T-Max Intervals -- Thoughts?

Was searching for I don’t remember what and came across the T-Max interval workout.

Created by exercise physiologist Paul Laursen (University of Queensland):

  1. Determine PPO via step test;
  2. Determine T-Max: ride at PPO until failure (~5min); total time = T-Max;
  3. Determine Ultimate Interval: Time@T-Max(0.6) = interval work; recovery = 2(work);
  4. Go for it!!! Do as many as you can;
  5. 2x/week with 2+ rest days in between.

Looks like ~2-3min ~140-150% anaerobic intervals.

This is pushing 15 years old so perhaps an outdated fad? Anyone ever partake? Results?

I have used this multiple times over the years and it’s a protocol that French researcher Veronique Billat developed and he modified I believe. . Was developed for runners and adapted to cyclists. She goes as far as to say results will come with only 1-2 per week sessions and three sessions is a wasted session. It’s still pertinent and useful at times. Billat used 1:1 for work/recovery ratios which I found more useful than Larsons methodology. I developed a bunch of these workouts using workout creator and have a library of variations.

Looking at the Optimised Intervals in WKO4, I think that is very much along the lines of what they prescribe.


Fiddled with this before. Don’t have much to offer, though! In general t-max intervals are just intense VO2max workouts & there is probably a reason why we heard a lot about them for a while and not much since then. I’ll say this…

1.) This is easier to do on TR since they adapted a MAP ramp test as their primary testing tool. PPO is almost always 130% to 135% of your ramp test MAP. So if you say your TR ‘FTP’ is x your t-max power level will fall somewhere between 1.3x and 1.35x. Or you can look at the highest power step in your MAP test. Or you can look at your max 1min power in your MAP test. Whichever…it won’t be too different.

2.) I would not advocate this approach as an ongoing training approach. Do it once in a while for a few weeks.

3.) I would periodize it similar to what Ronnestad did with HIT sessions for cyclists. Week 1 do three sessions. Week 2 one session, Week 3 one session. Further, Week 4 I would switch back to some of the longer Seiler intervals (let’s say his 16 minute interval or even the 20 minute stuff he used to talk about in the 90’s)…to sorta capture the effect Seiler saw in his intensity mixing study. And then just a week of recovery before a target event.

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Just to revisit this thread from way back in the day. :smiley: After doing a lot of steady state ultra cycling training…thought it would be interesting to revisit the Laursen T-max work. Definitely, you can get out of practice with these!

Here’s what I did…took the best 1 minute power from a ramp test…recover for a day or so…warm up & ride at that ramp test 1 minute power to exhaustion…create a workout at that 1 minute power for 60% of my time to exhaustion at that power…then rest for 200% of the interval time…do that 8x. Do that workout 2x a week. Do a couple 3hr rides on the weekend.

I could not do 8x reps! It was way harder than expected. But it’s coming back quickly.

At the end of two weeks I’ll test again w/ ramp test, MAP TTE, and reset the tmax intervals. Probably I’ll just do this for two sets of two weeks and then move back to a standard TR plan. Sometimes it’s nice just to have a super simple workout plan for a little while. Just take a break from complexity & enjoy some super hard intervals.

Ok…the Laursen protocol (which is a little bit ancient!) G1 variety dictates two workouts per week for two weeks, then a test. The test is a stepped MAP test (is there another kind? :wink: ) followed by a TTE@MAP. For those that don’t know MAP means maximum aerobic power and a stepped MAP test is what TR have you do to test your FTP…except the figure of merit is your MAP or maximum power output in the ramp test. So TR tell you your FTP is 75% of your best 1 minute power during a ramp test…that 1 minute power can also be thought of as your MAP. (queue all the pedantic eggheads…you know I love you guys!)

Well, two weeks has gone by. Only four workouts. This morning I woke up early & tested. That’s gonna mean inhibited performance but it’s the only time I could do it. MAP was my third highest ever…I had a little kidney problem earlier this year that knocked 60W off my MAP & helped me enjoy the wonders of sepsis & now I’m almost all the way back from that. 3W off my best ever.

Not earth shattering but not bad either. For the past couple months I’ve been doing ultra training so really nothing over threshold and a lot of sub-threshold work. It’s a little bit amazing to think the body can adapt back to near peak all-time condition on the back of four intensity workouts. Which I wasn’t even able to complete.

Or maybe another way to think about it is my base was YOOGE after all that ultra work. I mean, that was enough to win a national championship, grab the course record from a RAAM solo record holder, and qualify for RAAM on a course where nobody in my class has ever been able to…all facts which I brazenly brag about. So the base was big. But, for sure, my FTP suffered.

This afternoon I’m gonna do my TTE @ MAP. And that’s gonna suck. Then I’ll reset the next two week’s workouts at 60% of that TTE. And we’ll go from there.


So, I did this…not because I thought it would work too well…I didn’t think it would. But I had a month to screw around & since concentrating on Ultra endurance racing for more than 6 months there was a big base to build off.

First of all, I sucked at it. Never came close to completing even one workout. Right away I switched from the Group 1 protocol to the Group 2 protocol. Did not help. Each workout was one big psychological battle. In the end, my hands would be shaking almost in terror just when I was clipping in. This workout really, really sucks. Can’t imagine doing two or three of these blocks in a row. Good news, though, if you dare to attempt this everything else will seem easy afterwards.

In the end it resulted in an all-time best MAP. During that workout I achieved my all time highest indoor HR. So some positive things happened for sure. This is ~8 months off a brief run in with sepsis & some kidney function problems which saw my MAP plunge 40 or 50 watts.

So in the end I gotta admit this was an effective protocol. Thought it would be good for a quick 10W boost but it was good for a lot more.


I’m at the end of another 2 week block of Laursen Tmax intervals. For the first time ever I was able to complete all 8 intervals at the prescribed work rate.

It’s mentally tough to keep banging these workouts out. There are many workouts that I just don’t want to do but the expectation of these actually cause me some anxiety. They suck. I legit don’t like them. After a good threshold/sweet spot workout there is a post-workout endorphin high for a couple of hours. After a properly executed tmax workout I’m still a little nauseous for a couple hours post workout.

We’ll see if there is still a positive improvement in MAP after this block.

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I pretty much feel this way after a proper ramp test, or the 2x10 full gas effort that I did on Tuesday. The first 10 minute interval took so much out of me I couldn’t complete the second one. Max efforts hurt.

Always great to read about your training and exploits. Congrats again on the podium results.