Off-Season Base Build: Block 2

Off-Season Base Build: Block 2

  • December 14, 2017
  • Blog

It’s December now and we’re digging into our second of six blocks that make up our Off-Season Base Build Program. Hopefully a routine has been established in the first month of training, and you’re beginning to feel some level of fitness returning after your end of last season break. You can get the full rundown in the first post of the Series: Off-Season Base Training: Primer, and get caught up through previous posts in the Series Links above.

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

In my previous post I laid out the general weekly schedule that is built around three types of sessions: gym sessions, structured trainer sessions, and endurance sessions. We’ll continue to follow this scheme into block 2 and break down the subtle progressions in each of the three domains. Block 2 makes up weeks 5-8 in the 24-weeks of the Base Build Program.

Block 2: Gym Sessions

In Block 1 we focused on learning proper movements and creating a bit of a strength base from which to build from. Our Training Load Calculator Spreadsheet helped us determine our 1 rep max for the two primary strength movements in the Back Squat and Deadlift. With four weeks of strength work now under our belts, we are past the initial soreness phase, and we are better prepared to progressively increase the loads in these movements. With two strength sessions a week, Session 1 is the one we make the gradual progressions in load through more sets of fewer reps. Session 2 of each week allows for adaptation through fewer sets and slightly more reps.  We’ll work up to a weekly high of 80% 1RM, 85% 1RM and 90% 1RM in weeks 5, 6 and 7 respectively. Week 8 will reduce to just 1 lighter strength session as part of a recovery week.

In the Push-Pull Sets we continue to progress in loads and/or complexity of movements. Core sets also continue to progress to more reps and/or complexity of movement, while focusing on the truck stabilizing muscles of the low-back, obliques and anterior core muscles.

Block 2: Structured Trainer Sessions

Block 1 established some pedaling skills through high-cadence drills and single-leg pedaling. Simultaneously we included an aerobic build through Aerobic Threshold (AeT) Intervals of 3×5:00 in week 1, building to 2×12:00 by end of week 3. The primary progression in Block 2 is layering in more strength work. This is done in two ways…

1. Isolated Leg Training (ILTs) focus on low cadence, bigger gear efforts (ex. 53×15 @ 60 rpm) for durations of 3:00 per leg.

These intervals allow a time to focus on connecting the upper body pulling on the bars with the lower body pushing (extension) on the pedals (very much in same manner as the Deadlift with knee and hip extension occurring while pulling on the bar!).  Connect the upper back with the heel drive to produce more force, one rep after another at 60 reps per minute.

2. AeT Intervals transition from the medium-geared, seated @ 95 rpm variety to big-geared, standing @ 55 rpm variety. All while maintaining aerobic effort levels of 75-80% of max HR, just below the Aerobic Threshold HR.

Pedaling in a larger gear and lower cadence than “normal” requires greater force application to the pedals and tips the effort more towards strength development. Standing for these intervals simulates climbing and builds total body strength not only in the legs but the arms and trunk, particularly the lower back.

The Aerobic-Strength Intervals in Block 2 will progress from 4x 5:00 in Week 5: Session 1, to 30:00 long intervals in Sessions 1 & 2 in Week 7. At this point we will also introduce some “surges” at the end of the longer aerobic-strength intervals that will allow for brief amounts of increased power output (and elevated HR) to get a sneak peak of the Anaerobic Threshold work that comes in Block 3.

High-cadence work will remain in each session as part of the warm-ups and finishing “spin” to maintain pedaling efficiency and round out the stroke from the low cadence strength work that’s being performed.

Block 2: Endurance Sessions

Following Friday recovery days, the weekends are reserved for getting outside and going longer and having fun. As in Block 1, these sessions can be on the bike in the form of road rides, mountain bike rides, group rides, or more trainer/Zwift time if that’s what the schedule and/or weather dictates. Additional AeT intervals are a great “bang for your buck” fitness builder that can be executed in various modalities both on and off the bike. You can also easily sub various cross training activities like running, hiking, skiing and the like that includes an aerobic endurance component to help enhance your basic base fitness. After the holiday season and we get into Block 3, things will get a bit more specific for at least one of the weekend days, but for now, keep it fun and do what makes you happy.

In Block 2 we continue to build that off-season base by layering in more strength work.

This can be highly effective while time and daylight is limited, you’re traveling, and it’s chilly outside. By creating a strong strength base we will better prepared for the more demanding power-production work and increased volume that comes in Blocks 3 and 4.

Interested in giving it a try yourself?

Download our 24-week Off-Season Program on Training Peaks HERE.

Program includes:

  • 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.

Off-Season Base Build: Block 1

Off-Season Base Build: Block 1

  • November 11, 2017
  • Blog

We offer a 24-week Off-Season Base Build Program to our local athletes in Denver. We meet 4 days a week, most weeks, for 6 months for indoor gym and trainer sessions. 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 Off-Season Base Build Training Plan to follow on your own where ever you live. The following blog series will share some specifics of what each block of training is made up of and how we progress through a 6 month long off-season base build to reach serious fitness by Spring and ready to dive into more specific Race Prep training for your goal events.

The first of six blocks comprising our off-season Base Building Program focuses on returning to structured training, finding your rhythm, and adapting to the movements.

There are three basic categories of sessions that make up our regular training week:

  1. Gym Sessions (strength/mobility)

  2. Trainer Sessions (structured/intensity)

  3. Outdoor Sessions (endurance)

Ideally for most, you can fit two of each into your weekly routine, comprising of six sessions a week. Depending on your time available for training, you may be able to include additional sessions within the week for added volume. Additional sessions would typically be recovery or easy endurance in nature, as opposed to intensity. Rarely would a third intensity session be beneficial for an endurance athlete.

Overall training program volume can also be adjusted by the duration of the outdoor endurance session(s). More experienced athletes, and those with more time availability, can choose to increase their long rides to higher durations as appropriate for their current training progression. Increasing the long rides needs to be done methodically and progressively over time, rather than randomly or haphazardly. Being accustomed to 3-hour endurance rides and then throwing in a 6-hour epic ride one week is typically too much and leads to several days of sub-par (or missed) training due to the extra fatigue and need for recovery following such a big ride that you have not built up to appropriately.

Training consistency is the key: days of training lead to weeks, which lead to months, which lead to years.

The early blocks of training in our Off-Season Base Building Program are relatively “easy” as we are gradually adapting to the workload. Be patient, as things will get “harder” in time, but we must take these first steps is establishing a base of movement patterns and technique before we increase resistance or move more powerfully.

Becoming too over zealous, or impatient, with your training is counter productive. It results in needing more recovery above and beyond the norm. The goal with training is to apply just enough stress to your physiology that requires a small amount of recovery time on a daily basis. You want to be able to recover from training with relative ease day-to-day. Occasionally, maybe once a week, you might have a single stretch session, or the accumulation of several solid days in a row, that requires an extra easy day to recover from. This is normal and good. Doing too much, too soon leads to unnecessary soreness and fatigue that will cause you to lose daily consistency and lack of progression. In other words, you want to do just enough training to elicit the response you’re after; doing more than necessary results in a reduced training response due to the need for more recovery.

1. BLOCK 1: Gym Sessions

Goal number one is to learn the exercise movements and session structure. In-house, we focus heavily on proper technique and creating effective (and safe) movement patterns over the first 4 weeks of training. Every gym session is structured the same in Blocks 1-3 as:

  • 5:00 Movement Prep
  • 10:00 Warm-Up
  • 20:00 Strength Set
  • 8:00 Pull/Push Set
  • 8:00 Core Stability
  • 9:00 Mobility

The primary focus of blocks 1-3 is developing strength in two key movements: the Back Squat and Deadlift. Using our spreadsheet load calculator you can see your specific loads for every set and rep for every session throughout the 3 month build. The specific movements/exercises and set possibilities for the other segments of the sessions are presented on our Sessions:6 YouTube Channel.

Specifically for Block 1 of our program, the back squat and deadlift Strength Progression begins with lighter loads and higher rep counts to allow for learning and adapting to the movements, and building a strength base. Achieving proper form and full depth of movement is essential for both safety and effective muscle recruitment. Each session gradually builds the load scheme to a high point in the first session of week 3, with a final set of 4 reps done at 85% of an known or estimated 1 rep max rep. Week 4 returns to lighter loads for a bit of recovery and more time to focus on form and full range of motion. If training on your own and you’re unsure of your form, consider working with a personal training for a few sessions to assist in your learning and execution.

2. BLOCK 1: Trainer Sessions

Our trainer sessions in Block 1 focus on two elements: neuromuscular training & aerobic conditioning. The neuromuscular piece is often very difficult from a muscle recruitment standpoint for athletes that are not accustomed to higher cadence pedaling. On the flip side, the aerobic intervals typically feel “too easy” for athletes that are used to pushing themselves too hard on a regular basis.

  • The neuromuscular training consists of low-gear, high cadence pedaling. We achieve this through the Spin-Ups as a warm-up exercise, again in the ILT (isolated leg training) intervals, and yet again in the high-cadence Spins at the end of the sessions.
    • Spin-Ups:  rpm progressions from 80-90 as a low and building at different intervals up to 115-145 as a high. All performed in easiest gear with light resistance and as smoothly as possible.
    • ILTs: single-legged pedaling. Little gear for smoothness and big gear for strength development. Beginning with just 1:00 durations and increasing to 3:00 per leg over the first block.
    • Spins: training to hold higher than normal cadences over extended periods of time. Performed in easiest gear, light resistance to remove any muscular assistance and reduce the cardiac demand.
  • The aerobic conditioning comes in the form of AeT (aerobic threshold) Intervals. We start with 3×5:00 of these in the first sessions and increase to 5×5:00, then 3×8:00 and finally 2×12:00 by the last session of the block. Targeting your aerobic threshold HR (as determined from testing effort, learn more HERE), in normal gearing/cadence for the 5:00-12:00 intervals.

3. BLOCK 1: Outdoor Sessions

Getting outside in this block consists of basic, low-intensity riding. Nothing too special here. Just good ‘ol easy base miles. Generally speaking, the more time you can spend on your bike at these low intensities the better.  You can ride on the road or the trails. Whatever makes you happy and feels good. If you’re struggling to loose some weight, it’s more important to keep the HRs low so you stay aerobic and build that fat-burning energy system over anything else. This may mean sticking to flatter roads, and either riding by yourself or your “slower” friends. If you’re a bit more experienced and/or already near your ideal body composition, you can ride some more challenging rides and/or faster paced group rides that get you HR up just a bit more. Just keep the high-intensity to a minimum and keep it fun. Lastly, you can also opt for cross-training outlets like nordic skiing, snowshoeing, uphill hiking, etc. for building aerobic endurance off the bike as weather and interests dictate.

Focus on finding your training routine and establishing a schedule that you will be able to sustain for many weeks to come.

Consistency is king and starting things off light and fun will help to ensure you look forward to each days training session and build the confidence in regular daily training. Once you get the ball rolling in Block 1 you ‘ll be ready to increase the load (slightly, be patient) in Block 2.

Interested in giving it a try yourself?

Download our 24-week Off-Season Program on Training Peaks HERE.

Program includes:

  • 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.


“In-Season” Strength Sessions

“In-Season” Strength Sessions

You’ve trained hard all Winter & Spring and now the busy & competitive Summer season has arrived. As you head outside more don’t lose all your hard earned strength and mobility gains you’ve made in the gym… Or maybe you’ve neglected your strength and mobility training so far this year and want to make improvements in those areas? It’s not too late!

The Sessions:6 “In-Season” Strength & Stability Sessions are here to help!

Join us Tuesdays & Thursdays at 12:15pm or 6:00pm for one-hour, coach led, training sessions that focus on developing and maintaining strength, stability, and mobility for the endurance athlete to keep them happy, healthy and moving at their best all summer long. Training sessions are designed to compliment your endurance sport training and not detract from them. Maintaining strength throughout the racing season is key to staying healthy and fast, but also to making continued improvements into your next season of training.

Maintain your gains or start making them now!

Training Sessions Include:

  • Dynamic Warm-Ups to get your body moving through full range of motion
  • Plyometric Drills & Exercises to maintain muscle elasticity and power production
  • Strength movements focusing on the posterior chain to offset our seated/hunched over modern lifestyle, and “push-pull” movements for the upper body
  • Core stability exercises to improve postural alignment and support the low back and hips
  • and focused stretching at the end to maintain/improve mobility through all the major joints


  • Days: Every Tuesday & Thursday, June through August
  • Times: 12:15pm to 1:15pm* & 6:00pm to 7:00pm
  • Experience Needed: None. Modifiable to all experience levels
  • Cost: Punchcard or Monthly Membership Options…
    • $160 for a 10-punch Punchcard (also redeemable for other S:6 training sessions)
    • $85 per month, unlimited Strength & Stability Sessions only
    • other Monthly Memberships available including Strength & Stability Sessions

Come join us this Summer to get high quality functional movement training in a fun, safe and motivating group environment!

2017 Summer Teen Program

2017 Summer Teen Program

  • April 30, 2017
  • Blog

For the 2nd summer, Sessions:6 Sport Performance is offering a sport conditioning program designed especially for teens. The program is designed to prepare your teen athlete for their Fall sport in a safe, fun and positive environment. The program will include strength training, plyometrics, core conditioning and mobility.

Our 2-month Teen Program is designed to keep your teenage athlete(s) active throughout the summer months with cross-training and skill development that will enhance their sport specific conditioning prior to their Fall and Winter school sport seasons. Each coach-led class includes a proper warm-up, instruction, evaluation of skill level, and cool-down to maximize effectiveness and safety. Individual training sessions will vary the focus between aerobic conditioning, strength work, skill development, speed & power training, and flexibility to keep things fun, fresh and exciting for the participants.

8 Weeks, 2x a Week, 16 Sessions:

  • When: June 6th-July 27th
  • Days:  Tuesdays & Thursdays
  • Times: 10:15am OR 11:15am
  • Cost: $200


  • $20 off first teenager if signed up before May!
  • Only $150 for second teenager (sibling)
  • Only $100 for third teenager (sibling)

Program will Include:

  • Weight Training
  • Plyometric Training
  • Cardio Conditioning
  • Core & Mobility Work

Participants will Improve:

  • Strength
  • Aerobic Capacity
  • Skill & Coordination
  • Speed & Power


Sign Up Today! 

Purchase your slot early as sessions are limited to 12 athletes each.

Please select from 10:15a or 11:15a slots on Tuesdays & Thursdays each week.

Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 10:15am

Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 11:15am

Frequently Asked Questions

“We have a summer vacation planned and will miss a week or two. Can my teen still attend?

Yes! We expect most kids to have busy schedules and family trips planned in the summer. Come train with us as much as you can, and when you miss a day, a week, or more, just attend when you’re back in town.

My teen is enrolled in a summer sport already. Is adding this going to be too much for them?

That depends on the sport and the activity level. If they are already practicing a sport for several hours a day on daily basis, then yes, this is likely too much to add. However, if they are practicing a sport for an hour a day 2-5 days a week, then adding this hour of training could be easily added and even be a big benefit for their development.

My kid is 12. Can they still attend?

Please contact [email protected] to discuss your tween’s athletic ability, physical fitness and emotional maturity. A decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.

My teen can attend only 1 day1 a week. Can he/she still participate?

Yes! Your teen will still gain great value from coming once a week. Each session is individually programmed.