Overs/Unders - 120/80%?

My mind is blown. I don’t know why I never thought of anything besides 105/95 for over unders?

Now all these possibilities! 105/90, 108/95, 108/90, 108/85, 110….


Why do we have to make things so complicated :confused:

Ok, mister :+1:, but I disagree.

Guess there is no right or wrong here. If the goal is train lactate shuttling, then imho it makes sense to produce a high intensity spike and a load of lactate, and then actually facilitate the shuttle by a bit lower power. If the goal is race specificity, then mimicking race demands should rule. Etc.

Perhaps approaches can even be productively combined flexibly :open_mouth:

From TR itself…

@brendanhousler I remember listening to this episode, and finally the idea of why we do over unders (beyond pain for pains sake) made sense.

Many months ago I sent you a worried email as I was getting into cycling, and you replied with some encouragement and advice. Honestly don’t know if I would have stuck with it had I not contacted you. Thank you so much for everything you do for the cycling community.


Nope, we can’t allow opinions like that to propagate on here. It sounds dangerous and who knows what it could lead to.

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Says who, exactly?

A lactate shuttle that reflects race demands is a perfectly viable workout. Obviously the closer you are to race season, the more race specific it becomes (or should).


so glad you stuck with it! and i greatly appreciate those kind words. LGLGLGLG!!! :rocket::rocket::rocket:

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Because we get hung up on minutiae

Well, my only criticism of over/unders done at +/- 5% of FTP is that for many athletes a ramp-test assessed FTP probably has error of at or above that. Heck, even day-to-day variation of FTP might exceed that. So you could in reality be doing threshold, then VO2max, then more threshold…etc…so that gets pretty intense pretty quick. Or you might be doing sweetspot, threshold, sweetspot,threshold, etc which is fine but isn’t going to do a lot upregulate mct1/mct4. But, still, either workout is likely to trigger some adaptation.

Either way, TR has got you covered. If you want to find some alternative to your over/under workout just go to the workouts page and search for ‘float’. You’ll find plenty of workouts that have you working between some intensity in the 80% range and some intensity in the ~120% range. I love TR suite of float workouts & would recommend them to anyone.


Interesting thread.

Did 3x15 O/U yesterday: 1’ @ 120%, 1.5’ @ 83% x 6. In two minds whether it was a good but tough workout or whether I would be better served making it slightly easier. I wonder whether HR response is a good measure e.g. HR should peak above LTHR then drop X beats during the under.

This is the final 15 min set:

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I’m doing a block of over-unders as last phase of base season. I’ve been doing them 115%/85%. Started 3x12minutes, 1min on 3min off. Every workout I’ve added 4min to one interval. Hoping to finish at 3x20min.

I like them a lot better than 95%/105%. I actually feel that I’m producing lactate and clearing it instead of being just flooded with it. Also I can hit a lot higher hr about 93% in last 2 workouts with lower rpe.

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I think workouts like Pierce or similar are a good substitute

Agreed, I feel I’ve progressed so much more in just the last 2 months (compared to 2 previous winters of 105/95 O/U training) by bringing in these percentages (TTE has increased a lot!!). 105/95 use to crush me, but now that i’m doing higher percentages of Overs, it actually feels more manageable, plus the results are showing in my other threshold workouts. I’d recommend this to anyone.


Could you please share your over/under workout with time and percentages?

Another thing to consider, how do you guys manage 105/95 on the road or really anything other than ERG mode?

This is my first year of doing O/U outside and so far I tried in the classic TR prescribed way of 105 95 - or at least most workouts seem to be written that way in the catalogue - and I find myself chasing the watts after I return to the “under” section.
What this means is that instead of being 95% constant, due to changing gradients and other factors (so not due to fatigue), I am above 95% even before the over begins to make up for a decrease in average watts here and there…

Impossible for me. I’ve tried over-unders with a narrow range on the road and it just doesn’t work. I need more than a 30w spread between the two. Now, doing something like 110/85 or 120/90, where there’s a wider spread between the over and under is much “easier” to hit.

I also find that going over @ 105% just isn’t that difficult and I wonder how much lactate is actually being produced at that level versus say 115%, as an example.

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Most probably don’t. You dont need to be that precise, what is the point, what does it achieve?
Just ride around threshold and let the terrain take you over and under. Or play games… do a soft attack, settle back in as hard as your dare, put a hard attack in for various durations settle back in at the limit you think you can hold for the duration of the interval. That is good enough, has the desired phyisological response and replicates real life riding.

I did my first OU at 80/125 3x10’s on Sunday. The 30 sec 125% was enough to elicit a lactate flood & 80% definitely allowed it to clear. I’m thinking to go to 80/120 & stretch the 120 segment to a minute. I’m at the very beginning of my training (AICoachChad has my ftp a handful of watts higher than I’d like) & the workout I did was tough, not “I almost can’t do this” tough but “I’ve been only doing endurance for a short while & really need to increase intensity” tough. This is what it looks like: