Out of Shape Should i first do traditional base or could i jump straight into sweet spot base

Hey after a long absent of any sports (due to sugery) my Cardio level is very low.

Could i just start sweetspot base phase or would i be better of doing traditional base phase 1 (more time in z2) to get in better shape ?

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I took off 5 months last year, and did traditional base 1 and 2 (mid volume) before restarting sweet spot base. Really happy with that approach.


Depending on just how out of shape you’re talking it might be best to have your “structured plan” a few days of riding per week. Give yourself a day in between rides and slowly extend the time until you’re comfortable riding for 1.5-2 hours.

Maybe 2-4 weeks depending again on just how out of shape you are. From there you can get into a full on training plan that works with your goals and training objectives. But for now you just want to get comfortable and be prepared to start riding again. Jumping into structured training with a very low cardio level can kill your motivation and force yourself into over-training very quickly. Which would put you back where you are now.

If, however, you don’t think you’ll be able to ride without a full on training plan, the traditional base might be the motivation you need. Just be careful and listen closely to your body for the first several weeks and months

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I started Traditional Base 1 & 2 after 7 months of 3 x week rides, followed with SSB1 and 2 low volume. After this I felt as though I didn’t have a base, and spent the next 5 months doing a polarized plan. Currently in SSB MV and things seem appropriate. My take home is if you are truly “off the couch” it may take a year of “just riding” or low intensity volume before starting the SSB plans.

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I would be honest with yourself about:

  1. your motivation to train, and
  2. your ability to be on the trainer again regularly

it’s said often that “you don’t need to train before you train”, but as said above getting comfortable and prepared to start riding/training again is probably the barrier there - and that’s likely pretty personal.
For me, I moved to a new house over the summer last season, underestimated the changes and it took me off the bike for longer than expected. When I got back into training, I did 2 weeks of aerobic rides just to get into the routine of being on the bike again, then moved into some sweet spot training.

Being mentally prepared to train at sweet spot levels that were so much lower than previous was a struggle, and each ride I had to remind myself of quotes from the podcast on this very topic - that this is the new normal, that this is just where I am right now, that the fitness will come back, etc. - and luckily it started to feel good pretty quickly :slight_smile:

You’ll crush it, just get back in the routine and structure.

Ty for the answers gonna start Traditional base mid volume and see how it goes.
I have not been training proper since september noticed when i played a soccer last week i was really out of breath.
Also rode around a little on zwift this week and noticed hearth rate went up fast.

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It depends on how much time you to ride each week. They do the same thing. SST just gets more of the same adaptions in less time. As long as you have a valid test SST v Z2 shouldn’t be the concern. You work longer and longer intervals of SST just like you would build longer and longer Z2 rides in as fitness progresses.

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Addendum: sweet spot induces more fatigue than Z2 work. You’ll need to eat more and rest more if you do SST (vs Trad Base). All things to consider.

This was exactly how I felt and those few months last year are the longest time I’ve had off the bike in quite a while - strange feeling to be going through a workout on the trainer with a “high” HR, then get off the bike and the legs feel like you haven’t done a workout at all.

Here is how it went for me… My break was from May to late August. Started TB mid-volume the 26th of August and it took 3 weeks to bring HR and breathing under control. Added an extra week or two to TB 1. By week 8 or 9 (late October) felt really good doing tempo workouts and ready for full sweet spot base. The weather was good so I did a lot of outdoor workouts. As an experiment followed TB 2 with 10+ hour/week polarized block but legs still not ready for that much intensity on the vo2 workouts. In hindsight should have just gone into SSB 1.

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Yes of coarse. That’s why I said it’s time dependent. Less time = SST because minute to minute it’s more stress than Z2 and why no one does 5 hour SST rides like endurance rides. However, SST was designed to be done nearly every day. Maybe not at first and you build interval time as you gain fitness just like Z2…that info is on Frank Overton’s website and I trust Frank more than anyone with sweet spotting.

Regarding the OP I honestly don’t think it matters the starting fitness level. It’s all relative as you progress so it just comes down to how much time you can ride each week and the TSS you want to target. For most SST is just way more bang for your buck.

Agreed. Also to the OP, if your cardio level is truly very low, then just start riding without worrying about what will get you in better shape, because at this point ANY riding will be getting you in shape! At first just do rides you find enjoyable. Get active and then worry about the details.


Gonna start traditional base mid volume 1 for 4 weeks .
Will see how i like it/feel and then decide the next plan.

If you’re so far behind that you need to ask advice I would seriously question doing a mid-volume anything.

Why not just do a low volume block (or half block) and start the training period off with a bunch of “wins.”

Mid volume TB still has you on the trainer for at least 90 minutes each day, that doesn’t sound like a ton for z2 work but you may not enjoy it. Any deficiency in core fitness will mean you could feel pain in your arms/wrists, your rear may hurt without your legs taking up much of the work, etc etc.

Were it me, I’d be doing SSBLV1, but repeating it twice before moving on to SSBLV2. It’s not too demanding and will give your body time to acclimate to the stresses of indoor training. Plus, everything is shorter than 90 minutes, so good return on time invested

The TR crew has said many times it’s better to start lower volume and add rides than start more volume and skip sessions. Consistency is key to improving

Best of luck with your training!


Well since i like to ride alot and got alot of free time the upcoming months it thought 4 days would be fine.
You would recommend starting with the low volume traditional base than ?

Outside of coming back from an injury/rehab, LV Traditional Base is not a good fit. SSB LV is the best bet then add in z2 rides on the others days if you have the time and can handle the load.

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Basically I think of it this way: If you’re unsure what you can handle, overextending yourself only tells you that you can’t handle what you’re doing. It doesn’t tell you what you CAN handle.

If you start too low, you figure that out pretty quickly and then can start to ramp up.

I guess it’s just hard to have a great season when things start out so difficult. I’d rather start out feeling good and use the base period to figure out how hard I can go.