Time crunch base 30minx5days/wk workout ideas?

Hi, looking for workout ideas. In the future I’d like to do SSBLV & Sustained Power Build for general fitness, but am not in a position to do intense intervals for the next 3-6 months.

Short version: because of injuries I’m looking for lower intensity 30 minute workouts that I can do 5x/wk that either stay below FTP or have short intervals that don’t go more to more that 110-120% FTP. Goal is to get small improvements in base conditioning & warm up for prescribed PT/core exercises.

Long version: 36/M generally untrained, it’s been 8yrs since I cycled because of a chronic muscular back injury (QL) for which I am currently doing PT. My training coming into this is 12 20min trainer sessions at 65-80% of max heart rate in the last month, and sporadic 1.5mi runs over the last year.

At 88kg/194lb/185cm/19.5%DEXABF, the ramp test gave me 200W (2.27W/kg) where I was aiming for 175W and figured my floor was 150. If it weren’t for back pain near the end I could have probably gone higher. Trying to hold 110-115% FTP for more than a few seconds begins to aggravate my back injury. After doing the ramp test, I’ll probably have to take a few days off the bike, and at least a week before doing anything intense.

I have mild high BP & cholesterol, and I think I’m untrained enough to benefit from Z2 base workouts, which I want to use as warm-ups before my daily PT exercises.

I’m looking for Z2 tempo/endurance workout suggestions I can use as the foundational workouts, along with lower intensity interval workouts I can try to do 1-2x a week when my back is up to it.

Ride your bike to work.

Of course, depending how far the ride is. Compliance is great because, hey, you gotta get to work…and once you’re there, you gotta get home. My ride to work can be a great 40 minute recovery ride. My ride home can be a great 20 minute threshold workout.

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You could start by looking at TB LV 1, and simply stop when you get 30 mins completed.

Or you can look at that as a template and use the few 30 min Endurance workouts in the catalog:

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I probably should have said this but last night feeling ambitious after my ramp test I added time crunch 30 low volume 1 to my calendar, and filled 3 of the other days off each week with Taku, volunteer, and West Vidette -1. Waking up this morning and feeling my back after ramp I’m thinking the TC30 intervals may be a bit aggressive.

I never considered ending workouts early, it feels a little wrong but it could be useful if extra time opens up. Thanks.

Re: bike commuting, I’d love to but part of the time crunch is that my commute is 25 miles minimum at the moment. I’ve got small kids and that’d add about 3 hours to my day. That’s definitely something I’m keeping in mind if opportunities arise in the future though

edit: will do TBLV with endurance Z2 fillers for a month or two until I can do interval workouts without aggravating old injuries


If you’re having back pain on the ramp test, I would really spend some time looking into that…

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Is your PT doing deep tissue work on your iliopsoas (hip flexors)? That’s a key culprit of low back pain w/ cycling


The PT work is all exercise routine. The issue is a chronic issue that came up as a result of poor sitting posture combined with long rides and poor core strength 7+ years ago. Results in chronic underlying pain & 1-3 back strains a year.

Current diagnosis is quadratus lumborum injury. After initial injury happened, saw my PCP, they said to rest, never went away. Saw a chiro, got an x-ray, spine looked fine but they came up with some BS diagnosis, worthless. Saw an ortho, said they didn’t see anything on the x-ray, gave me the generic back pain pamphlet & sent me on my way. A year ago saw Airrosti, they said QL, did some hip & back tissue work plus a minimal exercise routine. Seeing an actual PT now, doing more advanced exercise progression for hip/glute strength & stabilization across different planes of work.

I also have left leg proximal hamstring tendonosis from a marathon 2 yrs ago, but they haven’t focused on that so I’ll be adding a separate protocol in later to try to resolve the issue.

These are my rough notes of the progression, I’ve dropped a few exercises as some have been added, and done what’s feasible as homework:

2019-09-30 - Initial visit
Sciatic Nerve Glide - 1 set 20x pumps + 2x ankle pump
Hold thigh at 90*, extend lower leg, pump foot
Open Book (90*) 10-20x each side
Lay on one side, both arms out in front, knees up just past 90*, top arm to other side
Bridge w/ March - 10 L->R, 10 R->L
w/ feet close to hips, Bridge then lift one foot then other
SLR Abduction - 3 sets of 10x each side (JF leg raise) point toe slightly up
Clams - 10x10" banded, each side

Add 1lb leg weights to single leg raises
Add Pallof press 2x10 per side
Add 45x monster walk
Add 2x10 per side per side 1leg squat cup touches
Add 2x10 x2 elevated 1 leg half squat heel touch
Add 30xside plank leg raises
2019-10-18 Add 2 cones to 1 leg squat, 5 each per set
Add Deadbugs 2x10 per side
Add Birddogs 2x10 per side
Elevate 1 leg heel touch from 6" to 8"
Yoga ball plank elbow circles (stir the pot)

Add leg lift and hold to hip bridge walk
Combine Pallof press with monster walk
Add donkey kick on sled
Add single leg squat to sit negative
8" 1 hand cone touch 3x8x4
Walking lunge with medicine ball bounce/ twist
Side plank 3x10 seconds per side

Yeah, I’ve literally been working on that for years, but finding the right medical professionals has been aggravating to say the least.

Part of the point of the ramp test was to 1) get an assessment of current fitness & 2) figure out what I can do without pain.

My main goal isn’t an event or race right now, but general aerobic fitness, muscular endurance, increase FTP if possible, and building my 1 hr running & cycling fitness. I’ve been sedentary because of chronic injuries and I’m trying to figure out a framework in which I can do workouts without risk of further injury, instead of just being sedentary while I try tackling the injury issues.

The trainer allows me to do Z2 riding under 75% FTP while sitting up & not holding the bars, so that’s why I’m trying to build things around that.

You need to do core and lower back work.i have sciatica from torn ligaments and a herniated disc. Weight lifting injury in my teens. Been living with it for 30 years.

Your tendinitis will heal on its own. 2 years, it’s healed. You just need exercise for strengthening.

PT exercises are specific to certain areas and range of motion.

You need more core work. What your doing is fine, but I’d strengthen the entire area, front to back. I’d also add calisthenics and pilates for a total body emphasis.

I’d forget cycling, at the moment. You can get a good workout by extending your PT work into a full regimen, with body weight first and then light weights and eventually get to more aggressive muscle work like HIIT weights (light) mixed with calisthenics (dumbbell presses and pushups, dumbbell squats to lunges) and advanced variations of burpees.

I think you’ll benefit more by getting more strength all around. When you’re pain free, you can get on a bike, but keep core work up.

You also need stretching, daily.

Honestly, that’s an hour every day, at least. Rotate body groups.

that’s all good stuff, and essential for long term, but if nobody has gotten into your hip flexors and done an aggressive release, followed by an extensive hip flexor stretching routine, you are missing out. Prolonged sitting and lots of riding add up to shortened
hip flexors. Your psoas originates off your lumbar spine, so when it’s tight, it produces back pain. In 20 years of treating patients, I’ve rarely had to work on QL’s. Hip flexors on the other hand…