Mid to low volume plan: workouts much softer?

I started with TR a few months back. At the time my goal was just to get fitter (I’m a general club rider), and having done quite a lot of sweet spot work on my own I decided to start with Short Power Build (mid vol). I also wanted to improve my mental ability to tough out vo2max workouts as I have always shied away from training this energy system.

It went well — I completed most workouts (except Sundays, see below) and saw a decent FTP bump, either because I was genuinely fitter or because I could better tolerate harder workouts. Either is acceptable to me.

After this I used plan builder to make a program that included a couple of MTB races. I dropped to low volume as I was finding it hard to fit in 5 days of riding and often dropped Sunday at mid volume. The new plan is Sweet Spot Base 2, Short Power Build, then Cross-Country Olympic.

The question: the workouts in the new low volume plan are significantly softer than the mid volume ones I did before. Mid volume SPB includes Mitchell, Junction, Matthes, Xalibu +1, etc, which are all level 6 or 7+. The low volume version barely touches level 6.

I hear a lot on the podcasts about people who use the low volume plans and have great outcomes. I assume they’re getting much tougher workouts than those I’m getting, but how? Are they manually picking + versions? How are the workout levels decided? My last test put my W/kg FTP at 4.19 so I’d assumed it’d pick harder workouts for me.


LV plans allow for the rider to place things like outdoor rides, gym sessions into their week without a higher vol plan destroying them.

I have moved to a LV plan which gives me two sessions with a crit in the week. I just use train now to increase my vol


Thats how I see/use it too.

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I’m also interested in the gains someone can get using a low volume plan with additional “easy” rides. Will you eventually need to move to mid volume to get above 4 w/kg for example?
I did a season of low volume and just about made it to 4w/kg but have wondered if going to mid volume will make me get even higher w/kg percentage.

Remember that when people, including Jonathan, Nate, etc on the podcast, talk about Low Volume they are referring to the old plans. No-one’s had sufficient time on the new ones to make a judgement.

I do the LV plans (the old ones) as it’s easier to head out for long rides at the weekend. Plus time constraints, life (hard physical job) and the like mean it’s easier to nail three workouts a week than muddle through four or five.

The workout levels are generic, it’s the progression levels that are specific to you. At the moment we are in a sort of no-man’s land where the new plans are out but they need AT to modify them to each individual and there’s only 900-1000 users on AT.

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They aren’t that different.

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I’m not sure they’re easier at all. I switched my Base II to the new plans and have been getting my butt kicked. Last night it was a 1x48 minute sweet spot effort with 12 sprints thrown in “just to keep things interesting.” In the old plans the longest interval was maybe 20 or 30 minutes. I had to switch out my monday VO2 max session (Ansel Adams -2) as well as the jump was 2.0 levels. I found a workout that only jumped one level (Bird). Similarly, last week I had to do Warlow +2, which were over unders where the under was at 98%. Not exactly an under!

I think they maybe look easier on paper, but the percentage differences or differences in rest make them at least equal to the old plans.

In retrospect I should have just finished out the last three weeks of my Base II, then updated the plans, but I got antsy.

We’re you doing any additional rides on top of your LV plan? I’m at 3.6W/kg with a goal of the magic 4W/kg. I’d be interested to know if this can be done on LV alone.

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Yes, I have added an extra 30 minutes to each 1 hour ride, or 15 minutes to every 75 minute ride. Also a easy recovery/ endurance hour ride on Wednesday. The 90 minute workouts on Saturday i keep the same, my plan adapted most my weekday rides to 75 minutes after using AT.
Sundays I will usually go on 3-4 hour zone 2 rides, somedays more, somedays less. Overall I added around 4-7 extra hours to my plan, depending on work/ life.
When I wrote my original comment, I was at around 3.9 w/kg and now after a ramp test today I’m actually at 4.17 w/kg. So i see no reason to switch what im doing at this moment. AT has definitely made me feel better with my ramp test results. I built my levels up for SSB2, skipped the ramp test before the first block of build. Which I think might have also helped.
Hope that helps!

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This is nothing more than an unbranded HV plan with a z2 substitution on Sundays, which is what I did for HV Builds in 2021.

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