Beginner straight into high volume SSB

Hello, I did a forum search of “beginner high volume” but results were for a triathlete with a background in MTB/XC
Anyway, I have no power meter or smart trainer so the only way I can put a number to my watts is the results Strava gives me, which seem to be around the ~180 mark on my interval rides
I’ve only been cycling 2 months, completely untrained but the past month I’ve been doing 6 days each week, 3 of them around the 90 min mark but higher intensity and the other 3 rides are 2.5-3.5 hours at a lower to moderate intensity.
Right now I’d classify myself as an enthusiast, just wanting to increase my overall fitness, I enjoy long rides but also love the rush of a short intense one too.
With that in mind, should I progress through the SSB block starting at LV-1 or could I jump straight into the HV-1 plan? I have the time to ride 6 days a week and my understanding is because I’m untrained I don’t need as much rest because I’m not putting my body under the huge amounts of stress compared to a person with a 300+w FTP (I have no idea if I’m right or wrong on this one but I’ve seen improvements in my rides)
Can anyone here more experienced on the topic chime in?
Thank you all so much

A few things…(you’re going to learn a lot in this thread! :rofl:):

There are exactly ZERO (0) “short intense” intervals in SSBHV.
Get ready for a LOT of the same…oh god it’s so much all the same…

6 days a week is great, how many HOURS/DAY do you have available to ride? HV is 2 hours/day.
Rule of thumb is indoor training = 1.5x outdoor riding. Thus a 2 hour indoor ride would = 3 hour outdoor ride.

SSBHV is between your low/mid intensity and high intensity rides. It’s the pace where you get really sweaty and can usually only talk for a few words at a time. You aren’t huffing and puffing but it’s not a breezy cakewalk.

Because you are untrained you would need MORE rest simply because your body and brain are not used to the stresses and strains of STRUCTURED training. Even the big time pro riders start slow and low after taking a month off.

Jumping right into SSBHV might not be the best thing (even though I’d totally do it!).

The usual suggestion is to start with SSB LOW Vol – 3 days/week – and add rides on the other days as you see fit. That way you can complete the plan as structured but also do extra work as you want and as your body grows more capable.

Good luck!


That is not right at all. The training is scaled to your particular fitness and will be demanding, even if your numbers are low when compared to fitter riders. Trust us, with an accurate FTP from testing, you will be working plenty hard. And from that hard work, you will need appropriate recovery.

As you are new to cycling and indoor training, the common wisdom is to Start with Low Volume. That seems worth reiteration here as I would wager that you may well be on the doorstep of something you don’t fully appreciate yet. This may well be more than you’ve ever really done. I could be wrong, and maybe you can handle High Vol.

But I think Low is the right place to start, and you can move up to Mid Volume if you can handle more.

Agreed 100% with the above posts. I would start with the low volume, possibly add a day or 2 if you feel good and then go to mid volume at most for part 2.

The high volume is pretty insane, I am currently going through it (in the last week) and I would recommend against it unless you have at least a season of hard riding in your legs. The volume (and monotony) starts to really sting near the end.

Again, this…remember that training zones are all percentages of your FTP, not absolute numbers. Meaning a rider with a 420w FTP will find sweet spot work just as challenging as a rider with a 220w FTP.

It’s like saying to 10 people, “Go as fast as you can!”. You’ll get 10 different results.

It’s all relative.

The END?!?! :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

The monotony monster totally chewed off my face within the first few days! Ha!

It’s all good now. :wink:

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:stuck_out_tongue: I might be a bit crazy but for some reason I find those 20 minute intervals to go by fast, I can just set a power and stick to it. Its the over/unders that last forever for me.

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Fixed that for you.
You’re welcome.


What do you mean, I am totally looking forward to Wright Peak -1 tonight. Its going to be so much fun.

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Thanks all for the suggestions and the info about rest. I can easily do 2 hour rides throughout the week and fit in work.
I’ll start off with LV-1 then move onto MV or should I move to LV-2?
I’m an enthusiast now but I could see myself going into TTs. I’ve already got my eye on Sustained Power for the build phase

I was in your place just before Christmas when I started SSBMV1. I have ridden a fair bit for the last two years, mostly MTB, always trying to go faster, but until now, I’ve never done any structured training.

My suggestion would be to do the LV plan. I wish I had. For the first two weeks of MV, I was kind of bored, and really wanted to do more intense work. In the third week, suddenly I was getting tired, and but the end of week three, I was sick. For a week, I just did a few recovery rides until I felt better, and I resumed training at the beginning of week three again. The break helped me for awhile, and then again in the middle of the fifth week, I was very tired again, and I failed to complete an over-under workout. I’m now in the final recovery week before I test again for SSB2. I am not sure how it’s going to go.

At this point I wish that I had done the LV, because I feel like the training stress was too much for me, being new to a proper training plan. I would have been better off with a lighter load, and I think I would have been more successful with it. Don’t think that the lack of high intensity in the first two weeks means that you’re not getting any benefit.

If you do the LV, you can always add rides, if after awhile you think you’re not getting enough. I intend to to do SSBLV2, and add a low intensity ride on Sunday if I’m feeling good after the second week of the plan.

I would do SSB LV1 and then see how you feel, if you managed the training stress pretty easily and possibly added some rides I would go on to SSB MV2. If however you were feeling pretty tired/sore at the end of LV1 I would stay with a low volume plan moving on to part 2.

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SSB2 is a major step up in intensity from 1. I think MV would put you in a major hurt locker. Again, do the LV and add an easy outdoor ride and see how it goes for a training cycle. Too much too soon is recipe for sickness, injury and burnout.

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This is really hard to predict, all you can do is try it. I’m older and when cycling 6-8 hours a week outside its really easy for me to slide into SSB HV plans and be very happy with results. The problem - for me - is taking that big base into a build phase and getting my butt kicked by the vo2max work. Everyone is different, you might do fine with HV SSB plan and then have no problem moving into build. Won’t know if you don’t try.

There is no wrong answer, you are the coach and the plans here are awesome so don’t be afraid to experiment. Ultimately the best plan to getting fast is to have a target event, then use the calendar to design your own SSB1 > SSB2 > Build > Speciality progression.

  1. I’d love to see the metrics of how many people actually finish High Vol plans without issue.
  2. I almost want to watch this as a documentary, some decent rider who has never done structured training take on a 6 week High Vol plan and just see how it goes. I think it would be mildly entertaining.

To put it in perspective for new folks, i’ve never been able to complete a MV plan without getting sick and take a few days. I came close this year, and I generally run a pretty high level of TSS in the summer months (600-800), but I never quite seem to make it through SSBMV tip to tail without getting sick during offseason. It’s a serious effort.

HV is more mentally taxing than physically… you will burn out, better to go with a Low/Mid plan and mix in some outdoor / skills rides.

OTOH I’ve burned out on mid volume from all the boring trainer work when there is not outside rewards… My point being, don’t be afraid to experiment and figure out what works for you. You are the coach, and the plans here will help, but ultimately it comes down to what works for you

Thanks for all replies. I’ll do LV1 interlaced with some long rides outside.


Just into week 6 (recovery week) of SSBHVI, first ever structured training. Mentally tiring will go back to SSBMVII to add in some races.


Good call doing low volume combined with unstructured outdoor rides.

The reality for most folks is that we’re not qualified to pick and choose which indoor rides to substitute. So the only practical way of completing 100% of the indoor workouts and still being able to ride outside is to choose LV.