Training levels for VO2 intervals, is using 120% of FTP optimal vs 100% V02 Max Power?


Whilst listening to one of your great ‘Ask a cycling coach?’ podcasts i heard Chad say that a riders FTP is typically between 75-85% of their VO2 Max Power and tops out around 90%. My question is when picking the intensity for VO2 intervals such as Baird is the 120% of FTP intensity the same level of ‘appropriateness’ for all riders?

For example if rider A and B both have a VO2 Max Power of 100W (for ease of math) but rider A has an FTP of 75W (75% of VO2 Max Power) and rider B has an FTP of 90W then rider A will have a Baird interval target of 90W (90% of their VO2 Max Power) and rider B will have an interval target of 108W (108% of their VO2 Max Power). I have no idea if this actually matters but to my untrained eye it suggests it might make a difference to the stress and therefore adaptation response rider A and B will get from completing Baird .

Obviously not every rider knows their VO2 Max Power and it makes sense for ease of use and accessibility to use one metric (FTP) to base the workouts round especially as it’s definitely the correct metric for most types of training. But, and i hope you don’t think I am being overly pedantic, could a rider fine-tune/optimise their VO2 workouts by adjusting interval targets compared to their VO2 Max Power?

Kudos to you guys for the remote podcasts in this difficult time, which are great.

Stay safe and keep up the good work.


120% errs on the lower side of the range, thus should be good for most people. However, TR has also said, many times, that it’s up to YOU to discover and set your repeatable VO2max power at appropriate levels. It might be the most wide-open and fluid training zone.