3x 20 minutes follow-up

I’ve been doing 2x20m threshold / 3m rest for a while, and just did my first 3x20m/10m.
The only reasons I do this workout are to increase my FTP, and because I love those types of efforts.
It helps me gauge my effort too, which is really useful since I really want to get into time trials ( although this is not in my priorities for now ).

But now I wonder what would be the next step of this workout.
Is making this workout tougher necessary to get a better outcome out of it ?
If so, should I reduce the rest duration or add another 20 minutes ?
Or maybe add it to a longer ride ?

This is one of my 2 weekly intensity session, and is the least intense out of the two ( the other one being sprint or 1 minute efforts with 1 minute recovery ).

Are you following a plan or are you just picking?

I would give a look at sweet spot. It probably close to what you want but structured.

I’m following a plan I make for myself using what I learn on the internet.

How would sweet spot be better ?
I know it has pretty much the same physiological adaptations while producing less fatigue, but is there something else that would make it more interesting ?

Also, not having a power meter, the couple times I tried sweet spot I found that I struggle finding the intensity to stay on.

If you don’t have a powermeter, how do you know when you’re riding at threshold?


You could follow Chris21. Only needs three workouts: Raymond, Gray, Hour Record. That’s all you need for >4 W/kg, apparently! :smiley:

I think when we first discovered Chris21’s ride feed he was only doing Gray & Hour Record. Lately Chris21 has been doing Raymond to start the week because variety is the spice of life.

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I know my heart rate threshold is around 175bpm. If I go above, like 180bpm, I quickly feel that it’s too much and I won’t be able to finish the workout.
But when I try sweet spot, I struggle to know if I ride at a too low ( tempo ) or too high intensity. I struggle finding the spot :smiley:

Because you know how it feels?


2x30, then you can go longer like 1x45 or 1x60 or you can divide the workout into shorter intervals and do more of them. I really like 5x15 (a lot TiZ). You can also mix and match and do threshold with power burst (as hard as you can) every 2-3 minutes. Of course there is also a case of 4x20 or 2x40 (it was very hard).


He only seems to do those 3. But its weird too. Most of the rides are off power. Like he has TR open but he let Zwift (or another app) control the power. Is all very strange.

2 x 30 :+1:, then I’m out :grin:

Never made it past 3x 20 (and then never made the last 5 minutes of the third 20, but then I try to do them ~102%

Threshold with bursts… @jarsson if that is in a 2x 30 or 3x 20 season that is pure evil.

What % are people doing these at? Just below, above, bang on?

Yes it is evil workout :slight_smile: that is why I recently started to do 5x12 with bursts and 3 min breaks. Nice, stimulating and mentally easy. I could do easily 3x20 with short bursts (so more Leconte style) as one of 3 threshold workouts in week so it is perfectly doable - especially closer to the end of training block.

I do 2x40 @ ~95%, and 3x20 @ ~95%. I haven’t tried at FTP.

@iamholland Thanks for the reply.

Maybe I should try the 3x 20 ~95% before trying it at 100%

I think doing Threshold Intervals when your FTP is on the up is going to make what I normally target 100 - 102% do-able. But pushing the duration when FTP has stagnated or even dropped a touch is going to make it nigh on impossible.

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Could keep stretching the intervals out like others said. There’s a chart Fascat has that shows what each category rider could shoot for in terms of sweet spot duration per ride, could use a similar idea based on target event/goal duration. I use that chart to build up to the duration in both overall time and then into one interval.

Another thing would be to do longer rides to burn off a bunch of kJ first then do the intervals at the end. Even without tracking kJ it’s not hard to do. Just keep pushing the intervals further back in the ride until you can do them at the end before a cool down.

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I’m not going to lie. It still sucks. I actually prefer the 2x40. The 2nd recovery interval for the last 20m make it hard to spool back up, even though it’s less work overall than 2x40. I find myself thinking, “not again.” Clearly, it’s a mental issue.

Got it, that makes sense.

3 x 20 already seems pretty intense to me, but I guess you could try and increase the interval duration for the same total time. Like 2 x 30 and work up to an 'hour of power’s.

I wouldn’t go too much overboard on increasing the total time at threshold, because that can place too big a strain on your body. Maybe add extra Z2 time at the end, or trying to hit the intervals after you’ve done some Z2. That could provide an extra stimulus without impacting recovery that much.

Yeah I get that,… same with SST, sometimes SST is easier straight through or in only two intervals, the stop start of 3 - 5 intervals in SST case is a killer to the brain.

Because I’m a @empiricalcycling fanboy, Kolie chats in 2 episodes on FTP. Long story short, training at FTP helps build FTP. Gives a few examples (eg over-unders, surges during FTP, etc)

Q&A on FTP
Effective FTP Training

My own progression getting to 3x20 , 2x30 or 3x25. Then throwing in surges and shorter duration + higher power and effectively moving more towards Vo2, Anaerobic, 8-10’ at higher upper end of FTP, then will re-test.

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If basing on HR, I’d guess you started harder, and then ended up at sweet spot on the last block.

The reason is that, for me (n=1), my HR takes a while to get up to LTHR. The only way it would shoot up to that range is when I hit supra-threshold work for about 10 minutes, such as 10 minutes @ 120-130%, then taper down.

Seiler also mentioned some range of tolerance for HR variances day by day, something like +/- 3bpm.

When you say threshold, do you mean trying to do it at FTP, or just Z4?

For me the “sweet spot” is 97%. You do not go over and below FTP a lot with power fluctuation. At the end of block I go by feel, usually ending over FTP.