Training Plans and gains

Probable a stupid question but will ask anyway. When selecting your plan based on available time am I to expect less gains doing a low volume over the other two higher plans?

It’d be foolish to think that you could get the same level of gains on half the volume, but the low volume plans can still kick your butt and you’ll get a lot of the benefit of the higher volume plans. I’m sure the Trainerroad guys have some data to back this up as well.

The classic answer to this type of question is: it depends.

Let’s say you are just coming into structured training - you will probably get more gains from completing a low volume plan than a high volume plan if you can’t recover and don’t complete it properly.

On the other hand, if you are used to a high volume of work and can handle the stress you will get more from the higher volume training plans.

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thank you, I will take from your replies that I shouldn’t expect too much from my training, it will keep me active over winter but not to see gains that are posted online of ~50watt improvement doing the low volume. with my shift work and family commitments I can’t do any other plan other than low volume stages. I just need to be patient

Not sure of your cycling and training background - but typically people who see 50 watt improvements on ANY plan would be coming from a non-trained state to a trained state. If that’s you then you very well might see that kind of improvement from low volume.

Anyone should see some gains from low volume though - so don’t expect nothing - you will see benefits if you stick to the structure

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I’m new to structured cycling training and currently about 3 weeks into using SSB Low Volume 1. I actually don’t want dramatic increases in FTP, preferring a slower build in FTP over time. What I don’t want is big jump in FTP and SSB Low Volume 2 becomes unmanageable.
I am really enjoying SSB LV 1, and finding it hard but doable when focused.

I’ll post any gains in the thread following FTP gains.

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GrantFoley…in general if you are selecting a plan, select the plan that most matches the training stress you currently have. If you are currently training 5 hours a week, select sweet spot base mid vol I for instance, because that’s a little more than 5 hours a week.

As long as you get a training response, maintain that volume. If you are unsatisfied with the training response you get…gotta change something. Either more volume, different intensity, etc.

@trpnhntr thank you yeah I’m fairly activate during the season from March-Sept racing in the local APR races and doing my training on the days off. so i’m not coming from a non-training back ground or a in-activate cyclist. just never done a proper training plan…
currently sitting at 3W/kg but wanting to move up the groups in my clubs APR as im in the first group (slowest) but hoping by following the TR plan that I make some kind of gain…

@Brennus I really dont understand the Stress part of these plans…I picked the plan based on Time availability no other factor was consider…If I had a plan or as able to achieve better goals then my normal cycling (outwith) winter would be to cycle for 2-3 hours on a Monday, 1-2 on a tuesday (my days off, kids at school) then fit in a commute to work on the back end of the week with a race on a thursday night…however I couldnt sit on the turbo for these hours each day…so my hope was that I could improve with the training but that doesnt look possible from what you guys are saying…

@GHetherington keep me posted on your gains through ur plan and I’ll do the same
i started SSB low volume 1 at 198watts 3.04w/kg

Oh no, I think you’ll definitely be able to improve! You’ll be surprised probably.

The point I tried to make (but failed! Sorry!) is if you are currently riding for 5 hours a week…don’t pick a plan that has you riding 7 hours a week on the turbo…or 10. Sounds like you’re doing 5-7 hours of riding a week? So, yeah, you could easily fit in one of the low vol base plans around that schedule.

I will indeed @GrantFoley.
We are different ends of the spectrum. I should have also said that I am new to cycling also, having only started riding this year.
FTP of 161 @ 2.36 W/KG, so gains certainly a possibility.

SSB low volume II started today with a 7% increase on my FTP from completing SSB low volume I. not to bad.


I think I got an 8% gain from SSB1 Low. Nearing the end of SSB2 Low…will see what it brings!


sorry just re-read your message, if you’re new to cycling then its should be expected to have greater gains. @GHetherington, best of luck and stick with it

My experience is that the low volume plan is good enough to keep your fitness on check. If you want to level up you need to bump up the volume to medium, at least.

This absolutely depends on your starting level. LV is amazing for people new to structured training. I’ve done a full season of LV and “levelled up” 40%. Just started my second season of LV.

Even in that situation, LV will only help you get to a certain point which I see as base fitness. This 40% can be seen as leveling up bit I would say it is more like setting a base line, you’re probably far away from your optimal performance and the gains with another LV cycle are expected to be minimal compared to going for a MV.

Couldn’t go MV over more days but if I had an option I could tailor more stress on my training days as I work alternating 12hr shifts and have selected LV only based on availability. Maybe I’ll just see where I am come March time. At least I’ll be starting spring with a good winter training.

Semantics. If you’re low level, LV will get you to point A. MV will then get you to point B and HV etc will get you to point C.

We aren’t all on the same elite path. We don’t all have time so we take what we can get :slightly_smiling_face: