Question about low volume plans

So I’ve been suggested by my other threads to start out at the moment doing the Low Volume, SSB 1 and 2. Now, a lot of people said I could do this and do 3 rides during the week then still do an outdoor weekend ride. The thing is, as it stands I simply can’t dedicate an hour and a half during the week (I’m working 6 days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day right now) to cycling/training. I can do an hour at the absolute most.

I actually had the idea of just skipping the outdoor rides for awhile. At the most I’ll be at this job another 7 months, absolute TOPS. After that I will never work these kind of hours again. So for 7 months I don’t want to lose my cycling fitness, how far I can ride or how fast. In fact, I would like to SLIGHTLY improve it. Maybe once every month or two I’ll do a long outdoor ride, but my question is this…

The Low Volume, SSB 1 and 2 plans as well as the Low Volume Build plans have you only riding 3 times a week… 3 times a week, about 1 hour twice and an hour and a half once. How can anyone make improvements doing that or even not slide down the slope going backwards in progress? That’s always my fear, losing fitness.

If I can ride 3 times a week, say Wednesday, Friday and Sunday do the long ride on my one day off per week, it would be a tremendous help in my life, but if I’m going to lose cycling fitness and not get stronger what’s the point? Maybe I’m just confused and some folks can chime in. 7 months from now I won’t be doing this anymore, when that day comes I want to be able to climb on a bike, having kept losing weight (still need to drop another 20 pounds or so to be at the absolute ideal cycling weight for my height and yes I’m dieting carefully) and do as good if not a little better than I am right now.

Unfortunately my job is physical, it wears me out. I hate it but it’s probably my only option for another 7 months or so. Just trying to figure things out until then. Thanks everyone.

Not sure if you have started yet with TrainerRoad, but the workouts are based are zones, based off your own FTP.

You can very definitely get in a great workout in an hour.

Don’t forget that lots of longer outdoor weekend rides are far less intense that a SweetSpot or Threshold workout lasting an hour.

In my opinion you won’t lose fitness on SSB1 Low Volume unless you are already fit and doing 7 or 8 hours of general outdoor cycling. You will likely make some nice gains too.


Thanks for the reply!

I just heard that for whatever reason, every now and then you need a long ride, 3-4 hours long mixed in if you want to be able to keep doing rides that long. That you lose endurance? I’ve been cycling about a year and a half. Went from hardly being able to ride 3 miles to now topping out at 50, which takes me about 3 and a half hours. My FTP according to the TR ramp test is 194.

I am worried I might get faster, but if I do this for 7 months, when I try to go do a 4 hour ride I won’t be able to stay in the saddle that long. Maybe I’m wrong… I’m usually wrong about stuff! LOL

I’ve gone from 175 ftp to 253 ftp in a year doing 1-2 trainer road per week and 1-2 outside rides per week. It’s definitely doable. Work out hard for an hour, then take a day off. Recovery is the most important part of gains! Make sure you get your ftp set correctly. Base should be hard but doable. Build I had to dial back intensity by 10-25% until I got used to doing interval training. Now I can keep at 100% intensity.


Very nice! Once I have better work hours I would actually prefer to train more intensely. I would prefer to train at least 5 days a week, maybe 6 with a very long weekend ride. Right now though I’m not sure if I can do any long outdoor rides. On my one day off there’s so much I need to get done usually that dedicating a large chunk of the day to getting out some where, then riding for many hours is just, not feasible :frowning:

It will be again one day though, I can’t wait for that time. I just don’t want to give cycling up until that day comes.

No need to give up cycling. That is the only sure way to lose cycling gains :slight_smile:

Start SSB1 Low Volume and you won’t look back.


You can definitely get by! If you only have W F and Su to work with, you will make it work!

Make Wed a Long Sweet Spot once you work up to it, use Friday as a Tempo Burst style workout (90% FTP with some 120% bursts), and have a blast on your weekend ride.

You will still get stronger and your body will stay fit by being at a physical job.

Let me know if you have other questions, you got this!

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Usually, with the 1.5 long rides, there might be an hour long version of it, if that fits your time constraints more. Just click on the workout and scroll down for the alternate versions like a -1 or -2 version of it.


Haha! That’s what I keep telling myself. I’ll take yours and other’s word for it and give it a go. Thinking of making my days Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

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Well, it’s not so much working up too it, just my schedule. If it weren’t for my schedule I could ride 3 hours a day 5 days a week! Well, maybe not lol but you see my point. I keep telling myself that this job will help me stay fit too. It’s 90% stress and 10% physical work. If stress gave you gains I’d be Hercules by now LOL.

Thanks so much for the encouragement, it really means a lot right now :smiley:

Well, I noticed with some of them it just makes them “easier” but not shorter :frowning:

ah just meant working up the sweet spot duration…dont go 1 x 60 straight off the bat but work up to that for sure!

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Ohh I see what you mean. Does this explain those folks passing me at 26mph who ride for an hour and a half and cover over 30 miles? I was wondering how that worked :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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The low volume plan is good and better than any alternatives for that amount of time in seat.

Just a word of caution. The shorter versions of a workout aren’t always easier. If you compare the IF rating (Intensity Factor), you’ll notice that quite a few 45 minute workouts are actually more intense that the hour long versions. This is mostly due to the recovery intervals being shortened.

These workouts can really help if you’re short on time AND you’re actively looking to work on your ability to recover quickly after hard intervals.

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You won’t lose fitness if you stick to the low volume plan. Even substituting the 1.5 hour ride for another 1 hour ride would probably still result in gains. Despite a thread on the facebook page where some folks were adamantly saying you need to do long rides, I don’t agree. I’ve been doing low volume since November and comfortably completed a 70 mile ride without having to train up to it. I think the base fitness created in SSB and Build allows you to ride longer automatically than the typical TR workout.


I have been doing low volume SSB and General Build this winter. There have been weeks where I only got 2 workouts done and occasionally only one, but I still went from an ftp of 200 to 235, and I have done 0 long rides.

How long can you actually hold 235?

All depends on your starting point really. Someone that is a well seasoned regular cyclist might have a hard time gaining on Low Volume alone. But someone new to structured training might see good gains.

I went from about 4 years of riding my MTB once a week for about 2-4 hours, then started TR Low Volume in Jan 2018 at 150W FTP.

Over the last 15 months I’ve only used LV and averaged about 2 TR workouts in the week and one MTB 2-4 hours at weekends and I’m currently sitting at 238W FTP. :slightly_smiling_face:


That’s a good question. I have not tested it, but if you are implying that I can’t hold it for an hour, you’re probably right. Would I have been stronger and have more endurance, if I had done a 3-5 hour ride per week either on top of, or as a substitute for one of the rides? Very likely, but I (and the OP) simply can’t fit it in. My point was merely to show that you CAN get stronger on a low volume plan, unless you are already quite fit.