5x7'/2' @ 340w --?--> 20' @370w (19 y/o 70kg)

I’m a 19 y/o 70kg collegiate rower. Not gonna be rowing for a while, so I’ve been having fun on the bike outdoors and in, for about 6 months. I’d like to continue doing that! I have tried SSBHV maybe 3x but end up buried by the quantity and intensity of sweet spot by the 2nd or 3rd week probably too high of an FTP.

Pseudo Power Curve (only including recent max efforts here)

PP: 1450-1500w

1 min: 700w

3x7’/2’r: 338w (4 weeks ago)

5x3’/2:30’r: 385w (3 weeks ago)

I’ve always been relatively bad at efforts around 20 min long and relatively good at efforts with a big fat anaerobic contribution. Currently midway through week 2 of SSBMVII working with an FTP of 320w.

Yeah, 370w for 20m corresponds to a very strong 350w or 5 w/kg, but I have a lot of time to train and I’m really hungry. How do I get as fast as possible over 20min in February? Do you think 370w is possible? I’ve got access to pretty much any/all equipment.

That means lot of z2 and z3/z4.


In what form? I know that training a lot will make a difference, but how should I train?

Are you subscribed to TR? If so just do either traditional base (if you have a lot of spare time this is preferred) if not do sweet spot base either mid or high volume. And as far as FTP test do not so ramp, do the 20 min test and see what your starting point is.

mad numbers :muscle::muscle::muscle:

I would switch to this for the rest of Oct and Nov.

On Dec 1 go back to SSB. You are getting crushed by SSB because you don’t have the base you need for routine sweet spot work. It’s common, not just you.

The default on TR is SSB because people are in a hurry and want to maximize gains in the shortest period of time. SSB will do that but many people get burned out by the intensity because they don’t have a big enough aerobic base.

So in the same way VO2 Max work spikes FTP, Sweet Spot work will do the same. Traditional Base is boring and people won’t see much in the way of FTP gains so it isn’t popular for those that want the rush.

For your power profile I think would would see huge improvements because of Traditional Base HV once you got back to SSB in Dec/January.

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I think it’s really likely that you have too high of an FTP set. Assuming you row as a lightweight rower you’re focused on your races which are what, mid to high six minutes for an erg test, high five(ish) to low six(ish) for an eight on the water?

You probably have a high vo2max and strong anaerobic capacity paired with a weaker endurance. So even taking 95% of 20 minute power likely overstates FTP (probably like 90% would be a better bet).

This is not to denigrate you, you’re in a great spot. Building up the peripheral adaptations takes a long time but it’ll raise up your whole level and you’ll be better able to repeat those short hard efforts. Set the FTP lower, work on endurance (if you like, pick a plan that focuses on endurance), get a feel for it, and you’ll find FTP climbing up. To focus on endurance you need to mentally adjust to not getting a PR every single ride but it’ll reap you big benefits.

(incidentally taking the same approach may help your rowing performance too. I dont’ know if it’s still the same but our coaches in the early 2000s had us slamming intervals all year round and neglecting endurance and recovery and were shocked (shocked!) when we were slower in April and May rather than faster)

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You have a lot of time, you don’t want TR.

If you have plenty of time, do big volume in z2, outside with some specific stuff mixed in.

That is why I hate rowers coming into cycling. You come here with perfectly shaped bodies and then the story is always the same - power of a thousand suns. No! Leave thr sport for the scrawny people shaped like t-rexes :wink:

And to answer your question - there is a chance to meet your goals. Honestly you probably do this without any problems after just a little bit time on the bike.

As a rower your vo2 max is probably already high so basically this means pushing from below - focus on riding at SST and FTP. Push the duration for longer than in TR plans and probably that is it.


And then maybe do some z5 and/or over/unders before february.

Even tho races are 6ish minutes, we spend 99% of the time working in zone 2 level at practice anyway, you really only work on the higher end stuff closer to your A race. Also if he’s in the US, with the fall season being head races those are usually 15 to 20 min in lenght so they wouldn’t be doing any vo2 now. I see what you’re saying but instead of being an overestimate I would argue it’s more so down to specificity and he just needs some more time on the bike to get more efficient.

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that’s good! I guess it’s not unexpected that things would prgress in 20 odd years, but i suspect when i was in college my coaches were a bit behind to say the least . . .

A lot still are :sweat_smile:

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I totally agreed :+1:((((The default on TR is SSB because people are in a hurry and want to maximize gains in the shortest period of time. SSB will do that but many people get burned out by the intensity because they don’t have a big enough aerobic base.))))