Overs/Unders - 120/80%?

I’m the one drafting :wink:.
If you’re only gaining 10% from drafting, stop riding behind jockeys.


Did o/u at 85/115 instead of 95/105 today. They are very different beasts, I’ll say that much. No idea on what the effect will be, but will switch to this format for a few more weeks and see


How much time over and unders? And totale time?

2:15 under, 45 sec over. 3 intervals per set. 3 sets total. So 27 minutes overall.


My basic O/U format is 90/120%.
2:30 under, 0:30 over, repeat 5 times for a 15 minute set and do 3 sets for 45 minutes total.

A coach on a free consult recommended that given my strength as a diesel, I should start Tempo over/unders after a short early base period - the over part being 30s at 5-minute power and the under 4-mins at Tempo, so this thread almost exactly describes what I’ve been doing.

Once a week at the moment I’m doing a simple progression of increasing interval duration then upping power 5% for the under. Today was 1x60 @ 80%/125%. While I’m doing strength at the moment, I wouldn’t want to do a much harder session, but after 2 months of strength I’ll back that off and see how I get on with SST O/Us.

I really agree with an earlier comment that this type of O/U dynamic is quite similar to races. Last year I packed my overs much closer together and at a lower %FTP (115%), but in races surges only really come out of corners, hills, random attacks in my limited experience, so maybe 4/5 times per lap, but the surges are always hard

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N = 1, but since 2016 I’ve done most of my “threshold” and “sub-threshold” intervals as Over/Unders. Rather than 20min @ 95-100% FTP, do :30 of 115%+ then 2:00 of 90% 8 times. Rather than 20min of 90%, I’ll do 1 min at 120+% then 4min at 80%, or something like 15%/85%. The average power ends up being about the same, but I felt it was easier to pass the time on the trainer and that my zone 5 was more “primed” when it was time to start zone 5 intervals.

On other posts, I’ve mentioned that I used to call this the “sweet pepper” training method (sweet spot “peppered” with zone 5 or 6 bursts).

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85/115 IMO is more of a real world type effort for ME. There’s like no scenario that I can recall in a race where I’m say in a 3-5 man group and I’m riding at 95% then 105%. It’s much more like 95% then 120%+.

This reminds me of the gravel racing in my region, lots of flat stretches or rollers where you’re pushing sweet spot or high tempo and then DRILLING it for 20-90s (small climbs and rises), and by drilling it I mean you’re going into VO2 max EVERY time.

If I’m doing an OU session I’m going to make it HARD. 95/105 isn’t that hard, hell, that’s within the margin of error of just randomly undulating outdoor terrain. 90/120 is though.

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Here’s an over/under segment from Wed worlds, I’m in a rotating paceline/echelon of ~5-8 riders in 12mph and very gusty crosswinds.

LOTS of “way overs” !

Here’s a race from last week with 6 of us rolling the break from KM0. Not an OU session per se, but a snippet form real world race pace effort. Tons of short big efforts and funny enough, not much sweet spot.

And a 4x12 OU session where I was targeting 360-380 for 1m and 265-280 for 2.5m or 120-122% and 85-90%.


funny how really gusty crosswinds on flat roads can do that, huh? Mine wasn’t planned OU session, its just how it plays out in the real world. Looks similar to your race.

Over unders are not supposed to be a race-specific workout. This thread has gone off the rails with people disputing whether 105/95 or 120/80 will fit the power demands of a breakaway.

From what I’ve heard on @MikaelEriksson’s podcast, it’s his opinion as well as the opinion of a number of his interviewees that the “under” should be at 80-85% at the most.


That’s my understanding too. Though they might be similar to a breakaway situation, the point is to train your lactate clearance. So you build up lactate on the overs and then clear it on the unders.

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.