Do I need a VO2 Block?

Hey TrainerRoaders,

I’m currently in Week 4 of SSB LV1, and I’m considering adding a 4 week (3 loading, 1 recovery) VO2 block after this, before returning to SSB LV2.

It would look like this:

Each of the 3 loading weeks would progress on the previous, and then a recovery/adaptation week to follow.

The reason I’m thinking of this is because I feel my VO2 max may be a limiter to my FTP growth. If I can grow the ceiling, I can bring up the floor more.

My all time 5min best was in May where I produced 301w @ 228w FTP ( = FTP around 75% of VO2) and this seasons best is currently 261w @ 215w FTP ( = FTP around 80% of VO2).

I’m wondering if I do a block of VO2 work, can I raise that ceiling, to where my FTP would be around 60-65%, and then grow it back towards 80%?

Or do I trust the plans, knowing that SSB LV2 and Build plans have VO2 work in them?

Thanks in advance

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I’d say that if you keep working on that foundation, you can build the ceiling so much higher. The base on which you build.

If you feel like SSB1 isn’t challenging you, try adding volume at low intensity if you can find the time. Do a longer version of the workout, add another Z2 workout to the mix.

If you don’t think this will interfere with training for any specific events, I would give it a try! I think this is one thing that’s great about TR; it allows you the opportunity to modify and try things out. For me, this would be the perfect time of the year to experiment.

However, if you are strictly following a plan for an A-race or event, you may just want to stick to the path you are on and add some low-intensity volume like to the plan.

Would something like pettit be classed as a good low intensity workout to add if you’re looking to add some volume?

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SSB LV1 is challenging enough, as I add an outdoor ride every weekend, usually between 2 and 3 hours. I don’t think I could add another ride and recover well enough.

Thanks for your input


Yeh, Pettit, Beech, Carter all good low intensity rides

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No specific A race as of yet, so yes I think it would be a good time to add it in.

The TSS would be down on the previous block, but the intensity would be higher, so hopefully able to recover between workouts.

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Unless you are massively time crunched I would suggest adding volume before adding VO2 max work…there is quite a lot of that in SSB2 and the build programs. You may see a short bump but it will be nowhere near as long lasting as adding volume and then intensity later - especially as you have no A race on the horizon. If just adding a bit of VO2 max to LV worked I’m afraid we’d all be doing it!

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Just do SSB 2 That program already has Vo2 Tuesdays and over/under Saturdays. Plus, Chad has plotted out the weekly TSS/CTL increments for you. SSB 2 is one of the best TR plans in my opinion.

If you do SSBLV2 and have time, add in a long Sunday Z2 ride (2-4 hours) as that will improve your base and overall durability. You can always add Pettits and Baxters for volume on other days if time and recovery is good for you.

I think you’ll find better gains from 6 weeks of SSB2 than the short VO2 plan you have outlined above. The SST work on Thursday is important and the Over/Under work Saturday has VO2 components along with SST benefits.




Your ftp as % of 5-min vo2max is on low end, implying you need more sweet spot and threshold work. Read my notes from Coach Chad’s deep dive part 1: Time at VO2max discussion

Normal is 78-85%. At 80% or lower you want to focus on sweet spot and threshold.


I just completed a 2 week VO2 block, consisting of VO2 workouts MWF. Took my trainer with me to relatives for the holidays. I have a ramp test scheduled for 1/5, before starting SSB1 MV.

It might be a slightly different context, but Coach Chad has condoned a short VO2 block. See post below and all the threads that link to it. If you’re motivated to try it, then go for it and let us know how it works out!

If you want to target longer efforts like 5 min power, check out the VO2 progression in the back half of Century Specialty -> Monadnock +2, Shortoff +2, Old Rag +6.

The basic principles are spelled out in Coach Chad’s vo2max deep dive part 1 that I linked above. Copying from that older post, and updating it a bit:

Coach Chad VO2max Deep Dive, Part 1
Podcast 189

Training implications discussion starts at 29:30s

  • FTP estimate: final steps of a ramp test or longer test
  • vo2max-5min estimate: 5-min best effort, from a recent race efforts where you went really hard or your 5-min power from ramp test
  • Fractional Utilization, ftp/vo2max-5min
  • Average range is 78-85%
  • Ceiling is around 90%, and this indicates you need to do more vo2max work
  • for instance you have FTP of 255W and 5-min vo2max is 300W, that puts you at higher end of average with a 85% fractional utilization
  • But what if you have 230W ftp (77% fractional utilization)? Shift training to grow FTP via sweet spot, threshold, over/unders
  • But what if you are at 280W ftp (93%)? Then you need to do more vo2max work, either higher power, or more time at vo2max

So back to @Darce87 question… The numbers given for fractional utilization are:

  • 75% (FTP 228W / 301 vo2-5min) in May
  • 80% (FTP 215W / 261W vo2-5min) was best for this season

Those are on the lower end, and that indicates spending more time doing sweet spot and threshold work.


Interesting post this…have never even looked at this for my ramp tests - just the last minute for that 75%…I’m going to have an investigate!

Thanks for this clean breakdown. I recall hearing all this, but I was probably driving or something that kept me from really hearing the implications.

Personally I would do more SSB work as suggested above, … If i see correctly your Vo2 plan is driving a TSS of 200…lower than any training plans TSS … so just move on now to SSBLV2 which has some elements of VO2 sprinkled in … it’s also not clear what you have been doing since May, so drop off in FTP could just be the case of outdoor riding, I certainly see reduction post end of my plan but have other benefits not visible in a 20min ramp test ?

I would not rude sweetspot all the time etc even threshold…
Keep it simple. If you are not going to train your 3min and 5min power it is really not going to improve much and if not much then very slowly …
I would at least do 3min x 5 or 6 once a week
Threshold - 3 x 10min once a week
It may look boring but check the improvement after 3 to 4 weeks and this you can do all year round …
You can mix the threshold work for some variety… 10 min to 15mins and maybe later on 20mins …

Darce87, what did you do and how did it go?