Bluebell - how hard at end of sets?

This is something I’ve wonder about off and on, figured might be good to chat about. With bluebell, it’s always been super easy for me to complete (sets of 6x1min @ 120% with 60sec rest between intervals) and doing the 18min is never a prob and would likely tolerate more sets. Of course, getting me to do 90sec and over at 120% is a whole different tale once I really start to get to vo2max lol. So I was curious how hard should something like bluebell be at the end of a set? If anyone can link to any past discussions on these 60sec interval workouts to shed more light on their benefits, that of course would be welcome.

Here is a link to a discussion about Taylor (Bluebell is mentioned in the same vein since they are close together). I think the general consensus is these are relatively tame, but part of base training, which is meant to build to something more intense.


Yep - Bluebell is pretty easy - for VO2 anyhow - +1 is harder - +2 is actually easier than the base version. I like it in base and also as a tune up a couple of days before a race. But I think that Mills/Bluebell are pretty tame - when you start Dade and variations and then Spencer et al that it gets super tough :face_vomiting:

Also ensure your cadence is realistic for what you would use outside. I can spin at 115 for the intervals and this workout is a joke. However when I bring the cadence down to 100-105 it’s a completely different workout and challenges me just enough to get my attention.


I wasn’t looking forward to Bluebell but I lifted the intensity by a couple of percent for the last couple of sets. Then I got to Spencer+2, that was a different kettle of fish :face_with_hand_over_mouth: I’ve got one of the Dades in a couple of weeks.

Looking at my notes, I found Bluebell easily manageable and heart rate didn’t break what I’d expect from harder sweet spot intervals. I was worried about Spencer so cut Bluebell short before the last set and did some of Spencer, which I spectacularly failed repeats @ 100%, 97%, 95% and just about made it through at 92% so they’re VERY different.

Weirdly, 2 weeks later when Spencer was actually on the plan I made it through, although started at 97% for first 2 intervals as I wasn’t too confident!

Bluebell doesn’t really rev my HR too hard, which makes it easy to recover from and do it over and over. My estimated threshold is 164ish and the highest my HR got on that was 160, and that was at the end of the last rep of the first set. Interestingly, subsequent sets were done at a lower HR. Denali +2 is the one that worked me over hard. I’m pretty sure Bluebell is just for people newer to structured training getting them used to those high efforts without crushing their soul.

Had extra time due to no commute time since my my office is closed and I did the +2. Gotta say, you all are much tougher than me. The end of the last couple of sets required some audio doping to make it through. I did come in with a lot of fatigue from the weekend though, which definitely didn’t help.

Hello, I have also just completed Bluebell and found that the effort were easy for a VO2 workout. Is this intended since it is an introduction? Should I substitute the workout for a harder progression on my next SSB2? I want to feel like I pushed myself -if thats the intent of this particular workout.

Is there a rule of thumb for power target for VO2 effort? ie: for 1min effort use your 3mins power … or something along these lines

What @MI-XC said. Is cadence realistic? The faster you spin, the less you have to stomp down. The more efficient you are all the way around the pedal stroke, the easier these are, too. Want to really hate life? Do Bluebell at a really slow cadence. Like a seated climb where you ran out of gears. It’s a WHOLE different animal.

To me, any of the short intervals are pretty easy if I spin fast…when they become 1 min to 90 sec, you have my attention. (I almost always fail a ramp test too soon because I get to spinning too fast and can’t sustain that speed. Once pure muscle has to take over, I’m cooked.)

Don’t know about a specific rule, but I find that I have to turn up the intensity for workouts like Bluebell and Taylor-2 to get enough time at VO2max - else it feels too easy, as you say. I might start off as normal then turn up the intensity to 125-130% of FTP by the end of the first set.

I kept my cadence at the same point where I typically ride (~90-95rpm). I’m not sure if my “issue” is that my power curve is skewed towards low duration efforts since I never really compared power curve with anyone

I will try your advice and increase to 5-10% next time around, and hopefully the effort will manageable for me to finish and not blow up.


Try Ansel Adams instead.