Why is over/under so painful!

was doing this earlier and it’s painful. I can’t finish. and I dont understand, the 1st 20 mins is like only z2. then following by 6 mins over / under. it looks easy but it is not. actually i find all over/under workouts are not easy. and they said if you can finish over/under, it means your ftp is set too low

so…any tips? what cadence do you recommend? i try 80 rpm , 95 rpm… but it still hard…thanks.

How did you test FTP? What are other workouts like?


You’ll need to provide more info about your training. Things like the questions above and where you are in your training plan.

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I’m new to structured workouts and it’s the first year that I do indoor workouts on a training plan. The following is my input as a beginner.

At low cadence, you will push harder on the pedals.

At higher cadence, you will put less force on the pedals but it’s likely to increase HR. Improved fitness will lower HR.

If FTP is set right, HR won’t climb too high during over/under at high cadence.

What I do is focus on high cadence at first. That puts less strain on the joints and give them time to adapt. After a few weeks of training, I started doing most intervals at higher cadence and a few at lower cadence.

I did Mono on my first week on TR.
About 7 weeks later, I did Tioga.

Both were done at same FTP. The intervals of Tioga are longer but my HR was lower. Fitness improved. It takes time.

I’d say Tioga was harder mentally than Mono because of the longer intervals but at the same time, it felt easier physically because I was farther from my max HR.

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They would be always hard but to improve lactate clearance you have to put some longer Z2 into legs. It’s all connected. When you do a lot of z2 your aerobic endurance improves, you gain some mitochondria and vascularity. Then your ability to clear lactate will be better and o/u will also become easier to your legs. They sill will be hard workout but way easier than in the beginning.

I’ve been thinking about that. Last thursday I failed my U/O too. I just got a new heart rate strap and I think the new and old strap interfered with my kickr headwind, so the fan speed didn’t increase, without the cooling the workout was unbearable and even when I did realize it and manually turned on the fan I guess I was already overheated too much. Point being get your cooling in order. Thinking about the failure it could also be that my FTP was set slightly too high turning the entire workout into a very long VO2max workout

I just looked at that workout (Mono) and compliance is 90% to 95%. Most athletes are able to complete this workout. So generally speaking athletes are consistently able to complete this workout.

If you are having trouble the most likely reason is that your actual FTP is 95% of your current FTP setting. Or less.

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I think you meant to say is if you can’t finish O/Us it means your FTP is set to high. The thinking there is that you’re actually doing overs/V02. Possibly, but it could also mean you don’t have a well established aerobic base or you’re coming into the workout too fatigued.

I just did that workout a couple weeks ago starting Build, so I’ll give you my impression.

The initial z2 into O/Us is fatiguing, but I was happy to find out it was tough but doable. The middle two O/Us were fine and by the fourth I was ready for it to be over. It all felt quite doable after coming out of 12 weeks of SSBHV. I didn’t target a specific cadence and just did what felt natural, but tried to raise my cadence a few rpm’s during the Overs.

If you’re doing it right the valleys should be where it hurts because you’re clearing the lactate just enough to start the next over. O/Us suck but it should be doable especially for only 6 mins, so something is off in your training.

If you’re lucky you get to graduate to 30 mins of z2 before and after with 9 min O/Us. My workout today:

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As others have mentioned, this likely means your FTP is set too high.

105/95 o/us are not very forgiving for a too high FTP, as if it’s off even a small amount, they turn into over overs. Along that line you could try a similar workout with the unders at 90% instead, like Star-1 or Kid. If these are suddenly much more doable, your FTP is likely only a few percentage points too high.

As for cadence, I personally aim for the higher end of my comfortable range, which for me is 95-100. Lower end seems to cause too much muscular fatigue… though sometime low cadence work is the point.


It certainly could be that your FTP set too high. And it doesn’t take much to make over unders undoable.

However, there also is a big psychological component to over unders, especially when you’re new to them. Almost everything else you do in training and even unstructured riding is basically structured as go hard and then rest. Going hard and then going slightly less hard and repeating that is both physically taxing and psychologically taxing. (Its also the way key parts of most bike races end up being ridden.).
Along with training your body, you really need to train your mind to be able to handle the psychological burden of recovering while still operating at a high level of output. You need to develop the mental confidence that no matter how much the first part of that under interval sucks, that you will recover enough to make it through it and do the next over interval.

Back to the proper target levels, I find if I’m at the right effort levels, its the unders that suck and the overs take care of themselves. If you just can’t do the overs, its a sign your FTP might be too high or you need to dial the targets back a bit.


My guess is that you set your FTP off a Ramp Test and your strengths are towards shorter power durations and thus inflating your FTP result. (A Ramp Test leans more towards a VO2 test in my opinion)

TR’s O/Us are mainly 105/95%, where this is quite a small range to build up lactate (above threshold) and flush it out (under threshold). So quite reliant on your FTP being actual F ‘Threshold’ P. You may find your 95% is very close to your true ‘Threshold’ FTP and not have adequate opportunity to flush lactate.

You could:
see what TR estimates your FTP to be,
do a longer test
or knock the unders down to 90 or 85%

Z2 fatiguing?

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Just to echo some of the other comments, I think your FTP is set too high. A lot of people take a ramp test or 20-minute FTP test and end up with a slightly higher than is truly real FTP value. The reason, you haven’t actually trained to sustain that power for a full 60-minute period and likely wouldn’t be able to if pushed. Think of the result as an indication of where you’ll be once you build proper muscle memory. Additionally, the tests are an estimate of your FTP so the actual result could be +/-5%.

Recently, I completed Kennedy and while it wasn’t easy, I didn’t feel like it was too hard (going all out) to complete. This doesn’t indicate that my FTP is too low, but that I’ve adapted the muscle memory and endurance to handle that intensity. That said, I skew more in the direction of shorter bursts of power so holding my estimated FTP for 60-minutes would still be really tough. If I had to guess, I’d hold the target FTP for 40-minutes, but will get there over the next month. Your body needs time to adapt to the training.

Long story short, your FTP setting should be adjusted and you may be more of a shorter burst athlete. Hard to say. Alternatively, try lowering your intensity setting 2-5% and see how that goes. After a couple weeks, you may find yourself at 100% intensity and then working up from that level. Best of luck with your training!

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This is spot on.

I increased my FTP from 144 to 158 following a ramp test (ai FTP suggested the same increase) and did Mono again.

It felt harder than the first time and HR was higher during the whole workout. It was challenging physically and mentally.

Now that I’ve done it twice, I have a better idea of how it should feel with an FTP that’s a bit low and an FTP that’s a bit high for my current fitness.

It felt very hard both times but this time I felt like there was less margin before failure. It was almost VO2.