5w/kg on Low Volume Training with Michael Brophy – Successful Athletes Podcast 36

Michael Brophy is a Physical Therapist, partner and father who uses TrainerRoad to get faster, but also to keep in touch with friends. Using Group workouts, he’s managed to maintain over 5w/kg with diligent early morning training sessions. Find out what he does to enable the sort of consistency he needs to achieve such a high level of performance.

Tune into Michael’s episode premiere on YouTube, Monday, January 25 at 8:00am Pacific on YouTube!

Michael's Episode

Topics Covered in This Episode

  • When Michael trains amidst his life responsibilities
  • How much of an FTP increase Michael has achieved with TrainerRoad
  • Michael’s tips for early morning workouts
  • How Michael makes sure he can be consistent with his training
  • Why Michael follows a low-volume training plan
  • How Michael uses Group Workouts to make his training more consistent
  • What is Michael’s “why” for training

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Michael, what kind of workouts do you do to supplement the low volume plan? I think you said you normally ride 5x a week so there would be 2 workouts a week that are “extra”. Do you pick from a list a favourites or look into the what would be in mid volume?

Great interview!

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Recently I’ve been gravitating toward Townsend. I find that it’s low enough for recovery between hard days, but still feel like I’m getting something. Personally being on a standard fluid trainer I don’t love the workouts, like Baxter, that require me to change wattage very frequently. So, usually for my easy rides where I know I’ll be in a conversation or watching something - I prefer to choose the more steady unchanging workouts.

I do have a list of favorites that I’ll share later today. Almost all of them are less than 1 hour, which helps for when I don’t have time to search through the whole catalog.


I’d love to see the list too! I’m in a similar spot, doing low volume early in the morning but supplementing up to at least 5 days a week, and similarly prefer more steady workouts.

Thanks for doing the interview. I love this serious and really appreciate your insights.

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Great interview Michael, enjoyed the discussion on the challenges of getting workouts done despite Work & family & little people

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Here’s my favorites list:

Birling +1 - 20 min sprints
Cartwright +2 - 30min threshold
Clyde - 20 min more of a warm up
Dans - 30min recovery
Geiger -5 - 30min sweet spot
Gendarme -3 - 30 min short shorts VO2max
Gendarme -6 - 45 min short shorts VO2 max
Lola -1 - 1hr with 30min threshold interval
Lolita - 45 min version of the above
Monitor -5 - 30 min sweet spot
Muir - 1 hr endurance
Pettit - 1 hr endurance
Taku - 30 min endurance
Townsend - 1.5 hr endurance
Townsend -1 - 1.5 hr endurance
Tunnabora -5 - 30 min sweet spot
Twin Peaks -2 - 30 min Threshold ish


I enjoyed that one, pretty relatable in terms of life/work/bike balances. Nice to see that despite my lowly ftp (a summer solo pottering and night shifts will do that) and being fat that my plan of low volume consistently with added 1 or 2 depending on life sounds like it will pay off eventually.

Think I might be picking from @mgbroph’s favourite list for the extra Sat session.


You’re basically me with an extra 30 watts and minus 30 lbs lol. Congrats on the upcoming second little one! Same boat, getting in the trainer now while I still can.


Hey Michael are you going to race any of the Cane Creek races this year?

Really enjoyed this podcast. I’m also in a similar position in that I have a 20 month old and now a 4 week old! I’m the stay at home dad and currently my time to train is the 1.5hr nap time for the 20 month old between 130-3pm ish. I can see that changing in the future and will probably need to move to early morning workouts to keep structure but the low volume is also working for me as a constant and I seem to be able to guarantee getting those workouts in.

Very cool to hear a TR athlete that rides and races Pisgah. Good luck at the stage race, hope it can happen this time around. Pisgah is my back yard and I ride it often, I appreciate Jonathon and Michael acknowledging how difficult the terrain here can be. You have to be fit and highly skilled. I’m hoping to do some more of the single day local races here in the back country this season, we’ll see!

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That’s the race series I usually participate in. I try to do the 3 SC races for our state championship. Last year I did Mezzeppa as well. Unfortunately, the stage race overlaps with one of the SC races this year. We will see what happens, but yea I plan to do a few of the ones closer to home.

When I started my FTP was 290 and weight was closer to 160 lbs. I never tried to lose weight but shifted away from gym workouts to cycling more and more. Also, read The Endurance Diet and have adopted a lot of that practice - as much as is realistic.


A 30 mile ride in Pisgah is like 50 at a normal trail system. The place is so much fun, but really demanding.


Awesome! I live fairly close to Harbison so hope to see you there.

Now I know for sure you’ve been there. :grinning: Thanks for sharing your insights. 5 w/Kg is something to aspire to for sure. Any chance you ride with the Southpaw Cycles crew?

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I live in Myrtle Beach, so I ride for a shop called Pee Dee Bicycle Co. I have ridden with some of those folks. Erik was around when I was in college at Clemson. Super fast and a nice guy.


Michael: fantastic interview! And thanks for answering questions here.

Your watts/kg is insane! After 4 solid years of TrainerRoad, I just hit the 250 FTP mark (at 188 lbs.), which I’m happy with. Hoping to get to 300 before the end of the year. I can’t help but think the difference maker for me would be getting my weight down – not to 146 lbs. – but at least down to 170-175 at 6’1".

Sounds like you didn’t intentionally lose weight. Any other tips? I’m guessing you’re not an IPA drinker?!


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Hi guys,
Pisgah is my backyard as well. I would love to do the Stage race as well, but it is so hard to justify the cost and vacation time to ride on the trails, which I am able to ride at any given weekend. I participated in a few of the Pisgah Production races throughout the last years. I did the Pisgah 111K course as a solo, self supported ride/race last October to compensate for the event cancellations. Reach out, if you are interested in a ride partner. Most of my rides are very early in the AM, since I have 4 kids.