Volume responders

Has anyone tried getting stronger simply by increasing volume, as opposed to training smarter or in a more structured way?

Simply increasing the amount of hours they do on the bike week on week or month on month, while doing whatever you felt like.

Basically the exact opposite of modern time crunched training, probably what used to happen in some camps decades ago.

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I smelled doughnuts…


You will get stronger by just riding more, but at some point you’ll gave to add intervals targeted at developing specific energy systems and specific adaptations to improve even more.

If all you want is ride your bike for a long time, just riding more is a good strategy. But if you want to race or make further improvements, you’ll need to add some structure. Look at the pro training thread to see how that works. The pros usually do long rides with some intervals thrown in.

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My theory is that for the majority of riders, that the more volume there is the less specific your training needs to be. So if you are consistently doing more than 15 hours of riding a week, not digging yourself into a hole, you can simply tune up when you need to and see the impact of this quickly. If you are doing less then 10 hours on average, you need to get more out of each session.


After baby #3 I got permission to ramp up training again. Furthermore, I switched to 100% home office on a fairly flexible work schedule. This was about 4 years ago. I moved from 4-8hrs/week to 18-22h/wk. I’ve been training in the >15h/wk range ever since.

Huge bump along the entire intensity spectrum. Race results were great. However, this was just a one time bump. I know, volume is sort of idealized in this forum here. I’d say smart training is more important. My problem is that I simply enjoy the process, I’d probably do better with less training. Especially as I get older now.


Huge bump along the entire intensity spectrum.

Exact same result from lots of pandemic hours, but not perfectly structured hours.

As has been stated, ride a lot with some efforts thrown in and you’ll get faster. Eventually you’ll plateau and will have to tinker with your hard efforts.


Yes, tried that first. :hot_face: Then came to TR. :beers:

The difference these days seems to be that less and less people actually enjoy cycling for the benefits of being outdoors and visiting places. This seems to have skewed the views. Bit like lots of modern life, people want loads of bang for their bucks in small packages.


My best IM was on the back of a Joe Friel based plan, which could be classed as high volume (but is still structured)
My worst (by a considerable margin) was after following a TR based plan


For a personal story, I came from doing outdoors high volume (700-max 1000 TSS/week) to TR, thinking that there must be a way to train smarter and have more quality in your sessions. I learned a lot about different power levels and holding a certain power, and also about training in general. But my FTP and race results tanked, and I never got my whole PD curve back to where it was with the ‘just ride’ approach. I also missed out on quite a few fun rides with mates when committed to TR. So, after having learned a lot about training, I’m trying to go back to a high volume approach, but this time with some structure thrown in. Going to see later this year how it pans out.


I seem to be one (FTP was measured with Ramp test):

  1. over last winter followed SSBHV1,2 exactly, at each block had FTP increase 5%
  2. when summer came, did customized 4 week SSBHV2: kept 2 hardest weekly SS workouts, substituted rest with long Z2 (14-20hr/week, 700-1100TSS), FTP increased 7%. Also, felt much better: higher motivation, less fatigue and <30sec sprint power that I never trained went up.

But to be honest, can’t really draw conclusion – this winter have followed TBHV1,2 (just started 3), FTP increased with 2 blocks altogether 4%. Interestingly, sprint power continued to increase. Intervals.icu started even fixing power spikes for me :slight_smile:


Yeah, I respond well to volume. I love riding bikes both on the road and off road too.
Raced a bit of cx last autumn after a summer of epic rides and bikepacking overnighters.
Was as competitive as when I was doing proper interval training but much fresher mentally so had a great time.


Bottom purple line versus red line (2019 vs 2020) is largely due to volume increase (from 7-8hr up to 10-11hrs). Overwhelmingly endurance and low tempo (.75-.80 IF) across the board (outdoor, Zwift). Any intensity was unstructured group rides (rare). Looking to conservatively add structured intensity now that I think I’ve maxed out the improvements from increasing volume. Or not. :slight_smile:

Have been following the “LIT plus stuff” discussions closely.


Everyone responds to volume.


This type of question always strikes me as a search for the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow :rainbow: :funeral_urn: Smart training doesn’t ignore the fundamentals, in search of hacks to cheat nature.

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How high was the weekly difference in training volume?

Nice graph tshortt.
People obsess about ftp but the ability to sit comfortably at 230w as opposed to 190w is what matters in races.


Looks like a bump in ftp too?



But, seriously, people seem to forget cycling is an aerobic sport. The best thing about high volume is the training is self-limiting. In order to maintain high volume, intensity has to be capped. When you ride a lot, you better understand your body’s capabilities, and know when you need to knock it back to keep up the volume. Anyone that has done a lot of commuting understands this.


Yes, bump in FTP as well. I’d like to say bump across the whole PD curve, but I don’t “feed the model” (I know, shame on me), so the upper right is messy. Without a spread of max efforts, I cannot definitively say it was across all points on PD curve.

No matter. I was trying to improve in the way @grawp describes and happened to get improved repeatability at 1-5mins as a bonus.

Basically, I watched MAP go up, FTP go up, and power at 130bpm go up. Poor man’s WKO. LOL.