only half of what’s really going on! Learn more about training with BOTH power and HR in a previous post: Training with Power or Heartrate? 

Within the 24-week program you will perform 4 tests; the first to establish your starting fitness and training zones, and 3 re-tests (one every 8 weeks) to track progress and adjust zones as you increase fitness. Within the 12-week program you test in week 8, but can opt to perform an earlier test in week 4 if you feel improvements have been made.

Our Testing protocol differs from many of the popular methods you may be familiar with. Our S:6 Testing Protocol includes a 20-minute sub-maximal Aerobic Threshold Test, to identify your Aerobic Power and track aerobic development; while three short maximal test efforts identify your Anaerobic Power, to determine your rate of fatigue as durations increase to used to calculate your extended training zones. With these data points we can more accurately calculate your training zones and better track improvements in fitness.

With your test completed, you will enter your result data into our S:6 Training Zone Calculator (Excel Spreadsheet) to receive your personalized Power & Heart Rate training zones pertaining to each energy system to be trained.

  • Aerobic Threshold HR (AeT HR)
  • Anaerobic Threshold HR (AnT HR)
  • Fatigue Rate
  • Your Individual Power & HR training zones
  • Functional Threshold Power (FTP) 

From here you simply enter your FTP number into your Training Peaks account to have your individual training sessions adjusted specifically to you. If using a Smart Trainer, you then can download the workout files to match your device and the power loads will be adjusted specifically to you as well. All super slick and takes the guess work out of everything, and you know every session is dialed in specifically to your current fitness.

Training with Power & HR

Training with power is one of the best things to happen to indoor training since the trainer itself. With power you can target specific workloads in a highly repeatable fashion and relate the workload to how your body responds to it via heart rate to track progress and performance. Today power-meters and power based “smart trainers” have become more affordable, easier to use and are widely available to any serious cyclist looking to improve their performance. This training series is designed around power to make it individualized to each user.

There are two heart rates that will be referred to in the workout series, and you will want to figure your specific HR’s out and memorize them.

The first is your maximum aerobic heart rate or aerobic threshold (AeT). The primary objective when building aerobic endurance is to improve your ability to burn fat for fuel while sparing glycogen (stored carbohydrates). The higher percentage of fat-to-carb you can train on, the faster and longer you will be able to go on race day as you will be relying less on sugar for fuel, which will increase your maximum sustainable power cycling. By training at (and a range of 10 beats below) your aerobic threshold (AeT) you’re training at your highest output while burning predominantly fat and keeping sugar-burning to a minimum. As you become more fit at this pace you will be able to train longer and longer distances on less and less energy (or go the same distance faster!).

The second heart rate that is referred to is your Anaerobic Threshold Heart Rate or AnT HR. This is your 1-hour race-pace heart rate. The balance point between lactic acid being metabolized for energy and accumulating in your blood. Train at or just below this effort level and you can increase your race-pace at any distance; go above this threshold for an extended period of time and you risk damaging your hard-earned aerobic development and will require significantly more recovery time between training sessions. You will likely spend more time training in this zone in your race specific  preparation following your base training, but you will hit this zone in small amounts in this series of workouts to prepare the body for the more extensive AnT training throughout your racing season.

The relationship between power and heart rate is super key in identifying training adaptations and knowing when to make progressions.

Power measures the output of work you are doing. Heart rate measures the response your body has to the work that is being done. When you can do the same work (power) with a lower response (lower HR), you know you are adapting to the work and making fitness gains. If you are doing the same amount of work (power), but working harder to do it (higher HR), then you have a problem that needs to be addressed by slowing down or resting. By using both metrics in your training you can make better decisions on when to increase workloads and when to back off.

Trainer Session Layout

There are several specific exercises that will be utilized throughout the workout series. Each workout is intended to last roughly 75 minutes in duration. With the duration static, the workouts are designed to progress with a higher and higher workload with each successive workout. The basic layout of every workout includes a warm-up to gradually elevate the HR (appx. 15-20 minutes), two to three exercises make up the main-set of the workout (appx. 45-50 minutes), and a cool-down spin to bring the HR back into normal resting ranges (appx. 5-10 minutes). Each exercise has a specific duration, cadence, gearing, HR and power guideline to follow.

The Exercises

There are nine exercises utilized within the workout series. Each one has a very specific protocol to following including variables such as resistance/gearing, cadence, power, HR, work duration and recovery duration. Below you will find a description of each exercise.

Spin-Ups: 

Used in this application as both a warm-up exercise and leg-speed development. These should be performed in your easiest gear with very little resistance. Your cadence will increase per instruction, your HR will rise gradually along with your cadence. HR is to not exceed your AeT HR. If your HR gets too high, lighten the resistance on your trainer or cease cadence increase until you improve your economy over the next several sessions.

Isolated Leg Training (ILT):

This exercise is both a leg strengthener and pedaling efficiency improver. You will unclip one leg and rest it on the back of your trainer (or let it dangle), while pedaling with the other leg. Complete the interval, clip the resting leg back in, pedal easy for a minute, and repeat with the other leg. That is one rep (one left-leg interval, followed by one right-leg interval). The “dead spot” will be noticeable, if not immediately, after a minute or two of the interval. This is where you are not applying force to the pedals and wasting energy. After several sessions your pedaling stroke will become noticeably smoother and “rounder”.

Low RPM intervals are designed to build specific strength. Every few sessions, as your strength improves, you will want to increase the load by shifting to a higher gear. HR should remain under your AeT throughout the interval, finishing right up to your AeT HR by the end of the intervals. If your HR is too high, try a smaller gear, if it’s too low, try a bigger gear. Cadence should remain at 60 rpm for the entire interval.  Changing hand positions each minute from tops to drops and back to tops will engage different muscles and make the time pass more quickly. It is often more difficult to perform ILTs in the drops due to the closed hip-angle and greater recruitment of the hip-flexors.

High RPM ILT intervals are designed to improve your neuro-muscular capabilities. Training the muscles to fire smoothy throughout the entire pedal stroke. These often feel quite easy for the first 60 seconds and then can become quite difficult until you train your muscles to cooperate. You will perform these in your easiest gear, with very little resistance. HR is not a concern here and should not rise much at all. If it does, your resistance is too high. As with the low-cadence ILTs, changing hand positions each minute from tops to drops and back to tops will engage different muscles and

make the time pass more easily. It is noticeably more difficult to perform the 80 rpm ILT’s in the drops due to the closed hip-angle and greater recruitment of the hip-flexors.

Aerobic Threshold (AeT) Intervals:  2-3 Hour Power 

To train the Aerobic Energy System, you want to target your AeT HR. You will pedal in a self selected gearing/cadence to achieve the target HR. Power will be approximately 85% of FTP at this effort level.

Aerobic-Strength Intervals:  

As your aerobic fitness improves you can add “hills” to your intervals for added strength benefits.

“Climbing” on the trainer can be achieved by elevating your front wheel above the rear with a trainer block, block of wood, stack of books or whatever method you choose. This elevated position engages slightly different muscles and simulates climbing on the road. With this exercise you will sit or stand and pedal, as in climbing a hill. This exercise builds both strength and aerobic fitness. The gearing is near your largest gear (high resistance), producing a cadence between 50 and 60 rpm. You will plod along at this low-cadence while changing hand positions every few minutes, from hoods and drops, to engage different muscles and keep things interesting. HR should rise after the first few minutes into your AeT HR Zone. It’s best to let it rise on it’s own and not exceed the mid-point of that zone. Again appropriate gearing/resistance will be the key if you are finding your HR too high or not high enough. When standing, weak core strength will be noticeable while performing this exercise as your back may fatigue before your legs do. If this happens, feel free to sit down for a minute to rest, before standing back up and continuing on.

Stand & Surge:

Once you have built up your “climbing” strength and endurance, you begin to elevate your HR a bit more with the addition of surges. These surges are slight increase in cadence over your “normal” climbing cadence you’ve been using to this point. In the last few minutes of your regular Strength Climb, you will surge by raising your cadence between 10 and 20 rpms for the last 15 seconds of each minute prescribed in the workout. This acceleration will increase your power output for the 15 seconds and raise your HR several beats. The surge is not a sprint or attack, but rather a quick increase in cadence. HR should rise to and slightly above your AeT HR by the last few. Again, not intended to be an all-out effort, just a simple introduction to a higher power workload. In between 15-second surges you will return to your Steady Strength cadence and your HR will recover partially before the next surge. With each surge your HR will rise slightly higher than the previous. Upon the completion of the final surge, stop pedaling completely, sit down and note your “peak HR”. Watch your HR fall and note how quickly it drops to below 100 bpm. Over the course of the series you should see your HR drop faster from higher peak HR indicating improved aerobic fitness.

6 to 8-minute AnT intervals: 32-64:00 Power 

Finally you are allowed to get your HR up over your AeT for a longer period of time. These intervals begin to touch on your anaerobic system by using a bit more carbohydrate to perform. You will focus on raising your cadence slightly each minute to achieve a gradually higher workload. These are the “comfortably hard” intervals of the series just under and right up to your FTP power (90-100%). Your HR objective is to reach your AnT HR by the end of each interval. First adjust cadence to achieve desired HR (between 90 and 100 rpm), before selecting a different gear if necessary. Recovery time is half the duration of the interval, allowing for 3 minutes of recovery between successive intervals. As with the completion of the final surge in the Stand & Surge above, upon the completion of your final AnT Interval of a workout, stop pedaling completely and note your “peak HR”. Watch your HR fall and note how quickly it drops to below 100 bpm. Over the course of the series you should see your HR drop faster from higher peak HR indicating improved aerobic fitness.

1 to 4-minute Vo2 Intervals:  8:00 to 16:00 Power

With Vo2s you get to open it up even further with shorter intervals going above your FTP. These are the painful ones! You will perform these intervals again using cadence as means to increase the workload throughout the intervals. Although these intervals are short, they will get your HR up over your AnT HR. The goal is not to work any harder than necessary, but to hit your cadence and gearing targets of 90-105 rpm. Your HR should not exceed more than 5-8 beats over your AnT HR. Power levels will be in the 110-120% FTP range. Any more than that and you are working too hard for this objective requiring more recovery and lost training time. Allow equal recovery durations between successive intervals. Upon the completion of your final Vo2 Interval, stop pedaling completely and note your “peak HR”. Watch your HR fall and note how quickly it drops to below 100 bpm. Over the course of the series you should see your HR drop faster from higher peak HR indicating improved aerobic fitness.

15-30-60-Second Anaerobic Power Intervals:  1:00, 2:00 & 4:00 Power

Now you’re bringing the power! These short bouts of intensity reach 130% to 190% of FTP. As the power increases the duration of the intervals continue to get shorter, and recovery times become longer. Gearing and cadence are now self selected allowing you to go hard and simply focus on hitting the target power levels. Recovery durations are now 3x the length of the interval allowing for near full recovery before the next interval. HR becomes irrelevant due to the short duration of the intervals. Despite the high effort, these intervals don’t hurt too badly since they are over by the time they start to hurt!

Peak Power Sprints:  0:05 Power! 

The second to last progression in the metabolic energy system chain (with movement strength (ie. weight lifting) being the last link in the chain). Anaerobic Power at it’s finest. No oxygen needed! These intervals are performed in a larger gear from a stand still or slight “rolling start”. You kick hard and crank up to full power over 5-10 seconds. You’re done as soon as you peak the cadence out and/or reach peak power for the effort. Power will jump towards 300% of FTP!

Steady Spin & Spin Down:

Your cool-down exercise. The Steady Spins gives you a chance to spin your legs out, get some fresh blood in there and begin the recovery process. You are back in your easiest gear with minimal resistance. Hold the specific rpm listed in the workout (or slightly higher if you like) for the time prescribed. HR should maybe reach the lower limits of your AeT HR Zone. Adjust resistance (or lower cadence) as needed. After the extended time spinning, you begin to gradually bring the cadence down (along with HR) with the Spin Down. Bring your cadence back down to 80 rpm over a few minutes until you are breathing normally and no longer perspiring. Wipe the sweat off your face and body, grab your recovery drink and call your workout finished!

Interested in giving it a try yourself?

Download via Training Peaks:

All Programs include:

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