So today AT gave me a breakthrough VO2 workout

I’m in the build phase of my training plan and this morning AT served me up Taylor +1, a VO2 Max 4.3 workout. I’ve had a couple anaerobic workouts during this block, but this was my first VO2 and was categorized as a breakthrough workout compared to my current VO2 Max 1.0 progression level.

I came into this thinking it was a bug in AT and expecting not to be able to complete the workout. But not only was I able to complete it without skipping any intervals, I feel like I had a bit of a breakthrough in pedaling efficiency which made the last 10 minutes of the workout feel quite a bit easier to complete than the previous intervals.

Maybe it’s still a bug in AT (my next week’s VO2 workout was originally set to a 3.4 which has now been updated based on completing this one). But it always feels good to have these little wins throughout a training block.


great progress but many people here find short/short vo2max intervals here to be quite easy especially on ERG-mode. So people recommend doing them on resistance mode and going as hard as you can rather than the prescribed wattage or doing longer vo2max intervals


I don’t understand this advice. My “hard as you can” for 30 seconds is 200% FTP which isn’t training VO2 Max and also blows me up in a way that I can’t repeat the efforts. Don’t think I’m being pedantic. Maybe you mean “as hard as you would be able to do for all the intervals” but that’s significantly different in resistance mode bc it means focusing on your effort and pacing in a way that is much harder than in erg mode. Zwift workouts have on screen instructions that make the same confusing point IMO. Something like “Turn off ERG and give it full gas” Then it marks the workout as incomplete because my power numbers were too high. I spoke with support “do you want me to go all-out or not?”. They said they did not.

So I’m curious among the TR users who recommend doing short vo2 bursts in resistance mode… do you guys really go all out or do you try to manually hit 120% FTP?


I definitely prefer erg mode for keeping me on top of these intervals. I find that if I spin up my cadence right before the interval starts, I can hit the power targets within a couple seconds.


Same here

“All-Out” is relative. If you are talking about 15 seconds one time in an hour vs 15/15 short/short with 10x for repeats 3 times over… you can bet those “All-Out” efforts better not be the same. This means it pays to look at the specific workout in question and adjust that “A-O” effort appropriately in order to try and address the workout goals.

In the context of VO2 workouts, the common issue is that “VO2 Power” and VO2 Max efforts are not always connected. That is the reason people recommend to separate the two and not tie them closely together as TR does.

VO2 Max is about oxygen uptake, with HR and Power serving as proxies in some cases. If we focus on respiration more than power and HR, that is likely a better start. I’m far from the best to cover this issue, so this is just a primer.

There are numerous threads diving deeper into this topic, especially as there is much confusion about the short/short workouts and what purpose they generally serve (usually as a foundation or starting part of the VO2 Max workout progression within TR plans). They are NOT the be-all, end-all or particularly representative of how VO2 should feel in most cases.


I was actually just thinking of manually doing this for my first week of Base2 which includes Vo2 efforts. I think a 1.0 workout would simply be a waste and I’d rather trust my intuition around my fitness and training history to make a decision to bump it up to a 4 or 5 in order to be an actually productive workout. Historically I’m like an 8 around my current FTP.

that being said, it will be interesting to see if AT modifies my plan more closely to that date to bump that number up (those are rookie numbers).

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Make sure to use the Alternates tool if you plan to do a swap. That is the best method for stepping up manually if you think the assigned workout is lower than you want and are capable of doing.

I go as hard as what i feel i can sustain for all the intervals.

I tend not to use power to guide my VO2 workouts.


Yes on the little win. With a correctly set ftp, Taylor might be best thought of as a zone5 workout, or an intro vo2max workout. Taylor is not designed to push hard on developing your vo2max. Rather its designed to start ramping you up on vo2/zone5 workouts, and might be a way for AT to judge how hard to progress upcoming vo2 workouts.


I think this is a bit of a misunderstanding - the intervals in a short/short VO2 max workout are likely to be well above the “VO2 max” training zone (even if doing them on erg mode). There’s no particular reason why they would be at 120%.

VO2 max is a physical state (maximum oxygen uptake). The power zone labelled VO2 max in the 7-zone system is simply the power which would get you to that state if held for a few minutes, and that happens to be around 120% FTP for cyclists in the middle of the bell curve.

So longer VO2 interval workouts will do something around that 120% sort of figure, but the actual wattage figure in the short/shorts should be whatever gets you to that state over the duration of the set.

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There is a bit of the sentence missing…

It should be as hard as you can complete ALL the intervals

No, why would you do that, there is nothing significant about 120% (edit, Oh I see that has been well explained above) and 120% for 30 seconds for a lot of people isn’t going to effectively train VO2max, dependant on the recovery intervals and number of overall intervals?

Aslo Taylor+1 is 30/30s at 125% anyway. :wink:

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This happened to me too a couple of times, when either I changed the plan or had an FTP increase. It seemed that not all future workouts were updated.

I was considering filing a bug report, but am not so sure anymore. In most cases I finished ok and helped me to increase difficulty levels more quickly. Although once it gave me a vo2max level 7+ while I was around 4.5 and I died and reduced intensity by 15% just to be able to finish.

So yes, I think it is a bug that after a change not all workouts seem to get updated in time.

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I understand the concept of pacing but IMO pacing is the opposite of all out. I don’t think it’s ever appropriate to refer to pacing over the course of multiple intervals as all out or max effort or “hard as you can.”

Also, in this context, people seem to be saying “just go as hard as you can” and I think the “just” implies “it’s easy to get it right, just bump up on your ceiling”. “You don’t have to think about it, whatever you can do is your max” and so on.

But the kind of pace you can do over 30 efforts spread out over an hour is not easy to find and there’s nothing easy about hitting it reliably. You’d have to test it. “looking good after 20” “Oops, blew up at 23, will do less power the next time” “Did all 30 but realize I could have done a bit more, will do more power next time” and so on. Plus, it’s hard to maintain a consistent power once you find the right one.

Besides all that trouble with finding max power for those intervals and focusing and maintaining consistency over all of them, the target is 120% so if you’re going to try for a specific power, why mess around with figuring out what your max is - just go do 120%.

I think one of the reasons people recommend not doing ERG is that it takes a while for the power to ramp up to the target. I’ve noticed the first 2 seconds are kind of low. The next 2 seconds are about 50 watts off and the last 26 is dead on 120%. So I’m doing 26 seconds instead of 30 which yes, is easier than 30 seconds but not enough to justify all those other hoops IMO. And even I decided to use resistance mode, I’d still be targeting 120% bc that’s what the workout calls for. So my main point is the advice (and Zwift on-screen instructions) should be “Turn off ERG and manually maintain 120%” rather than “and go all out.”

BTW, it may take ERG 4 seconds to get the power right but I’m not able to instantly hit the correct power either. It takes me a while to chase it “oops, too high, oops too low, okay just right”

  • Welcome to my world… the one where people frequently oversimplify issues with little context or nuance that is actually warranted for so many topics around here :stuck_out_tongue:

  • I get your points, and agree that people are often listing these instructions in way that lacks the details necessary for people to really know what do… unless they already know it.

  • Hence the reason TR leans towards using power in this instance. Right, wrong or otherwise… it’s more “simple” of a prescription vs the need to write a paragraph description about how to properly hit a VO2 effort (hard enough to hurt, but not so hard you can’t do the last one as strong as the first one… blah, blah, blah).

  • And to the ERG concerns, I also tend to agree and use it for most of my workouts, to include the short/shorts mentioned here.

Essentially, I get your points and agree to nearly all of it. The “use resistance and smash it” comments have validity, but too often don’t give the greater clarity that is needed for people new to these types of efforts and workouts.

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For some people 120% will be too hard. For others too easy. When people say to go all out they mean to figure out for yourself what the right prescription is. This is in particular relevant for suprathreshold work since ftp is often decoupled from the efforts in terms of variability


Because it very easy to do, it might take the first set of intervals of one workout… you can then scale other intervals off this and get pretty close straight away. Closer than using a generic set figure anyway.
Because using a generic 120% is very far from optimal for a lot of people, personally that is 15 to 20% too low for 30s, as said above for others it might be touch too high.

What if you where to do a classic 5x 5 minute VO2 workout, would you do your 8x 30s workout and the 5x 5 min at 120% just because the workout is setup that way. One of these workouts is going to be miles off one way or another or both.

Oh and original TR VO2max workouts with text tell you to self assess, and adjust the workout intensity up or down… for some its eaiser to just use slope or non erg mode to do this.


I’m following you. :slight_smile:

FWIW, I recently ignored the vo2 from my plan and skipped ahead with a +1.7 to try and find the right intensity. My previous vo2 w/o was a 2.1 and the planned one was a 2.6. Instead I did a 3.8 with the same overall interval structure but with a higher power target. Unlike the easy ones, I felt this one in my legs. I was unsure I’d finish. The rest of the week was more challenging than usual but I did still complete all the workouts. I ended up finding a vo2 workout that was still using 30 second intervals and still one of the TR vo2 power targets in ERG mode.

I wonder if some other people who feel like they can’t get a good result from one those vo2 burst workouts without turning off ERG could find a good workout just by looking at different PLs if they had the desire to look and try it


If someone tries tapping a button and raising or lowering intensity until it feels right and then completes the workout without ever having to look at the power and hits that exact same power the rest of the way through… then later does the same ride but tries to pace by manually hitting/maintaining that same target power they came up with (eg, 103% of what TR said to do) and felt like option B was truly easier, I’d like suggest that person needs to view their data and confirm they really hit the targets they were after dead on.

Maybe “easier to complete the workout” when the power can drift around as needed or as your concentration wanes, but I can’t imagine anyone thinking the mechanics of “machine does it for me after I poke a button a couple of times” is harder than “I have to constantly micro adjust my cadence for an hour”

It just takes a few sessions to sort out the right levels. I find the short stuff easy at the lower levels. I need higher power and less recovery. For getting my heart rate at the right level I find it a lot easier just to do the longer vo2 intervals of 3-5 minutes and to see what power level you can do. TR has 2 minute intervals so you can get a feel for what you can comfortably do.

As to erg mode…my Neo2 turns a 30 second interval into a 27 second interval. I lose 3 seconds on the interval. Support couldnt solve it. I said no worries just means I need a higher level workout sometimes to get the right effect. I still like erg mode but I know I could pace myself in resistance mode…just lazy.

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