Threshold/Over-unders

When looking for the best threshold workouts out there for improving FTP, what are some go to workouts that you all like to use? I am cant decide on some thing like Black Hawk -4 where you spend 10min at 105% for 4 sets or on over/under like Fang Mountain or Avalanche Spire…

Thoughts?

Mike

I can’t say I’ve ever gone looking for “the workout that rules them all”. When thinking about trying to increase my performance (FTP, sprint power, bike handling, etc) I think about a plan spanning weeks or months that mixes training stress, recovery and nutrition to achieve the outcomes I want. You’re not going to get a meaningful change from a single workout and even if you identified a workout that worked better for you over all others, that effect would be temporary. It might give you a performance boost over a week or two, but then then you would just be getting better at doing that workout, rather than the overall performance gains you were looking for. You need to provide your body progressive and diverse stress over time to generate adaptations which results in performance gains.

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FTP is driven by VO2 max, and VLaMax. Do workouts to boost VO2 max, and reduce VLaMax.

A combination of long endurance rides and VO2max/high threshold workouts boost VO2max.

And sweet spot rides reduce VLaMax.

Which workouts will be most effective to boost your FTP depends on your physiological profile and where you are currently on these metrics. Eg if VLaMax is high, and VO2max is high, focus on reducing VLaMax via sweet spot.

There’s a lot more insight and detail in the following post.

I approach this like @julianoliver and @DaveWh. I don’t focus on one workout or even one type of workout. However, some other criteria that I think about are

  1. ability to actually complete the workout. Don’t set yourself up for failure or disappointment by biting off more than you can chew.
  2. if you find yourself trying to choose between workouts, try to find which one is more race/event specific. For example, one “threshold” session might have some hard starts and that might be more event specific than, for example, Lamark. Over-unders are popular if you expect paceline style riding, but aren’t designed for that exclusively.

Having said this, if you’re not already working within the context of a good training plan/strategy like what @DaveWh outlined, I think you would be seeking a very marginal benefit at the expense of some easy low hanging fruit.

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One caveat to this: if you have a lot of room for FTP improvement then it’s possible to raise your vo2max AND your vlamax. So unless you really think you’ve plateaued, you don’t necessarily have to give up the anaerobic efforts just yet.

But if I could only do 4 workouts to increase FTP, I’d do:

Elephants +4
Spencer +2
Lamarck
& something with long tempo intervals, maybe Round Bald.

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The simple answer to get faster for us age groupers is to ride more, and more consistently. Not that hard really :grin:

But if you want to make the best return for your time, helpful to be intentional with your training.

The workouts @martinheadon mentioned are good ones.

I’d add to Round Bald some with a little higher intensity eg Eichorn and Galena.

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Thanks for the reply’s. I went through Sst Base 1 and 2 and sustained power build and marathon specialty. All were LV except the base portion. Did that to mix in outdoor rides. I am planning on just working on really my endurance and 10-20 minute power Over the summer. I don’t have another race until September and I will go back through a build and specialty again. I just wanted to put together something consistent this summer without using a TR plan to change it up a little. My week will look like this:
Mon-off
Tues-3 hour ride endurance driven
We’d-3 hour ride endurance driven
Thurs-off
Frid- 60 min Eichorn
Saturday -60 min Z2 like beech
Sunday-60-75 min threshold 96-105%

Just an idea to change it up for 7 weeks until I jump into a build and specialty again. Thanks again for the feedback. I am a marathon mountain biker if you couldn’t tell already😎

Mike

go longer than 10m if you can…

work up your sweet spot efforts to 45m
threshold efforts to 30m
and some vo2max to bump up the ceiling of capability.

That will keep you busy for a while, and don’t forget the rest week to absorb all the stimulus.

let us know how it goes!

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So on my interval days this is what i have lined up specifically. Eichorn is 2x20’s at 90%. Figured that workout to be a good solid way to get my longer sweetspot in to maintain a good level of it. The threshold workout 2 days later i have created my own workouts to start and build through. here is what they are see what you guys think. This will be my saturday workout each saturday except rest weeks
Week 1 is 3x12 min at 100%
Week 2 moves to 3x15 min at 100%
Week 3 moves to 3x17 min @100%
Week 4 rest
Week 5 reasses ftp with ramp test and hit 3x15 min @100% hopefully higher FTP
Week 6 3x17min 100% FTP
Weel 7 3x20min @100% FTP
Week 8 rest then start a new build plan week 9

Thoughts?

I have alot of room for growth in my ftp i would think. I was hoping that once i start the build plan that the Vo2 work there would be the ideal place to start it to make that ceiling higher. Good or bad? I am up for ideas. This schedule was just what i put together to not get to burned out this summer.

All the threshold stuff is good, but you probably want to really think about what the goal is of this time before you start your next training block. If you’re hoping to actually improve your FTP during this period, you will definitely want to add some VO2 work into your weeks since it’s hugely productive. I don’t see any reason to shy away from it if you’re looking to make gains.

If you’re looking to just keep fitness and kill time until your next TR plan starts, I would say ditch the structure and just ride as much as you can in ways you find fun :).

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Yes I am basically using it to maintain my ftp and increase my ability to ride for time at my ftp. I know I will get some small gains but mainly looking at the two endurance days that are back to back for improving overall time on the bike for long rides. Got a 100 miler at the end of September so the two 3 hour days back to back are my way of starting to build that fitness up while holding ftp for small gains before I jump into build and specialty again in July.

i agree with the @mattymurda below. utilize some vo2max. This layout is good, but you could stagnate just from 90 and 100%.

and for sweet spot, you mentioned 90%…that is really the high end of tempo by definition, so look to hit 93-94%. I realize it’s only 3-4% difference than what you said, but it’s a big one! the closer to 100% you get, the harder it gets exponentially (this is just my personal feeling and related back from athletes)

keep us posted!

Brendan - EVOQ.BIKE

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I don’t like over/under workouts like Avalanche Spire that ramp up to the target wattage, the gradual ramp up doesn’t make sense to me, just put me at the next highest wattage for longer. I like when I’m spending at least 1 min at VO2 watts

My favorites are:

Bear Creek
McAdie
Palisade
Blackcap -1

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I’ve had so much work travel lately, though flying with the bike for most trips, that I can’t follow a plan so I’ve been going ~2-weeks at a time off the trainer. Since I can’t really follow a plan, I’ll just do 90-minutes of over-under workouts. Strangely, it’s worked quite well and I’m making people very upset on drop-rides. I’m training for CX, btw, so I probably have a different goal than most, don’t do long rides, just trying to build a baseline for October.