Doin' only Sweetspot Base 2

Good day everyone. Am just wonderin’ if I could just stick with SSB2 as my only training plan. I did notice that I get significant gains from it compared from doin’ General build phase.

1 Like

Early gains tend to be bigger. Are you relatively new to TR / structured training?

General Build actually provides greater training stimuli as it’s similar to SSB2 but harder.

I think there is not enough discussion about what training is “good enough” vs. what is optimal.
For 95% of us just doing SSB is going to get us to a level of fitness we can be happy with and that is very functional. ie. the ability to push the pedals quite hard for a fairly long time. If we want to get to the upper reaches of our genetic capabilities and race and be competetive and be a winner then it’s certainly better to follow the plans properly and you will get better results out. But there is a cost to that for sure.
My N=1 is that SSB works well for me, i throw in occasional other workouts to sharpen certain profiles, like 1 min power, but doing a full build kills me. But i’l fairly old and i rarely race and i also run and tbh i’m fast enough for my needs.
The best training is the one that you actually do: - If you enjoy the SSB workouts and you do them then you’ll be better off than if you sign up for Build but hate it and miss the workouts.


this type of question has been picked up in the podcast frequently.
a few considerations:

  • FTP is not the only measure of improvement (you can improve e.g. your vo2max and stick to the same FTP)
  • You are more likely to hit the limits, specially on low volume when you don’t vary as much
  • do the workouts get you where you want? This is in line with the first general point, but if you have specific goals, a specific plan can get you there faster or if not quicker, maybe more sustainable…
  • You will get good at what you train :slight_smile: fairly simple, but wiht base, you will improve your sweetspot work :slight_smile:

You could try it a few blocks if you don’t have specific goals/events, and see where it takes you, but if your do have specific goals/events, I would put my trust in Chad :wink:

1 Like

I’ve been doin’ TR workouts for already a year and a half now. Since then I noticed that I tend to get bigger gains just by doin’ workouts under SSBLV2 compared to build plans. That’s the reason I came up to a point of just doin’ SSBLV2 workouts.

1 Like

I have notice the same, SSBLV2 seems more effective to me

I’ve toyed with this approach a few times, mainly when getting my arse kicked in a VO2 Max workout. I don’t race, and my focus is on Endurance events (Sportives/ Audax/ Gravel) and just getting out on long spins with faster groups.

Ultimately though, even though build is harder, there’s not enough difference not to take the progression into Sustained Power Build for me.

I’ve toyed with mixing it up with General or Short Power, but really, work on a weakness so I can do a ramp test better?

1 Like

I guess it depends by what you means by gains, in the end.
Most of the riding I do would be covered by SSB, but I think that not only I’d get bored doing the same all the time, I’d miss out on other adaptations.
YMMV in the end :slight_smile:

As has been said, that depends on your def. of gains. FTP is not the be-all. I’ve managed to match my best FTP ever this year just by riding consistently outside 60-90 mins a few times a week but I know my short power is well down compared to the same FTP last year but following a full plan. :slight_smile:

1 Like

I see the most most gains from SSB2 as well. Just being able to ride to climbs and not feel smashed at the start is huge for me. And I feel I have a better level of fitness.

This is my second go at SSBMV2 since April and with my higher FTP I am really struggling to finish the workouts. I feel fit and strong but the workouts are crushing to me. I’m thinking I might need to reassess my FTP or drop it some. I don’t want to drop it an amount that isn’t based off anything but let’s me get they the workout because I still want to physiological adaptations to happen.

I think im going to try something similar. Several times now ive got into TR with breaks/time off and my FTP has jumped 5-6% per SSB1 & 2 respectively, so each time, getting 12% from SSB1 &2 then going to Build meant Build was a disaster each time. My biggest gains are always in SSB phases.
i think that unless you are seasoned i think there is merit in doing the basics until you see a slowing down/ plateauing of FTP/improvements and then move up to build. The premise of TR workouts is bang for buck in Minutes and so they do really push you and mental state and fortitude is so important. For the average cyclist its so hard to get through, and so when combined with big jumps going into it, it multiplies the difficulty. I’m now an advocate of moving to build only when ready

Feel i would have been much better off using the additional time to keep repeating and improving until I see this pattern or get to the Plan builder saying event is on date A in 2021 and you now needs those 8-16 weeks to do the build/spec

I would suggest the opposite, instead of building your FTP to the max with only SSB, and then trying further improve with Build… (and failing even harder trying to do build with a maxed out FTP and no experience with the harder stuff…). I think it would be better trying to keep up with build and don’t avoid the hard stuff until its “necessary”.

I am in the same boat here except I am doing General Build which is essentially first half Sustained Build and second half Short Power build. I mainly do rides like yourself and head out on long spins with fast groups. Also do quite a few solo spins down the coast that are like 40-60km threshold efforts. Engaging with a build program at the moment to build my capacity to push the bunches I ride with rather than just hanging on to a wheel over Summer.

That said, what are the main differences between SSB2 and say a Sustained Power Build program? Would I be stating the obvious if I said that the main difference is the fact that SSB2 has more Sweet Spot work whereas SPB has more threshold work?

They’re pretty similar make up, but longer workouts at similar intensities. Also some progression of interval length, and threshold more above the line.
SSB2 MV - VO2 Max (60 mins), Threshold (60 mins), Threshold (90 mins), SS (120 mins)
SSPB MV - VO2 Max (90 mins*), Threshold (90 mins), Threshold (90 mins), SS (120 mins)
*a lot of the extra is endurance at the end.

It is harder than Base, no doubt about it. I find I can get away with less than optimal fuelling, recovery etc. in base. Build will make you pay for it going in under prepared.

I do feel like I’m running from VO2 max a little sticking with SSP, but based on the events I put into plan builder that’s what it came back with - my A events were/ are Gravel Grinders, I wasn’t planning on “Racing” so were put in as Gran Fondo’s .

1 Like

Just to highlight what gets a bit lost in this summary:

  • SusPB goes all in on suprathreshold workouts. 4x8@108%, 6x6@108%, 5x9@102%, etc. SSB2 does more with sweet spot and subthreshold work, and culminates in 4x10@100%. It may not seem like much, but you feel the difference (deeply :sweat_smile:).
  • The VO2max work in SusPB is not just longer than the parallel workouts in SSB2; it’s also harder. It starts with 90/60s instead of 30/30s, winds up to 6x3@122%, and finishes with 9x3@120% instead of SSB2’s 6x3@120%. Clearly working over the same energy system, but SusPB is going hurt more.

Thanks for this and also to @Macy for the reply there too.

So it seems that SusPB is a harder version of SSB2. If the goal was to ride at and slightly above Threshold for a longer period of time over Summer with faster bunches out on the road, then perhaps the SusPB is a better option to undertake rather than SSB2? If the goal was to ride below threshold and at tempo for rides outside and not so much with the faster bunches that push you hard on the road then perhaps SSB2 is the better option?

If one had more time it seems logical to have SSB2 lead into SusPB.

I have also found SSMVB 1+2 to give the most gains and endurance. Build just breaks me down and I find myself not doing the plan as it’s prescribed.

With no races on the schedule, I have been doing something similar to SSB for the past 6 months and I feel the fittest I’ve been in a long time on the bike.

  • long SS, long ride, Vo2, over under, threshold, long tempo.
    I pick a combination of 4 of those each week and add 10-15 min aerobic at the end of each ride. Mix in a recovery/easy ride here and there and I get 8-11 hours biking a week

The ol’ Picket Guard workout surely gets a run when you choose the over/under session? I did Picket Guard this morning and actually really enjoyed it as an over-under session.

Picket guard, CP2, Leconte, broken finger, etc. all are nice. They hurt but I am very happy after doing them.

1 Like

This thread makes me feel a lot better.

Build killed me. I never finished a workout. With some, I was barely getting 1/2 to 2/3 the way through. And it never felt like I was on the bike long enough to make any gains. If I’m being honest, it made me skip workouts. I started feeling like my time would be better spent in the gym to get stronger to be able to get through the rides. And that’s on top of the gym workouts I already do.

SSB 1 & 2 were difficult, and I was barely getting through workouts, but I was getting through. That little bit of “accomplishment” and the “runner’s high” kept me coming back.

I may start a SSB repeat routine, too.