Workouts for 1-5 minute power

Title says it all. I’m just kind of wondering where the line between short power and sustained power lies. Should I choose workouts from short power build/CX specialty/ Crit speciality? Or are those focused on even shorter efforts and I should focus on workouts from general build/sustained power build?

Thanks, sorry if this is a repeat, I couldn’t find anything talking about this range.

If you’re looking just for workouts then I suggest searching the TR database for VO2Max. Sustained Power Build will progress you from 1-minute to 3-minute VO2 efforts at 120%, and up to 5-minute efforts around 110-115%.

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Sorry, I guess You mean short power build not sustained? @rkoswald

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Yeah, I guess I’m really trying to determine where the switch from short to sustained lies. But vo2 workouts are a good idea, as @rkoswald says above.

No, i asked him actually. He should mean short power build with 1-3 mins not sustained i guess :grinning:

But for your question, you can do vo2 intervals but also anaerobic workouts such as 30/30s or 40/20s will be really useful.

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if you are looking to improve your short power, it may not be as straightforward of a question as you think.

on the one hand there is specificity: do the workouts with short hard efforts, focus on the energy systems that power those short hard efforts, and you should get better.

But if you’ll note, there’s a reason why trainnerroad first sends you through two phases of base before introducing build (whether it’s Short Power Build or otherwise), and Short Power Build and Sustained Power Build have a lot of overlapping workouts. This is because you will get better results if you also spend time building your overall engine.

on the one hand, these plans are all still geared towards endurance cyclists, e.g., it’s not just about one-minute power but instead one-minute power at the end of a race. So presumably, if you really only cared about short power, more like a track cyclist, your preparation would look different than a TR plan.

But even so, you’d still be spending time working on the engine as well as lifting and doing your short work. Sort of like the 800 and 1600 meter runners whose coaches have them going on multi-hour runs on the weekends. it gives them adaptations that help with their short events, it makes them tougher to withstand more event-specific training, makes them recover from their short efforts better and faster, stuff like that.

So short answer, any workouts that train the short-power energy systems will work, but don’t neglect your engine.


Interested in a similar thread. If all i care about is my 5 minute power, raw 5 minute power, is there any (significant) place for Sweet Spot?

From my understanding of it, whilst Sweet Spot is ‘bang for buck’ for increasing FTP, it also has some side-effects in being really good at converting Fast-twitch to Slow-twitch fibers, which may be great for a endurance event (> 5 minutes for sake of this question), but actually is this harmful to the purpose/desire of the 5-minute rider?

I’ve only just started a trainer road TP, and i’m in the base phase, and it’s just sweetspot after sweetspot after sweetspot, and i just feel like my vo2 power is suffering ( i don’t know because i’ve only had 105% as my max effort so far!!).

Appreciate that there’s always place for variety, and you’d want to do 5-20s sprint work, as well as 1-4 hour low intensity work, but sustained sweetspot?

To labour the point, all i’m after is 5 minute power, not ‘end of a 4 hour ride power’ not ‘several hill climbs’, no tactics, no gamesmanship… 15 minute warm-up, 5 minutes of raw power, bragging rights, done.

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I think even so, you’d spend plenty of time training the endurance engine. Not only to support your short intervals but also, five mins is still mostly aerobic.

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Interestingly, earlier in the week I had the exact same desire to only maximize 5min power in a purely clinical sense. Thought of asking the exact same question myself, if I got stuck while studying different schools of thoughts.

So far, no, I don’t think significant SS is the answer if you are well trained with a solid base. But yes maybe for those who are starting from absolutely untrained as a means to build their base.

I’m viewing raw 5min power as an exercise in strategically depleting my W’ over the first 3~4 minutes, then “hanging on” until the 5 minutes are up. For how my base-training is going right now, and where I project my fitness to be in late March, I believe I’ll have more to gain by investing in my anaerobic engine.

I’m still working on the build plan… but so far I’m thinking about: reducing SS either completely or 1 day at most. Switch to high-volume low-intensity Z2 for the ‘easy days’. Continue to do 2~3 days of strength training squats/deadlifts at heavy weights – eventually substituting 1 to 2 of these days for Tabata Intervals. Obviously, I’d be picking key days to do the actual 5min tests throughout all this, until I’m satisfied.

So the overall plan involves investing in the anaerobic side of things. And to do that, my strategy is to be very well rested going into the strength or interval days… and I don’t see myself being able to achieve this in a high-quality manner with sustained SS. That’s just me tho, YMMV.

Anyway, I’m early into the planning and research of all this. I’m all ears for more thoughts, counterpoints, and perspectives on ways to maximize 5min power.

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I would guess each week should look something like:

3 sessions on the bike:

  • Base: progress from 3x5min to 3x7min to 3x10min @ FTP with at least 5-15mins of Z1 between each interval.
  • Build: 3x4min to 3x5min to 3x6min of VO2max repeats that float at SS like Whiteface but with longer rests (10-20mins).
  • Specialty: 3x3min to 3x4min to 3x5min fading maximal efforts (i.e. ramping down as you fatigue) in resistance mode, again with 10-20mins of Z1 between each interval.

2 to 3 sessions in the gym (focus on squats, leg press, hamstring curls):

  • Base: hypertrophy (6 sets of 10-12 reps, 65-75% of 1RM)
  • Build: strength (8 reps@85%, 6 reps@90%, 4 reps@95%, 2 reps@100% of 1RM)
  • Specialty: power (4 sets of 6 reps, 50-60% of 1RM, explosive)

3 sessions/week of yoga or pilates (30min, preferably right before a bike session). Do not skip these.

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I think it’s a pretty hard thing to pin down - the arguments between “increase power at desired duration” and “increase duration at desired power” both seem to have merit to me. I have to think a mix of them works well - so let’s say you’re shooting for 450W for 3 minutes, then I would personally do an alternating mix of:

  • 4-8x intervals at target power but half duration (so you’re getting 2-4x TIZ)
  • 4-8x intervals at target duration but ~85%-90% power

Those aren’t super precise - but for me that mix of extending how long I can go with that level of output alternated with upping my ceiling on time at that duration seems to be a solid mix.

And yes - without a good base this can lead to burnout / plateauing (in theory?), but let’s take that variable as a given, otherwise this gets way too complex…


Ok interesting so you’d favour more complete recoveries (with the added benefit of clocking up Z1 time on the side)? Wouldn’t that mean in total ‘less’ time spent at vo2, compared to the more ‘traditional’ 1:1s in vo2 workouts? and is that a problem/is there a trade-off i’m not seeing?

So strength is also interesting one, my belief has always erred on the side of… if i’ve got the time to do 6 sessions, wouldn’t it be better to stay on the bike? i.e. take those 2-3 gym sessions and do a low intensity spin instead? I guess i have a tipping point where i think… if i’ve got x+ hours then sure i should do some weights, but below that, i’ll get more out of building the engine and by the nature of cranking the pedals, i’ll be strong enough for what i require?

Or put another way… if i’m “strong” enough to hold 450W for 3 minutes, but fade thereafter, isn’t that ‘fitness’? Would a comparison of anaerobic power e.g. 1 minute all out, vs 5 minute help guide whether you’re ‘strong’ enough? Or am i just trying to find an excuse not to do weights : )

I have been reading a lot in lock down also trying to find out how to target specific weaknesses.
My bible has been Training with power meter Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan.
Even though i had read this book at least Once. I did not fully understand it all it at once.
Power Profile curves and doing all the test to get what type of rider.
Now that i have done the tests, got a Power profile i now know what i needed to train to reach the goals
5sec, 1min and 5minute and FTP and fatigue curves all add up better understanding of weaknesses. Maybe i was lucky that the book had someone nearly exactly me (but younger) so i am now starting the 16 week plan .
At the end of that i guess my 5minute power will have increased.
So my pennies worth, If you want bragging rights of 5min Power, you can train hard at 5 to 10 minutes intervals and threshold efforts will all support your fatigue resistance to achive that 5min max

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Truly maximizing 5 second power, 1 minute power, and 5 minute power really represents three different goals. Just look at how sprinters, kilo specialists, and pursuiters all train differently. You might do okay - but just okay - working on 5 second and 1 minute or (less so) 1 minute and 5 minute, but not all three together.


Agree 100% with @old_but_not_dead_yet and @devolikewhoa83

5 minute performance is largely influenced by aerobic abilities, so not to put too fine a point on it, pursuiters (mostly) train like roadies. I suspect any training that raises your FTP will increase your 5 minute power and vice-versa. Most pursuiters only work on maximizing anaerobic capacity for a few weeks before a major competition.

Last year Filippo Ganna broke the world record for individual pursuit in February (in 4.01), won the world TT champs (over ~35 minutes) in September and won a 6 hour stage of the Giro in October. If its over 2 minutes, it’s all about aerobic capacity…


Yep, absolutely agree.

If you read in “CyclingTips” or whatever about some pursuiter’s “best workout for crushing four minute power” or whatever it is, bear in mind that what they are showing you is the icing on the cake. They pick the capstone workouts to profile because it’s more interesting than showing you how they baked the cake in the first place.

@NickL, i remember reading a similar thing about the german team sprint from a few years back that won a world record after about a month or so of focused training, whereas prior to that they had been training and racing on the road.

Finally, this is just an n of 1 but i think pretty common, in my track and field days the 800m, 1600m, 3200m and 5k runner trainings were different but still more similar than different. E.g. we’d all do endurance on the same day, but the 800m runners usually did it slower and sometimes broken up into increments of 15 or 20 mins whereas the longer distance guys would just go run. And regardless of distance, you still did mostly endurance