Feedback on Experimental Polarized Plans

I will keep this short:
Who here has finished the experimental polarized plans and what did you think of them vs the non experimental TR plans you did in the past, watts gains wise.

(I’d use a poll if I knew how)

  1. Better?
  2. Same?
  3. Worst?


In my case, I’m finishing HVPol base, but after one month, I got the same 2 watts ai ftp increase as I usually get with other plans, so to me I feels like it’s the same results:

1 Like

I have been doing the polarized plans for almost a year now. I love them. I feel like I’ve had more growth with the plan vs Sweet spot. It also is more fun for me so I am more likely for me to do the workouts. Two thumbs up for me.

1 Like

Hi @tmoomaw, thanks for your feedback :pray:t2:

How many watts have you gained per month on these plans?

Well… Here’s the rub. I’m perpetually stuck in the 210-220 range but over the last year I have seen about a 20 watt gain in what I can sustain for 20-30 minutes. I think the big thing, and this is just a guess, is that since training is more enjoyable for me I have been doing more hours. Probably going from 3-4 hours on the trainer (during the winter) a week to 5-7 hours. I’m sure it’s safe to say that Ineos has been monitoring my progress and I will be getting the call up soon.


I have done 3 or 4 polarized blocks. I use them in addition to rather than instead of sweet spot blocks. All of the below is my experience (N = 1):

  • The results are different, neither better nor worse.
  • Polarized plans boost my mental fortitude and my endurance rather than my FTP. Hence, if you only look at your FTP, you might miss the fitness gains. Thanks to the gains, sweet spot becomes very easy and I can reach sweet spot PL 7–8 easily after a polarized block.
  • To get the most out of polarized training, you need to know your FTP very accurately. So verify your FTP with a few workouts after testing (or relying on AI FTP).
  • I find polarized blocks harder than the equivalent sweet spot block.
  • The killer combo for me is to do a polarized block first and then start with my training plan. I also insert polarized blocks in case I have been off the bike mid-season for unforeseen circumstances (illness, travels, etc.).
  • I enjoy sweet spot much more, because spending a lot of time right at the limit is hard. On the other hand, I enjoy being fast more … :wink: So I sprinkle in polarized blocks to augment the more traditional base and build blocks rather than the other way around. Consistency is king.
  • A polarized block is a novel stimulus, so you might seem some gains just because you are switching things up.

Overall, I recommend that you simply try it and see what happens. Ideally, it should become another arrow in your quiver.


That’s the key: if you like a certain training approach, you are more likely to be consistent. And consistency is king.

1 Like

I’ve done several polarized build blocks and while I can’t attribute any FTP gains, I do feel like on long gravel rides I’m able to maintain a higher z2 for longer. For me, there’s no substitute for 90 minutes or more of solid z2.


I’ve been using the Polarized plans this year. The biggest thing that has improved for me thus far is W/kg. I’ve been stuck at a weight for the last two years and now that I’ve been doing some long Z2 rides every week I’ve dropped like 15 pounds.

Going from base to build I had a 3% FTP increase via AI FTP. But I take that with a grain of salt since AI FTP overestimates my FTP.

I’m optimistic that by using a polarized base and build, I’m going to do the century plan and be ready to go in the summer for some long gravel races.

But what the real test for me for these plans will be that I don’t feel burnt out in July / August and just feeling stuck at a plateau.


Out of curiosity: was that primarily due to your FTP increasing your or you losing weight?

yeah, for me it’s also a great advantage is that I can drop the weight more easily due to all those z2 endurance rides. I’m also increasing my w/kg because of that :slight_smile:

1 Like

Better, simpler.

Where i ride, doing intervals outside is not enjoyable and dangerous. so I keep my outdoor riding to zone 2 with sprints. and do intervals indoors.

Doing 2 days of harder intervals on the turbo feels achievable and sustainable, compared to 4 less intense intervals on the turbo. consistency is key.

SSB got me to 4.5w/kg. Polarized got me to 5 throughout build period, before just racing to hold onto it.

1 Like


  • I am old and have various physical and mental issues affecting both performance and recovery
  • I am stupid and make bad decions
  • the terrain around where I live makes it challenging to ride pure endurance outdoors (at best you tend to get a 50:50 split between endurance and tempo with short unavoidable dips to sweet spot and threshold, IF 0.70 is pretty much the floor)
  • I get extra 3 x ~10 mins of tempo-threshold work per week climbing out of the valley with groceries
  • I no way, shape or form do I suggest that my experiences should be used as basis for adapting the plans

I just finished 2 x medium polarized phase, 1 x medium polarized build and 5 weeks of low climbing road race specialization (with an extra IF 0.70 outdoor endurance ride added to get roughly the same volume). I had a hard limit of 2 hours for indoor endurance rides.

Polarized plans worked well for me. I was able to complete all the workouts (bar one threshold that looked too hard) and got small and steady ~2 % percent increases from the AI FTP detection after each phase. By the end of the build phase I was still ~10 % below by all time peak FTP so this was nothing spectacular. I feel I could have probably gotten the same or faster progress from the standard plans (if I had been able to complete them). By the end of the build the workout levels started to get excessive, which backfired during the specialization, which I could not complete as planned.

The main benefit of the polarized plans was that I was able train 20 weeks without any issues. I feel like having (only) two hard workouts per week allowed my body enough time to recover. As opposed to the standard plans, which have 3 workouts per week which I would classify as hard. While these without a doubt produce fast(er) results, I have not been able to survive them.

Things I would do differently the next time:

  • cut the volume / training stress way down during recovery / deloading weeks (Taku/Petit)
  • start doing some sprint work during the build phase if followed by a climbing spec
  • substitute the 2nd VO2max workout during the climbing spec by a recovery ride
  • if a workout looks too hard, choose an easier alternative

I am sure both standard and polarized plans can work. I personally feel that the polarized plans are more forgiving than the standard plans and may be more suitable for those of us who have issues with recovering from hard workouts.


In my experience, fitness gains during polarized blocks express them less in increases of FTP, but in improved stamina. Perhaps that is the case with you, so make sure you try to gauge your endurance and see whether and how much your fitness improves. I’m not dinging polarized blocks, I use them in combination with sweet spot and “traditional” build blocks, just that you should measure different aspects of your fitness to see how your body reacts.

You could also try to combine polarized and standard plans. In the past two seasons I did a polarized block before starting a “vanilla” TR training plan, which really worked well for me. Even if that doesn’t work for you, I think it is important to simply try things and see how you react. :slight_smile:


I’ve been pondering this. I wonder if the FTP needle doesn’t get moved because you’re doing VO2 Max and Threshold, but not quite enough of either one to get the necessary stimulus to really improve either markedly, beyond extending TTE at FTP, which is of course very worthwhile in and of itself.

Just a semi-random thought.


I am not sure about the precise mechanism here, but maybe you are right. Or it might be that I reduce the number of intense days by one and add one long hard workout at endurance pace.

Yes, it might be exactly what you need. If you aim to do long days in the saddle, it might be what your doctor ordered. But if crit races are your thing, perhaps not so much.

If you experiment and make sure to measure fitness along a few dimensions, you can make these choices consciously. Another factor is consistency: @Semi_Matias wrote that he thinks he is more consistent and he found it easier. In case, he should continue doing that and perhaps sprinkle in some novel stimulus every now and then.

1 Like

I think you’re on to something there. My FTP is actually lower and my weight higher than in past years (illness, reaching my mid-50s, family stuff, travel, too much dessert…), but I’ve been on a cycling trip to Colorado, and after a few cycles of the Polarized stuff, I’m finding it far easier to climb and do long rides than I did when I weighed less, had a higher ftp, and was doing the standard SS plans. I was always burning out on those plans. I think consistency and more time spent grinding out long Z2 rides has benefitted my long game. This is perfect for me, because I’m currently in a period where I just want to enjoy being outside as much as possible and have zero interest in racing.