Are Progression Levels just new name for Training Zones?

@seanhurley @mcneese.chad @ncomerford @nate_pearson @bried

The progression levels seem to be merely Training Zones by another name, eg, Endurance 70%, SS 80%, VO2Max 90%, etc?

However, what do workouts in these Levels/zones develop? Is it things like:

Aerobic Power
Aerobic Endurance
Aerobic Capacity
Anaerobic Power
Anaerobic Capacity
Anaerobic endurance
Muscular Endurance
Various Thresholds - whatever they really are

What do these things need, or develop?

What would benefit a Crit Racer, from a MTB XC, Time Trialist, short or long distance Triathlete, tour rider, etc?

This post might answer part of your question; the progression levels are within the training zones.

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Doesn’t really answer my thoughts, but thank you.

Humans generate energy via three systems: phosphagen (ATP-PC), glycolytic, and oxidative. Not that I am asking about them directly, but these are well established, formal, scientific categories of our energy systems. AT says the Progression Levels are energy systems, but clearly not these 3? So, even more confusion.

Progression Levels are a comparative ranking of your current capabilities to train and ride in each training zone, at your current FTP. For instance, relative to my FTP I’m not always as able to complete difficult Threshold Intervals as I might be to complete difficult intervals within my VO2 max training zone, but these capabilities change with training and a different balance of abilities is desirable in each discipline. Progression levels are a way for us to track these strengths and weaknesses, and assign more suitable workouts that target each specific skill set as you work towards a goal event or discipline.
And you’re correct, Training Zones are related to energy systems, but they aren’t the same. Training Zones are a well-established way of organizing the spectrum of physiological demands that occur while riding at different intensities, and help conceptualize how the burden shifts between the body’s 3 energy systems in a way that’s understandable and relevant to the actual experience of cycling. Sometimes the phrase Energy Systems is used synonymously with “training zone” in conversation (as I did in that quote) but that’s not correct. Training zones are really just a way to quantify and organize training at different intensities, with the intention of addressing the specific balance of energy system capabilities that your discipline requires. We use a power-based seven zone model, you can check out a blog post on it here.
I hope that helps!


Training zones are the Coggan zones, along with the Sweet Spot added in, and progression levels are your ranking of your ability within those zones.

It’s not the Coggan zones by another name. These zones already exist on your TrainerRoad workout. If you’re a subscriber, you’ll see this, and this has been around for a very long time.

Screen Shot 2021-03-01 at 6.40.24 PM

And this is from Dr. Coggan. (

However they map to whatever your terms define, is not clear. I have an idea of what you mean, but without a clear definition, my assumptions may be different than what you mean.

Regardless, the Coggan zones to your definitions, however you would map them, is however you would map them.

I think that’s a broader discussion, that goes beyond some terminology. It’s very difficult to give a vague generic answer and have it be workable. Even within “crit racer” or a “tour rider”, there are different team roles, that are very specific. You have people that hold the pace high, and then you have field sprinters, and more. In a tour, you have people that chase stages or overall, and you have people that chase specialties like climbing, sprint, etc.

If Sagan or MVP were to sit on the end of the computer and click boxes, what would you suggest (if you were the AI and all you saw were some power files and knew nothing of what they needed or wanted to do)? See where I’m getting at here?

If you were to say, have general categories, like improve climbing, improve TTE @ threshold, sprint, etc. Then you probably need to couple that with the “phase,” so that you could peak for your event. That would probably be better choices. I can’t say that’s how TR is going to focus things, or even if they will, but that’s how I would. It also sounds like that would be a next gen rollout type of thing.


Where can I see progression levels??

Assuming you are in the Adaptive Training Beta, the Progression Levels are shown on the Career page of the TrainerRoad apps and website of your account.

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Well, I am following a TR training plan…and I don’t know what it is Adaptive Training Data…

This is in a Beta program now (Data above was a typo, that I just fixed), so you will only have access to Progression Levels if you get invited to the current Beta test program, or when they fully release Adaptive Training to all users.