Increasing peak 5-min power

I want to spend some time working on increasing my peak 5-min power.

Is doing classic 5-min VO2 max intervals (i.e. 4x5 min @ 115-120% FTP) a suitable workout to do to increase peak 5-min power or is there something more effective.

I know that workouts for increasing peak power are different than those for increasing repeatability. The latter generally involve shorter intervals with a 1:1 or 1:0.5 ratio for work and rest whereas peak power workouts involve significantly more rest and fewer intervals—striving for complete recovery between them.

My 5-min power taken from my last ramp test was 417w @ 82kg. As an experiment I’d like to increase this, but have never worked on this aspect.

Check out the progressions in Sustained Power Build High Volume plan. Tuesdays are generally VO2. Thursdays start with longer VO2 at 105-108% and progress to longer Threshold. Saturdays start with over/u sets and progress to longer Threshold. Sundays are long SweetSpot.

Thanks, but I’m not looking for a plan, but more specific workouts that target increasing 5-min power.

I’ve done a bit of internet searching and most training articles related to 5-min power focus on classic VO2 max workouts. I’m curious if this prescription is effective in increasing power at 5 min or if there’s a more effective workout.

Based on your ramp test result, I estimate you could go 430-450 W for 5 minutes.

Pick a target power in that range, on the higher end if you feel like you over-test on ramp tests, and see how long you can hold it. Give it a go and report back. Otherwise, you’ll have no idea whether the specific training you plan on doing was actually productive.

Weird. We must share DNA or something! I have 1min and 5min power specificity training kinda sorta planned for the end of the month.

I recall reading doing 3min intervals to increase 5min power. I’ll try to find the source.

Will return to read what everyone else has to say on the matter.

To increase five-minute power, I would think you need to do workouts with intervals in the 5-10 minute range, which is low VO2 at the five-minute end (105-108%) and threshold toward the ten-minute end (100-105%).

Again, to train it, you’ll need a progression to keep forcing adaptations, and I think the workouts in the SPB-HV plan can a good set of examples to consider, even if not following the plan.


Training Peaks:

2 sets of 3 x 3 minutes on, 3 minutes off.
Rest for 6 minutes between sets.

You could also pick your target from the classic Coggan chart and work toward that.

Supposedly I should have “Very Good” 5min power, but I haven’t done any all-out 5min efforts in forever so…probably not!

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Increase your peak 5 min power, or increase repeatable 5 min power? How many times do you need to repeat it?

Answering those two questions will tell you if you need a more anaerobic focus or more aerobic. The 1x effort has a huge anaerobic contribution, the more times you repeat it, the more aerobic it becomes.


In my case, the biggest gains to 5 min power were the combination of VO2 max block and threshold workouts. But it was only growing organically by doing only the threshold block. Nothing fancy to be honest - I have never targeted peak power of 5 min as a separate goal but it was growing naturally (currently sitting at 5.65 w/kg so according to WKO - excellent).

According to the chart in WKO 5 min power is 86% aerobic so I do not know if the 14% is such a huge contribution. It is big but doing more aerobic stuff will contribute more.

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Try this one, roughly based on a Gordon Wright intervals session.

Start with 6-10 full gas 1min intervals, with full recovery (5 minutes) between each. Ride easy for 10-15 minutes, then do 4x5min full gas.

The power in the 4x5min will be lower than normal because the 1min intervals deplete your anaerobic tank. But this does mean they’ll focus on pushing your aerobic system to its limits.

Then when you approach a single 5 minute interval fresh, you’ll not only have trained your anaerobic contribution, but trained your ability to ride hard when that anaerobic contribution runs out.


Great tip, will give this a go. Sounds savage!

Isn’t a 5 minute effort something like 85-90% aerobic?

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While I think that number is right, I didn’t know WKO5 could estimate it. What chart do you mean?

My biggest increases to 5 minute power have come from maintaining a high cadence. I would not neglect that aspect. It’s hard to keep a high cadence for 5 minutes. I started at 3 and built up because it would tend to drop off after about 3 minutes. I’d guess I added 7% just by not dropping off cadence at the end. Shorter intervals you can brute force through even if cadence drops off and over longer intervals it doesn’t matter so much.


Aerobic and anaerobic contribution to power (available in basic and advanced view by default as far as I remember):

Yeah, once again TP puts out incorrect information about their very own metrics. :roll_eyes: I’ve seen Coggan emphasize again and again that FRC is not purely anaerobic. To calculate the latter, you’d have to base things off of VO2max, not FTP.

I did a specific 5 minute effort about a month back where I beat my old 5 min PR of 396w from January by 30w. My previous best was also from the ramp test - my FTP had come up about 30w too since the ramp test, but my short power was definitely lacking.

I did a 3 week block of 2 x VO2 and 1 x very high IF anaerobic workout. For me it felt like a case of getting used to the pain again. I knew when I was knocking out 9 x 3.5 min and then 8 x 4 mins at 393w 8 times that a 5 minute PR was inevitable. I used an interval in ERG mode to test it, which probably restricted me by a few watts, but we always feel that we could’ve done more once it’s over… I managed to do this after a ramp test, where I bailed after about 18 mins (wasn’t feeling it, and wanted to keep some powder dry).

FWIW I always ride the trainer at high cadences, especially high end intervals. For VO2, I aim to not drop below 110 rpm. It really helped me stay on track with the longer intervals.

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Here’s a reddit that might translate to applicable training:

You won’t increase your 1 minute power by working in 1 minute intervals. You need to do something just above that power level in order to build it… You need to work on raising the ceiling versus getting more efficient under the ceiling.

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We’re on a seemingly similar plan. I have nothing to target this season on than some local Strava segments and most of them fall in that 1-5-min range; so I thought it would be a fun duration to work on. I also think that having really good 3-5 min power can be very effective in winning local races.

I’m more interested in working on breakaway power, or what I consider peak 5-min power. The efforts you see in either establishing a breakaway or a race-winning attack. My thought was that I should do 5-min intervals as I would in a classic VO2 max workout, but have more rest in between them in order to fully recover. So something like 4x5 min @ full gas with 10 min rest between intervals.

This sounds awesome. I never would have thought to lead the workout with a series of 1-min full gas intervals and then wrap it up with 5-minuters. Thank you.

I came off a Polarized block that had me doing 2 VO2 max workouts weekly, one of them being long-duration intervals. I started at 4-5min. I think these really helped, but I’m scratching my head wondering if 5-min of rest between intervals is enough to fully recharge in order to hit the subsequent interval fully rested. I’m not sure it is, hence my original question. Thinking that doubling the rest interval might help set up the next for a truly full-gas effort. Less about repeatability, more about eeking out the max amount of power possible over 5-min. Hopefully with no power degradation from the first to the last interval.

Makes sense. Like in FTP intervals, we’re going slightly below the duration we’re targeting, but we’re hitting higher power in order to drive up maximal power at that duration.

For me, being able to do fairly high power repeats at 115-118% for a slightly lower duration (Mist +1 & +3) which would be very hard to do as 5 min repeats seemed to build my 5 minute power. When you’re knocking out say 30 mins of higher power work in a session, then you know you’ll easily be able to knock out 1 x 5 mins at 125%+. I think this is the same point @Captain_Doughnutman is making

IMO some anaerobic sessions would be valuable for all out efforts in addition to VO2 workouts, especially for your sub-goal of establishing breakaways. Again my workouts were repeats (Coldblow +2, San Joaquin +7 etc), but ‘Striped’ and its variants look better for building capacity.

Of course I do think specificity would work for you. I hit 10.19 w/kg 1 minute power last year just by chasing a LOT of short duration KOMs. I’d probably leave at 5 mins between this type of short effort. For a 5 minute maximal effort, I’d probably leave 10 minutes between intervals even though it’ll probably get boring…

This is all anecdotal so prepare your grains of salt!

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