Explain to me: Why does the sweet spot base phase HV have a higher TSS than any of the build or specialty plans?

I’m planning out my season, and I noticed that I SSB HV has the highest TSS of any of the plans in build or specialty. Any reason why? I know that TSS isn’t the end of all measuring tools, but if my TSS is supposed to grow as the season goes on, how can I accomplish that with TR? Just repeat SSB and mix in some other workouts that help me specialize?

TSS doesnt need to grow as the season goes on get faster/stronger.

You need progressive overload on a particular energy system to get faster/stronger, which has variable rates of recovery/stimulation depending on which system.

Sweetspot work can be at a higher volume relative to threshold and VO2Max without causing too much strain that you can’t recover from it, hence why SSBHV has the highest TSS for it’s phase.


I guess it’s the old all tss isn’t created equal. 600tss of sweet spot is going to be a lot easier to churn out day to day and recover from than 600 tss of vo2 max Etc. I imagine if you compare intensity it will be very different. No expert though just how I see it.

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common question, and @stevemz explained it. If you want more color commentary from the TR crew, checkout this blog post:


TSS and training stress are not the same thing. You want a progressive increase in your training stress appropriate to your specific race and goals, but that doesn’t always mean increasing TSS week over week. As others said, “not all TSS is created equal.” Sweet Spot Base has a relatively high IF and NP over longer durations in order to push your aerobic engine. Sprint and VO2 max workouts have lower overall IF and NP because they spend short intervals at very high power and longer times recovering because that’s what your body needs. Many/most people wouldn’t tell you that a sweet spot workout is harder than a VO2Max workout even though the TSS for the sweet spot workout may well be higher. Different adaptations due to different energy systems and muscular recruitment.


exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!

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I entered TR with a base much higher than the SSB plans demand (CTL low 90s) and chose SSB MV1 over HV1. In evaluating my goals, the quality of the MV plan is substantially higher than the HV plan. So to maintain my fitness level in addition to achieving the goals of SSB MV1, I substitute most workouts with +1, +2, etc. As I am now finishing MV1 and have reviewed SSB MVII vs HVII, it is clear that I will do exactly the same. So while I agree with all of the comments regarding not all TSS are created equal, there are ways to adjust/select the variations of the workouts available both to achieve the quality you want and the stress volume you can handle.

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Not sure I understand your reasoning, the primary differences on a weekly basis:

  • MV is 3 sweet spot, 1 over-under, 1 recovery ride
  • HV is 5 sweet spot, 0 over-under, 1 recovery ride

I’ve used both in the last 12 months, and both have delivered improvements on base fitness (including ftp bumps of ~5%). However it does feel like I exit SSB1-HV with more muscular endurance (not surprising), and I was able to obtain best HC climb to date (2+ hour climb up 5% sustained grade). But I didn’t rigorously test, so like I said it feels like more muscular endurance. My only issue with repeating HV in the future is time commitment.

For SSB-2 my preference is for mid-volume, to start working on vo2max in prep for build phase.

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First, congratulations on your improvement! Great job!

Now to try to answer your question:

I have no doubt that one can achieve gains in any of the plans, it is a matter choosing the one that best meets your goals, your time available, and [I will add] your training philosophy. So if, HV works for you, great!

As for me: One of my key training philosophies that I live by is to go hard(!) on hard days and easy(!) on easy days. In my view, MV allows me to do that but HV does not. While I have not done the math (on variation from peak for each plan by day), it is easy to visualize this in the 2 different training plans. And given the raw additional volume of HV over MV, I am not surprised about your “feeling” of greater muscular endurance with HV that would likely hold true if you did the metrics on time in SS and Threshold on both plans.

To give you a few examples of what is working for me and what I mean by going hard(!) on hard days:

12/10 (Monday) workout was Galena (3x20). I substituted Galena+4 (4x20).

12/07: McAdie+1: I modified from 4x12 O/U to 4x16 O/U

12/04: Geiger+1 (4x12 SS) replaced with Geiger+4 (6x12 SS)

11/21 Palisade (5x9 O/U) replaced with Palisade+”Extra" (6x12 O/U).

Conversely, for me the days in between hard workouts are for recovery - either rest or active recovery - but not endurance (i.e. additional muscular stress). So I will either take full rest days or do workouts where the max is 60/65% or reduce 75% workouts down to recover. Lots of examples, including several custom workouts that I have created to accomplish this purpose (btw: Workout Creator is fabulous for this and many other uses).

Bottom line for me: I can follow my training philosophy with MV and can not with HV.

One final important thing to note: I have the time/flexibility to implement this philosophy (i.e. 2hr+ hard rides) where others, such as yourself, may not have that same option. Thus, it is important to include philosophy, goals and time available into your choice of plans.


That’s why it would be nice to see the TSS for each training zone (this feature has been requested). So then you monitor your progression of TSS by zone. If not all TSS is the same, at least the TSS within Z5 would be consistant and you could monitor increasing Z5 TSS for your plan on a weekly basis, versus the TSS within Z4, versus the TSS in Z2 versus the TSS within Z1, etc.

So another feature request for the plans would be to show the weekly TSS “by Zone” rather than total weekly TSS. That would give you a better feel for the difficulty of the training plan.

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Thanks, very helpful and I understand your point-of-view. The last 3 you did appear to the last 3 workouts of SSB-1 MV week 5. At first glance it seems like you also added additional recovery days between workouts, as in the original plan those 3 are done in 4 days. But you did those 3 in 6 days, across weeks. Just curious, I’ve hadn’t considered sliding a workout into the next week due to the domino affect of having to make more downline changes, and having to consider the impact on original plan’s weekly progression.

Thanks for opening my eyes! I’ve played around with other types of substitutions in both MV and HV SSB, and can see using some of your concepts in the future!

Ride on!


Very good stuff in this thread but I guess I still need some further explanation on the thinking here – perhaps someone can drop some knowledge. Looking specifically at SSB MV II vs. SSB HV II

The SSB MV II plan includes Vo2 efforts, threshold workouts, high power sprint efforts embedded in sweetspot workouts, and overunders.

The SSB HV II plan is STRICTLY sweet spot with one recovery ride a week. Eat, sleep, poop sweet spot.

Now, how can these plans be so incredibly different in structure but classified as a simple “volume” step-up within the same category? Is the idea that once you surpass a weekly volume threshold of “X”, the most effective training structure is 100% sweet spot?

Should some version of bobmac’s hybrid of the two be petitioned into an official TR plan option for those seeking variety + volume?

I am in week two of SSB HV II and now my head is spinning! (thinking the first V02/OU efforts in proceeding build phase are going to really suck)

– a concerned TR citizen

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Dear concerned citizen,

Simple choices. If you’ve got the legs and mental stamina, go big or go home.

Your ftp overlords


Simply put: more volume requires less intensity; less volume requires more intensity to achieve similar adaptations. SSB is looking to build a broad aerobic base. If you’re only able to ride 5 hours a week, more intense efforts are required to establish that base. If you can bump that number up, you can afford to put in less intensity - indeed you need to - to survive longer times and establish the aerobic engine.

SSB2 HV averages 632 TSS/wk on 10.5 hrs/wk.
Trad Base 3 HV averages 631 TSS/wk on 12.5 hrs/wk.

Similarly, SSB2 MV cuts the time spent in the saddle by more than 4 hours per week, therefore to make up for the loss of volume, you have to add more intensity to achieve a similar adaptation. If you do one of the HV plans, you are bound to be more aerobically fit than doing a MV plan. By the nature of sprint and VO2 workouts and the energy systems and muscle fibers that enable them, you may well struggle through the first one in your build coming off of those HV plans because you haven’t trained them at all in the base phase, BUT you will have a stronger aerobic engine (the whole point of base) and VO2 and sprint adaptations come along much faster, and you’ll likely be able to push those efforts higher than if you had completed the MV plans because of your broader aerobic base.


^ this.

I have a goal of doing SSB-2-HV in late spring / summer as part of a rebuild. Someday. Completed SSB-1 HV a year ago, and it takes a lot of mental fortitude and target event to complete 12 weeks of SSB HV.

I decided to go big…oh boy! :sweat::sweat_smile:

Went from SSBLV to SPBHV…woah. World of difference.
Base felt like I was just riding my bike, Build feels like real workouts – I’m tired, my legs are sore, I’m eating my paycheque, I REALLY look forward to off/easy days… I must be getting stronger/faster, right? :man_shrugging::thinking:


Umm, sounds like you skipped the SSB HV test and didn’t graduate… buck up and next time slay the sweet spot beast!

Doing SSBHV2 after the Build phase.
I’m either going to win my A race by like 5 minutes or I’m going to be dead some time in early 2019. Either way, Coach Chad gets the better of me. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Hey I’ve only punched half the tickets to getting SSB HV prize, no excuses required!!

Sorry @kurt.braeckel If I understand your statement, I have a different viewpoint. My interpretation of your statement would translate into something like: you could trade off 10 hours of sweet spot work for fewer (e.g. 8) hours of threshold work (“to achieve similar adaptations”). My understanding is that each type of work (i.e. endurance, tempo, threshold, anaerobic, neuromuscular), all corresponding to different % of FTP, work different energy systems. I’m only guessing, but I would suspect that the reason Coach Chad doesn’t have “any” work above SS in the SSB HV plan is: 1) very difficult to do on the base that TR users have built thus far in the HV plan, and 2) Users following the HV plan will get threshold, VO2 and neuromuscular work during the Build phase