Anaerobic bump (periodization) Protocol and Vo2 vs Anaerobic training

I listened to a podcast not too long ago about a rider who said that he thought he reached his plateau (I can’t remember which podcast it was, but the rider mentioned he was on statins). Coach Chad suggested a week of anaerobic efforts (3 to 5 back-to-back) to give an anaerobic bump, and it sounded very similar to a block periodization. This is something I want to try, if I’m targetting anaerobic capacity specifically, what should the protocol be in this case? What workouts specifically should I stack back-to-back?

Finally, what is the difference between anaerobic capacity training and vo2 max training?

Thank you in advance

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Very generally:
Anaerobic capacity is your 30s power;
VO2max is your 5min power.

Very generally, the training will be very different.

Anaerobic - power produced without oxygen. The power to GET away from the bunch in a road race.
Aerobic - power produced with oxygen. The power to STAY away from the bunch in a road race.

I’d double-check this. I remember an episode where he suggested a block, but I think it was vo2 not anaerobic. Happy to be proved wrong if you can find the clip. @mcneese.chad is the podcast guru.

Personally I’d only consider doing anaerobic training once or twice a week at most, for 3-4 weeks at most, with plenty of recovery between each one and plenty of recovery before the race you want to use it in.

I like Striped and its variants for pure anaerobic work. Barnard looks good too.
There are also some good workout suggestions on Joe Friel’s blog - you could try building them in Workout Creator or doing them outdoors.

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There’s a lab test protocol which is very similar to Striped. Participants completed the workout for 7 days in a row followed by a rest week. Results were some pretty decent improvements in TT metrics. A couple of us TR users created workouts based on said protocol but I never got around to smashing one out yet.

Thank you all for your comments.

Do you have a link or doi to the study you mentioned?

Oh, geez…it’s been ages since I was a VO2 addict but I will definitely have a search for the study. There’s also a thread with an exchange between myself and another TRer about the matter which provides some good insights, I’ll also try to locate that.

In the meantime, please enjoy the description of the lab protocol:

This is a VO2max test protocol.

Workout is done every day for 7 days.

The intervals levels provided are general guidelines; perform them at the highest intensity possible.

Follow with 1 week of recovery.

15 minute warm-up
10x each:
15 sec @300% FTP/1:15 min recovery @40% FTP

30 sec @250% FTP/2:30 min recovery @40% FTP

45 sec @200% FTP/3:45 min recovery @40% FTP
15 minute cool down

2 Week Post-Protocol Gains

20km TT Performance
Power: +6%
Time: -4%

General Performance
PPO: +7%
VO2peak: +3%
LT Power: +4%
Aerobic Economy: +4%
Gross Efficiency: +5%


Thank Christ for that.



To settle your stomach, know that 100% of the participants completed 100% of the workouts.
It can be done. :wink:

Interesting to note the 4% boost in Aerobic Economy. As Friel comments, this may be the best determiner of performance. As demonstrated, these kinds of workouts increase your Gross Efficiency (+5%) which in turn increases your AE. :+1:

Sounds incredibly doable and fun. I’ll do it when it’s time for anaerobic work for sure. It’s a week. It’s not like anyone’s going to de-train completing this. :wink:

I threw up a little just reading this, gross intervals

This one?

and a little here?

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Original research:
Effects of a Seven Day Overload-Period of High-Intensity Training on Performance and Physiology of Competitive Cyclists


The cyclists [Mean age: 33±10 years] were well-trained with a minimum of two years competitive experience at grade A or B…immediately prior (2 weeks) to the start of the study cyclists were completing individual self or coach-determined training regimes consisting of a minimum of ten hours (∼300-km) mixed intensity training per week. [Classic TR demographic?!]
Both HIT groups successfully completed 100% of the prescribed training regime over the allotted 7-day period.

TR discussion:

Happy pedalling! :crazy_face:

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I am going to have to give it a shot. Hope thats ok at age 48 :slight_smile:

:boom: YES!!! :boom:

I was primed & ready to give the Striped-esque protocol a go but had to shut it down (something or other about having a sh!tty heart :face_with_raised_eyebrow:). I’m also 48 and felt fully capable of completing, or at least participating, in the week-long self-flagellation session. That said, it is 7 days in a row of all-out maximum intensity…all general warnings apply (aka don’t be a hero! aka you can’t die cuz we need your amazing website!).

Who knows, do it and you might even get some kinda cheezy doughnut lifetime achievement award! :trophy: :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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One can also stack some AC and VO2 together in a fartlek session. I’ve been doing these a lot this year because I haven’t felt like doing hill repeats or structured intervals.

Ride high tempo for 20min
Do a 40 min block of some 3-8 minute VO2 efforts, and some :30-1:30 AC efforts. Aim for 20+ minutes of “on” time during the 40min block. The NP for the block should equal FTP.

My power profile is pretty flat – but I’ve seen a bump in both 1min and 4-8 min power after a block of these once or twice a week.

There’s an interval protocol by Gordon Wright that does something similar to this.

I made a version for TR but missed the full-on 15sec sprints at the start as I didn’t want to spend that long on the trainer. Still a tough session though.

Would tacking on 30 min of endurance to a strict anaerobic session take away from the goal of that ride?

My favorite anaerobic sessions on TR are glacier and Red. I thought about adding 30 min of endurance at the end of these workouts but not because of time constraints, I have enough time to do long endurance rides elsewhere in the week. I just enjoy zoning out with some z1 work for a bit after a heavy session, but at the same time really want to optimize the anaerobic benefits of that single session. That’s why I’m asking.

Wonder how this would work 3 weeks out from an early season race when you cant get into a specialty build.