Sweet Spot Progression

Completly agree with that as well.

Yeah, there’s no one-size fits all. I have a lot of my athletes do a SST progression (and have done them myself for several seasons) like we talk about here, but some people don’t have the time to meaningfully extend TiZ, so you might do threshold instead. Or tempo for people with a lot more time to ride. It’s all a big fader.

What comes next totally depends on the person and their goals. A common pathway is a SST progression into a VO2max block. Another one I use sometimes is SST progression into threshold. It just really depends on what people need and how much time they have. I’ve done both of the above approaches with my athletes this season alone.


My plan is SST into VO2 into threshold which builds to extending TTE and I’ll touch up anaerobic in the process like 4-5 weeks out.

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Where do I go after this ?

To a phone charger?


I did it recently, too:

My plan is to do Phoenix +2, which is 75 min (vs. 105 min) at 90-95% (vs. 85-90%), next. After that will be Gibraltar +2: 90 min at 90-95%. Then it’s time for a VO2 for a month, then threshold for a month.

I might do Pendleton (7x20min at 88-94% with 3 min recovery) for the hell of it. We’ll see.

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You go here:


How many times a week is SS training recommended?

I usually do 4 trainings per week, two trainings are SweetSpot, and two trainings are Vo2 or Over/Under.

I did two SweetSpot workouts last week.

  • 4x 15min SS @90%FTP with 5min rest @60%FTP
  • 4x 20min SS @90%FTP with 5min rest @60%FTP

What would be more appropriate going forward…
Extend the time of each interval, like 3x 25, 2x30, 2x40, 1x60 ?
or increase %FTP to say 95%

you have too much intensity, I generally do two days a week of whatever sweet spot or higher intensity training I have planned for a block. drop the other workouts and do z2. always opt for extending time vs increasing percentage


With such a training system, I do about 600 TSS per week… I plan to do three such weeks and then one week of recovery with about 50% TSS value

Extend time how far? Yesterday I did 1x60min at 95%, RPE about 8. My current thinking is I should keep wattage the same and add like 10min a week, out to 1x90min.

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Right question to be asking yourself. In what way does another 30mins at 95% benefit you? How does it help your goals/ events? How many weeks will it take to get you to that point? At what cost to other areas things you could be working on? Etc.


i’ve done 1x90 @ 90% in my last sweet spot block

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I’m trying to make my own SST progression. So far this season, I’ve done 4 weeks of 14-15hrs pure Z2, followed by 4 weeks of 12-13hrs of <1 long tempo + 1 short SS intervals + Z2 filler>.
This is my second season training on the bike, and I’ve already had good gains from just riding Z2 for 4+hrs (~70% avg power, with about 2-5min of break time).

For this SST block, I’m planning on doing 1 long SST (did a 1 hr @90% so far), 1 SST interval workout, and Z2 filler to get the volume to 11-12hrs. I’m not sure how I should plan the interval SST workout. I was thinking of finding the level of the long SST workout in the TR library, and finding an interval workout with a similar level (something like 4 * 15 @94% or so). Is this a good strategy? I plan on progressing the long SST to 1.5hrs at 90-92%, and the intervals to 4 * 20 at 95% or so.

I’ve also seen a bunch of discussions around using HR to guide the SST workout, but I’ve found that to not be very useful. Depending on whether I’m climbing or doing a fast pace on flats, on the weather, and on the time of the day, I can see a HR variation of anywhere between 170 to 185 bpm (my max is 205bpm), which renders HR usage moot to some extent. I have however focused on breathing and general muscular fatigue feeling, and with long SST efforts, I’ve noticed I don’t breathe hard as such, and I have enough left in tank to keep going for longer. I wonder if other people relate to this?


As you start to progress into more intensity at this level of volume, I would suggest dialing your endurance pace back a bit. More like 60% (or less) of FTP. What was sustainable when all you were doing was endurance or some shorter intervals you will find causes too much fatigue and jeopardizes the whole thing when you start progressing interval durations.

Just stick to 90% and progress the time in zone. Don’t worry as much about the overall structure. 20 min intervals, minimum. Do some long single block sets as you feel like it, I wouldn’t worry about programming them.

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, once you get up into that 75-90min TiZ area, cut back to 1x SST per week and instead do a tempo progression in parallel. Aim for 80-85% and start at 45 straight minutes, work out to a 2hr workout with like 1:45 at 80% or so. TR has those workouts (Gibraltar, Phoenix, etc. IIRC).

Assuming you have a proper FTP, I think you’re going to find your plan falls apart pretty quickly working up to 1x90 at 90-92% + 4x20 at 95% in a week. That’s just way too much IMO.

Yeah, no way. I’ve seen some people that use HR as like an upper bound to some types of work, but it’s just so variable that I don’t see the utility in using HR that much.

The only time I really look at HR in situ as a decision point is in my endurance riding. If it’s going nuts high, I back off.

As always, YMMV.

This is just way too much work to be sustainable in any quality way, IMO.

A SST progression is best done by extending total time in zone using intervals of reasonable length, rather than lifting power. I usually work people up to doing 20-30min intervals for a total of 60-120min depending on the athlete.

I would reduce the intensity of your recovery intervals. Just spin your legs, no % of FTP.

Thanks for your thoughts, they are helpful.
I’m a little confused as to how this would help me. In my last block, I was focusing on longer tempo progression, and I got to doing 2hr@85%. That gives me two thoughts:

  1. Is there any benefit to keep doing such tempo work?
  2. If I do a long SST and a long tempo in the same week, it would seem very mentally fatiguing to me (I suppose it could be a little physically fatiguing as well to hit such long durations).

I suppose I could re-calibrate stuff a little, and bump my FTP a few watts, and start with a lower level SS progression. I haven’t FTP tested in a while, but I think I’m within 10 watts of what it would be.

The point was less about what you could do vs. what you should do. Just that I’ve found with multiple athletes and myself that pushing 2x SST gets to be too much when you get into 75-90 minute TiZ sessions. There are people out there that can handle it. I have one guy who can/did handle two very long sessions like that over the course of 10 day periods. For most, I’d shy away from doing 2x long SST per week in favor of 1x long SST and 1x longer sustained tempo.

If you’ve already done 2hrs at 85%, I would submit that you could probably forgo the SST progression altogether and work VO2max or go straight to work at FTP if you believe you still have room to grow under your current aerobic ceiling. You kinda already did a sweet spot progression. :slight_smile:

Thanks. Yeah, I see your point.

I suppose I still have to work to 1.5hrs at 90%. I just did 1hr at 90% today, so there’s room to go.
Another reason for not wanting to go to threshold stuff just yet is I see right now as an opportunity to hit some local climbs (most that would take me ~30 min at 95% FTP) and do them just for fun (and get my PRs!)

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