Help! I'm stuck

Do you have any proof for your claim that one has to be completely off exercise for weeks or is this just bro-science? Ditto for the hormonal change.

I did nothing for the first week off then added some walks with the wife the last 2 weeks. I really needed a physical and mental break. It was difficult to do nothing at first, but I knew I needed it. After the 3 weeks I added a couple weeks of unstructured easy/fun rides outside. Then I started SSBLV while I added another easy z2 ride each week to eventually lead into riding 6 days a week. So this transition period actually happened gradually over 11 weeks before SSBHV. My TSS looked like this with SSBHV starting the week of October 26th:

EDIT: As a side note, I actually also concurrently took that time off of all cycling related activities. Meaning no forums, videos , bike maintenance or anything cycling related. A clean break and refresh of my cycling hobby.

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the blog also is a good source.

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@yajvans Should have read your own source then. The passages bellow were copied from the blog post. Also on the podcast they discuss that everybody does it differently. By no means they come up with a general recommendation to not do any exercise for weeks. On the contrary they even encourage you to do whatever you need to do in order to again become eager to train.

Maintain Your Aerobic Base

The longer you’ve been training, the slower you’ll lose your aerobic base. It takes about 25-35 days before you see a decline. The best news is that you don’t have to do much to touch up your base. Over your break, do an endurance workout every 10-14 days. A 90-minute trainer workout like Baxter or a 2-3 hour outside ride is enough. This endurance work doesn’t have to be on the bike. You could run, hike, or go for a swim. It just needs to be something that stimulates your aerobic system.

Establish a Strength Training Regimen

The benefits of strength training for cyclists are numerous. You want to begin a weight training program that you can maintain throughout the year. Plan to start out building your strength, then transition to maintenance as you enter the race season. Halting strength training will diminish the benefits. You can also plan out how you are going to incorporate lifting with riding. Just make sure to lift on your easier days and keep your off days for rest

As per Dylan’s video, it’s not the first one that is somewhat controversial. His last video about sweetspot training was equally questionable. After all he has very limited knowledge as a coach and the science doesn’t necessarily back his claims up that often.

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Doing some reading today - I came across this article

" Why would sweet spot cycling be overprescribed? If a new cyclist gets on a training plan with tons of sweet spot, they’ll improve a lot! And therefore be happy! BUT THEN THEY PLATEAU. EVERY TIME."

Anyone having some scientific insights into this to either support or refute or comment on this?

To my understanding the science out there is inconclusive. Some studies indicate pyramidical is best while others claim the same for sweetspot or polarized training.

Discussions on the matter pop up frequently on the forum. Here is one of the more recent ones:

For what it’s worth if you add endurance miles to the TR plans your tid will be pyramidical.

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Which of his claims don’t hold up? How does his experience at CTS and as a successful athlete not lend some credibility?

Being an accomplished young athlete doesn’t give you a hall pass. Also, it doesn’t make you a good coach. Stellar example being Lionel Sanders. :joy:

I don’t want to repeat the SS/POL discussion here that erupted after his last video but old but not dead yet has laid it out quite nicely. The science out there is just not conclusive. This applies to so many matters.

Anyhow, all those simple answers will only get us so far. It’s important to understand the underlying principles and then subsequently apply them to your own training. Good examples being nutrition, recovery, and workload.

which is exactly the first conclusion in the Dylan Johnson video :man_shrugging: And old doesn’t lay out anything nicely, and neither does ‘the science’ where you can go on pubmed and find studies to back up both your point and counterpoint. There are precious few studies that stand the test of time. The meta reviews help clear things up, versus cherry picking studies to make whatever point or counterpoint that you want.

This is where common sense points me to actual coaches that have been around (or worked for such a company) and seen what works and doesn’t.

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We are on the same page. That’s exactly what I said the whole discussion.

It doesn’t make much sense to follow generic prescriptions without looking at your own situation. Suggestion like “you must take 2 weeks off” oversimplify the issue and miss the point. In that case it’s about getting a mental break and allowing for proper recovery. Though that doesn’t mean that you cannot go out for easy rides or do some hiking, swimming, running etc. On the contrary, activities like that help to mitigate the fitness loss and perhaps also help to rekindle the love for cycling.

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Another data point - I was looking at my progression in XERT which tells me that I may actually still be progressing, despite struggling to maintain my FTP via the TR ramp tests. I don’t know much about Xert and I just have it set to pull my workouts from Strava - so not sure how to read this graph. I just see that the yellow line (threshold power) keeps moving up. I also don’t know if any of this can be trusted. Anyway, this makes me wonder… is the TR FTP telling me the right story? TR ramp tests are at a plateau, even declining somewhat, while here I still see progress :-S. Anyone using Xert or has experience with it to tell me what I’m looking at is still progress? Why would my TR FTP stall, while this keeps showing progress?



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Good discussion so far.

one thing nobody seems to have mentioned yet: on your longer rides, make sure you are eating enough. As you get stronger, your energy demands increase. You may be on a ride that is not super taxing in terms of percent of FTP but a kilojoule is a kilojoule and you need to replace that. If you are cruising along at 200+ watts for four hours and not eating enough, you can find yourself in a deep hole. This affects performance later in the workout and your ability to go hard again the next day.

on the SS vs. zone 2 debate: I also am not aware of any studies with conclusive evidence comparing the two, but there plenty of survey data showing that a strong predictor of success as an endurance athlete is training volume. And if volume gets high enough, you get to a point where most of it will be zone 2. Now ignore this if you don’t have that kind of time anyway (it’s irrelevant to you in that case), but there’s probably a reason why the pros go big big big on the volume.

And finally, if the guy whose “claims don’t hold up” is the Evoq blog guy then i have to say i kind of agree. He’s clearly a great athlete but as a coach, he has things to learn (as do we all).

@Keoni, @jwellford, @MI-XC


I came across this XERT article which talks about SS and how it affects people differently based on the delta between the LT1/LTP and LT2/FTP numbers. Ideally the SS power target seems to be below LT1 as otherwise it may be too stressful, suggesting to lower the intensity to below LTP and slightly increase the work time.

In my case, LTP sits at 78% of my FTP - SS target sits above that… as I’m looking to follow the recommendation to do the SS HV Base next, I’m wondering if I should slightly drop the intensity to below my LTP and increase the work duration (I guess this would then become mostly Z2/endurance sessions)…

Any insights, opinions or experience with this? Would I still get the same benefits? Or perhaps even more benefit?

Another thing they mention is that SS work is ideal for time trialists, but not necessarily for road racers for which they suggest a 80:20 polarized approach. As of what time commitment would a polarized approach make sense?

Haven’t tried Polarized training. TR programming has worked great for me in my cycling career and SSBHV has broken my plateau from 2020. So I’m not looking for anything else. Careful with paralysis by analysis. If you go searching you’ll find support no matter what training method you choose. Go with whatever will keep you consistent and motivated. When you’ve maxed that out, look for training marginal gains.

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You mean I might not have made optimal progress this year because I started with SSB -> SusPB -> SSB, switched to high volume z2 when the pandemic started, then SSB -> custom polarized -> my current custom plan?? :thinking:

I realized when looking at my calendar that my year could be considered unstructured structure or structured unstructure. :rofl: At least if my FTP remained roughly constant during the year I saw improvement in applying that power with PRs across a variety of time durations.

To the OP: my option might not be very popular, but you’ve been riding for 1-2 years and have had great gains. Cycling / endurance sports are about improvement over years and years, not months. Plateauing for a bit is not a big deal. I wasn’t training with structure at the time, which could have been a cause, but there were long (2+ year) periods where I plateaued or gained 10w on my FTP. At some point you will need to increase stimulus or change things up to make more progress, but it sounds like you have been making other improvements during this period. Again, the progress you’ve made so far is tremendous and I wish I could still make that kind of progress. I hope you find it very satisfying when looking back on it.

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It’s hard to compare us average people to elites. You have to question why you do sweet spot and why and elite might do sweet spot. Sweet spot is nothing magical. For the vast majority of us it’s a form of threshold training. In time crunched plans it’s introduced earlier to make up for the lack of volume.

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Based on the suggestions in this thread, would it be a correct statement that when doing HV SS base, there are longer term benefits to replace a scheduled SS ride by an Endurance ride of equal TSS to improve my aerobic fat burning engine, should I have the time? Would this be worth the investment?

Yes, the longer you can push your long ride the better IMO. You won’t be lacking long SS work, but one even longer ride at a lower intensity is an excellent substitution that I think will absolutely benefit you more in the long run.

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Sunday’s SS is a good workout to substitute for a long z2 ride.

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I’m a bit late to the party but my 2 cents:

I agree with the people who have said to take a short break off. You’ve come really far in the last year and you’ll continue to be successful going forward. At some point there is a benefit to taking some time off to reflect, let the body come back in balance, recover, etc and this might be that point.

It seems like the idea of having time off gives you some stress and this makes me feel like you need it. Its ok! Cycling is a multi year endeavor and something you can do until you’re like 80yr old. Take some time and enjoy the ride!

If you can’t get your mind around taking time off then consider going “off plan” for a few weeks. Ride for fun and try and keep your TSS at a manageable level.

Not being able to push bigger watts indicates to me that your legs are just tired.

I agree that if you return to SSB then change the Sunday workout to a longer Z2 effort. Also consider dropping Friday Z2 form the SSBHV plan so that you’re fresh for Sat big workout.

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