Sweet Spot Training: which amount of time matters?

Hi!

With regard to Sweet Spot Training, I was wondering: which amount of time spend at Sweet Spot matters? Is it all about the total amount of time ridden at Sweet Spot during the whole workout? Or is it the duration of one Sweet Spot interval that matters?

For example: consider a 4x10 minute Sweet Spot workout (Antelope -4) and a 2x20 minute Sweet Spot workout (Eichorn). Is one of them more effective or preferable? Do they provide the same training stimulus?

Thanks!

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This may help - some good refs downthread

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Thanks, although I don’t know if that really answered my question… I read the Xert-article and it states that even 78% FTP workouts are called ‘Sweet Spot’. In that case, I can understand it won’t be that effective at all.

But say those two workouts I mentioned (4x10 and 2x20) are both at 92% of your FTP. Which one would be preferable / more effective?

It’s not about one being more or less effective, but mentally (and physically) it’s something to build up your ability to sustain sweet spot for longer periods of time. Diving right into 20min intervals can be really tough. If you follow the sweet spot plans, you can see how the team at TR gradually strings these together to spend more and more time at sweet spot, both in total time and individual interval time

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Longer is generally better for SS. I don’t know if you can quantify the gain by going from 4x10 to 2x20, but it’s there.

Short answer: they are both effective, but for two different reasons. So I wouldn’t think of them as either/or.

Long answer: as well as the thread @d_diston referenced, I would add this:

Your PD curve shifts positively in two ways: up or out. The first way is to progressively go for more power (curve goes up); the other way (less talked about) is to go at same power for progressively longer time/intervals (curve goes out). Even though you’re asking about SS, you can apply the more vs. long concept to Zone 3, Sweet Spot, Zone 4, and even lower Zone 5 workouts.

If you look around on the forum, many folks talk and ask about scenarios where they may progress from 2x20, to 3x15, to 4x15, to 3x20 on a workout by workout basis. They are looking at their total time in zone (40 -> 45 -> 60) and progressing it. Right after they decide to progress to a longer TiZ, they may chop the total workout up into shorter intervals in order to complete the workout. You gain similar fitness with the chopping up in terms of the targeted physiological systems (which is your question), but you really want to succeed at that workout and then progress it. <— “extensive”, curve goes out.

This is a different (and also effective) approach to the more common mindset: “ok I can hold this power for this long, let me see if I can hold 10 more watts for same amount of time”. <---- “intensive”, curve goes up.

If you really want to take a deep dive into the concept, look up the WKO4 videos on Fatigue Resistance and Time to Exhaustion (TTE). Tim Cusick calls what you’re talking about the “rule of 2x20”, and it’s insightful. What he’s getting at is most ppl fixate so much increasing power at FTP that they neglect how long they can hold power at FTP (TTE).

Both make you faster.

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This was a super helpful explanation of a question I’ve had for a while – thanks!

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Couldn’t explain it better!:+1:

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Awesome explanation, thank you for contributing to the forum!! :beers:

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I recently read a TrainingPeaks article titled “Go Faster Before You Go Longer”.
Might be a hint at what to shoot for first.

The rule of thumb is when you go longer drop the power down until you can do the long interval at the old short interval power. Rinse and repeat. And don’t forget, if you are getting faster & faster at say 10 min intervals, your longer power will also be rising, just not as much as your 10 min power. SS work is about building a lot of muscular endurance; as per TR the blog:

Sweet Spot work is specifically aimed at improving your ability to resist fatigue at reasonably high power outputs over substantial lengths of time

As well as all the above, my own personal experience found me rather off-put by long SS intervals being chopped up into smaller chunks (as well as having to spend more time on the trainer). There are some decent SS workouts in the TR library, just the ones presented in the plan weren’t going to work for me, so I created my own to better suit the type of racing I’ll be doing.

Finally, this from FasCat:
HOW MUCH SWEET SPOT TRAINING SHOULD YOU DO?

I think SSBHV is just under 400min/week.

:+1:

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