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waterrockets 04-10-10 10:04 PM

The workout recipe book
This is a copy of bdcheung's Google doc on the subject. The linked document is a living document, and I will update this first post every so often as workouts are added. If the last edit date for this post looks old, click the link above to make sure you're getting the latest copy.

Tempo Workouts:
90-240 mins at 75-78% FTP

SST Workouts:
90-180 mins at 85-88% FTP

Descending Pyramid
Warm up easy.
Do a descending pyramid of intervals, starting with 20:00 and working your way down, by cutting the time in half: This is 20:00; 10:00, 5:00, 2:30; 1:15; :45 Incorporate 3-5:00 of recovery in between each. Decide the effort you will repeat, having it be as near your 20:00 peak power value as possible, with a goal to bump it up a bit each time. Thereafter, cool down. If you have time constraints, stop after the 5:00 effort.

1x5 2x10 Workout
After warm up, do 1 x 5:00 effort in Zone 3-4, progressively increasing effort for the duration. Then ride easy at least 5:00 and do 2 x 10:00 in Zone 3, progressively increasing effort for the duration. Take 5-10min easy in between. Use various ways to work the effort. In this case, Jeff focused on keeping his cadence above 85 rpm, as this is his weakness. You can change it up, preferably focusing on your weakness.

Progressive Sweet Spot Challenge
The goal is to begin at 101-105% of threshold power and hold as long as possible, dropping back a few watts as fatigue sets in. She continues to hold the efforts as long as possible over the course of 45-60 minutes. At the end of the duration, she finishes with 3 x 4min Zone 1 & 4min Zone 4, then cooling down.

3-Minute Repeatable Power Efforts
Warm Up Easy Zone 1.
3 x (3x3:00X1:00) efforts with 1 min rest in between, and 2:00 complete rest between each full set.
Ride your first 3x3:00 efforts at a high cadence of 85+ in Zone 3 in a gear that doesn’t cause fatigue. Do not change gears during the effort. Perform your second 3x3:00 efforts in a bigger gear, still trying to work at 85+ rpm. The intensity will feel harder. Do the third 3x3 efforts in a bigger gear yet, still trying to keep cadence at 85+ rpm. This will feel very hard. It is likely that the cadence will drop as you near the end of the 3min, but battle to keep it up. Ride remaining time easy.

Threshold Workouts:
STUCI / Friel Pacing Intervals
After warm-up do a 10-minute work interval at just below functional threshold power (FTP). This is roughly the equivalent of your lactate or anaerobic threshold power. If you have done my CP30 self-test or know your actual CP60 from a race then that is what you would use for a power level on this first interval. So if your FTP (or self-test CP30 or CP60 or AT/LT power) is 250 watts try to make this first one 245-249w. You may find it very difficult to do this if you are not good at pacing. Watch your power meter very closely.
Recover for 2 minutes by spinning easily. Check your average power for the first interval.
Do an 8-minute work interval at a slightly higher power than the first. So let's say you averaged 248w on #1. For#2 try to average 250w.
Recover for 2 minutes and again check your average power for interval #2.
If the average power on #2 was higher than for #1 then repeat the 8-minute interval. If the power for #2 was lower than for #1 subtract 2 minutes and make this a 6-minute interval. Again, try to beat the power of the previous interval, but only slightly.
Recover 2 minutes and check power for the third interval the same as before.
If the power for #3 was higher than for #2 repeat the same duration as #3. If it was less subtract 2 minutes.
Recover. Check previous interval power.
Continue with this same process until your interval becomes 4 minutes. This is the last one regardless of what happens.
That's a good session so your ME should be nicely challenged. But you also know you need to focus on pacing. The fact that you are fading as the workout progresses gives you a good idea of what also happens in a race. Learn to hold back at the start and you will maintain a much higher average power and produce a faster race.

If you are good at pacing (and have your FTP correct) then the work intervals may have totaled 36 or more minutes. That's excellent.

Hour of Power
10min. warm-up;
60min. @ 80-95% FTP
every 90 sec or so, shift down, stand up, SURGE for ~30”.
10min. cool-down

Terrible 20's
10min. warm-up;
One rep =
20min. @90% of FTP with last 2min. thereof being @110% of FTP
Do 2-3 reps with 5-10min. @ L2 between the reps;
10min. cool-down.

ZeCanon Intervals
Good warmup (that's a given)
5 or 6 x 5' @ 103-108% FTP
60" rest between intervals
Cool down

The goal, as I've said before, is optimal (maximal) fiber recruitment. The first two feel easy - your anaerobic system is providing a good portion of the power. 3-end, you have exhausted anaerobic power and are relying entirely on the aerobic system.

Basically the first two are simply prepping your system, and are not providing any threshold gains in and of themselves. Gains in studies have been on the order of 2-3x standard 20min intervals. My favorite intervals by far.

Drive for the Line
10min. warm-up;
20min. @85% of FTP;
5min. @70% of FTP;
5min. @100% of FTP with last 30sec. thereof @140%+ of FTP;
5min. @70% of FTP;
5min. @100% of FTP with last 30sec. thereof @140%+ of FTP;
10min. cool-down.

20/5 Threshold Session
This session is based off of Threshold Power.
Warm up Zone 1 Easy.
20:00 @ 80% (as fitness increases, increase to 85%, 90%, 95%)
4 x 5:00 easy and 5:00 @ 85%, repeating without hesitation. (as fitness increases, increase to 90%, 95%, 100%) Ride remaining time easy and cool down.

15-5-15-1 Threshold Booster
Warm Up in Zone 1 (easy).
Based on a 10 min Power Test or your 10 Peak Power Value, do 4 intervals at a percentage of your test/value results. Take 5min rest in between.
Interval #1: 15:00 @ 80%
Interval #2: 5:00 @ 90%
Interval #3: 15:00 @ 80%
Interval #4: 3-6 x 1:00 @ 101%+ with 1:00 rest in between. Attempt to build each effort, by increasing watts just a tad more than the last.
Cool Down in Zone 1 (easy)

Criss Cross Threshold
Warm up at least 10 minutes and then ramp yourself up gradually to 75% of your threshold power over the course of 10 minutes. Now do a 7 minute Criss Cross Threshold interval as: 2:00 above threshold; 1:00 at 80-85% threshold; 2:00 above threshold; 1:00 80-85% threshold and 1:00 above threshold. Then ride easy 5min and repeat for a total of 3-5x, based on time available.

4.5 and Drive
10min. warm-up;
Ride at 70% of FTP (189)
Every 4.5min. go @140% of FTP (378) for 90sec. (so total of 6min.) and that is one rep and you continue that for 10 reps (total of 60min) never letting things go below the 70% of FTP base level;
10min. cool-down.

Drive for 5
10min. warm-up;
One rep =
5min. @110% of FTP then 2min. @60% of FTP
Do 3 reps per set and 2 sets with 10min. @ L2 between the sets.
10min. cool-down.

Shovelhd Intervals:
80-90% for an hour, with all-out 20" sprints every 5' with no recovery (at the end of the sprint, fall back to your previous target).

Variation: 1' all-out every 5' instead of the 20".

VO2max Workouts:
5x5x5 Hill Workouts
Good Warmup
5 sets of:
5 minutes hard
5 minutes rest
Shoot for negative splits on the intervals - i.e., each progressive interval should be done at a higher power than the last. Last interval should be all-out. Last interval should be 20w higher than first.

Good warmup
3' @ 113%, 2-4' rest
Add 30" each additional interval. Maintain 113% power. See how long you can last.
Cool down.

Fat Boy Intervals
Tried something new today. I made up a workout based on a running workout I read about. The idea was hi-intensity and reduced recovery time between intervals. The study showed an increase in the release of growth hormone when doing the workout this way as opposed to doing it the other way.

Anyway, my workout went like this:

5' @ 110% ftp
5' rest
4' @ 115% ftp
4' rest
3' @ 120% ftp
3' rest
2' @ 125% ftp
2' rest
1' @ 150% ftp (max)
1' rest
30" @ 150+% ftp (max)

Total work time was 15 1/2 minutes. Not a huge time commitment. I wasn't really feeling super today, but I'm on the road tomorrow mid-day, so today was my last chance to do it this week. I hit the 5 and 4 minute bogies. Missed the 3 and 2 power bogies by a little. The hit the 1 and 30 sec. bogies. I think if you did this right, that hitting all the bogies wouldn't be _that_ tough. I just wasn't 100%. Maybe the workout isn't tough enough, I don't know. I can tell you my legs feel like it was, that's for damn sure.

Anaerobic Capacity Workouts:
Waterrockets Intervals (WRIs)
Solid warmup
6 sets of:
1' interval:
Solid sprint to start off the interval, and hold max intensity until the end
5 minutes rest
Limp home

Pyramid Intervals
Good Warmup
"On" Intervals of 1-1-2-5-2-1-1 minutes
5 minutes rest in between
Cool down

Tabata Intervals
20" sprint
10" rest
Do 8 sets (4 minutes total) for a block.
Rest 4 minutes between block
Do as many blocks as possible.

Take a nice long warm up. Then do:
2 x 30s; 2 x 20s; 3 x 10s; 3 x 5s . Your effort is at your hardest effort. You can use your peak power values for the same duration, as your carrot to chase if you want Ride the rest of the workout easy.

30 Second Efforts
This session is based on work intervals with only 30 sec of rest in between. You begin by doing 30 sec efforts, but over time (weeks/months) you progress to 45 seconds and then 1:00. Warm up at least 10 minutes.

Do as many repetitions as possible of 30 sec of all out work (not so hard that you can’t finish the 30 sec) and 30 sec rest, without hesitation, shooting for 10 total. No worries if you cannot do 10 in a row at first. This is merely your goal to shoot for. The first few are going to feel much better than the rest, as the fatigue of repetition will set in. Afterwards, ride easy. You can then throw in a few more efforts if you really want, but it’s not necessary. Repeat every 10 days. When you can do 10 in a row, change the timing to 45 seconds. When you can do 10 of those in a row, then change it up to 1:00.

Strength Workouts:
Ascending Pyramid
Warm up on the bike in Zone 1. Then do an Ascending Pyramid of work for 2:00; 3:00; 4:00 and 5:00, with 2:00 recovery in between each. The work effort is done at the highest load/biggest gear that you can hold at 60 rpm. Noodle the legs in Zone 1 for a few minutes and then hop off the bike, making your way to the treadmill. Repeat the same ascending pyramid focus. The work effort on the treadmill is done at the highest grade you can sustain for the duration. Finish on the bike, repeating the ascending pyramid. You can also repeat the treadmill work if time permits; otherwise cool down.

Stomps & WindUps
Warm Up for 10 minutes and then do 4 x 5 minute efforts as follows: 10 seconds of stomping hard on the pedals and 20 second of easy pedaling, repeating without hesitation for the whole 5 minutes. You’ll need to add active recovery in between each 5minute effort, for 3- 5 minutes. With each set, shoot for a bit higher power output than the previous. Then for the rest of the ride, incorporate 10 wind-ups with at least 5 minutes in between each. To initiate, shift to a bigger gear and unleash an acceleration out of the saddle for 10 seconds. Again, try to shoot for a bit higher power output with each. Be sure to cool down a while before ending your session, as they’ll be a lot of toxins to flush out!

Bike-Specific Strength Circuit
Warm up on the bike easy Zone 1.
Then do an 8:00 force intervals interval as:
2:00 gradually building to highest load you can sustain at 70rpm
1:00 standing in that same gear (change cadence as needed)
2:00 back to the saddle in biggest load you can sustain 70 rpm
1:00 standing in that same gear
1:00 back in the saddle in that same gear
1:00 spin legs out easy, easy, easy. That is a total of 8:00.
Then, hop off bike & do as many walking lunges as possible for 1:00. If you do not have space to walk the lunge, just do them in place, but make sure you are always switching lead legs. Then hop back on the bike and spin the legs out easy for 3:00. Now REPEAT the 8:00 force interval and lunges for a total of 4-6x, or as time as time allows. Finish with an easy cool down on the bike.

Zones, Training Stress, and Adaptations

Read the Training Levels article here.

Great chart:

graphs 04-11-10 06:21 AM

This is really great, thanks!

bdcheung 04-14-10 05:42 PM

hey waterrockets

you spelled my name wrong

FallsApart 04-14-10 09:57 PM

whoa - logged on to PM you about this WR. Just got a PT and am psyched to start training with it. Thanks for posting!

SwimBike 04-22-10 07:59 PM

A variation of Tabata's from our friend Hunter. Well he calls them microburst (15sec on, 15sec off for 15 mins, not really an all out sprint but 300 % of FTP). Either way 30 mins at tempo with a "burst" every 3 mins. I did two sets of 30 on tuesday, was fun.

tadawdy 07-27-10 12:06 PM

If I might add something: if you're going to use lunges, my suggestion would be to do reverse lunges (in place). The working leg is constantly in contact with the ground, and in a position not unlike being on the bike. Walking lunges bear less resemblance to the cycling motion. It's also easier to add weight across the shoulders with this motion.

dennisa 07-31-10 08:21 AM

How can you use this if you don't have a power meter? could you use HR as the metric in place of the power meter ?

spessx 09-05-10 08:31 PM

Originally Posted by dennisa (Post 11206270)
How can you use this if you don't have a power meter? could you use HR as the metric in place of the power meter ?

..Edited - Replied to wrong thread.

dykim90 10-05-10 08:30 PM

i have no idea what any of that means. too many acronyms and such. please break it down for me. i probably shouldnt be in here if im asking that right?

waterrockets 11-01-10 05:02 PM

No, that's fine that you haven't seen the terms and acronyms before. Looking back through it, here's what I saw:

FTP = functional threshold power, which highest possible average power for about an hour, assuming you went into it fully recovered. This might be the power you could produce for a state time trial or a big 60' hill climb race.
AT = aerobic threshold (usually heart rate at FTP)
LT = lactate threshold (casually used interchangeably with AT)

Interval workouts are described as repeitions x work duration x recovery duration. So, 6 x 1 x 5 would be six one-minute intervals with five minutes of recovery.

Three minutes can be expressed as "3 minutes," "3 min.," "or 3' "

Power is measured with a power meter. Most everyone around here who has a power meter has either a PowerTap, an SRM, or a Quarq.

Hope that helps. Lurk the training status thread for a while to get a feel for what people are doing.

Ale_z 02-13-11 06:34 AM

Hey, I have a question. I would really like to use these workouts, but there's a problem... I noticed they're all power-related. What happens if I have no power monitor? I just have a cheap cyclo-computer, I can only see distance, speed, avg. speed, max speed... How should I go about this? Is there any other place I can find workouts that use the data I have available?

waterrockets 02-13-11 09:33 PM

You can try with a heart rate monitor for most intervals over 5 minutes. Under that, you need to be in tune with your RPE. Read up on it here. One technique that helped me a lot before I had a power meter was to go do negative splits on hill repeats, measuring time. Once I got to the point that I could finish my 5th ~five-minute interval, all-out, and only be about 15 seconds faster than the first, then I found that I could gauge my efforts really well in other settings.

At any rate, link the recipes back to training zones (using the link above) and convert those to RPE and/or heart rate. You'l be fine. You don't have to nail it perfectly. It still comes down to "time in zone." A power meter is helpful though...

botto 09-09-11 01:19 PM

hmmm... cleanup in aisle 9. clean up in aisle 9. maybe it's just me, but time for this sticky to be unstuck. no?

waterrockets 09-09-11 01:30 PM

I think it's still a good place to send people. I even send non-forum members here a lot when they ask what kinds of workouts I do.

Anyone else want to toss it?

Creakyknees 09-09-11 01:35 PM

keep it... I forget about it but anytime we get the inevitable "how do I raise FTP" we should send 'em here.

Creakyknees 09-09-11 01:41 PM

also - add this?

hammy56 09-09-11 01:47 PM

I like the chart. Good stuff.

Ultraslide 09-09-11 01:47 PM

Keep it. Please and thank you!

waterrockets 09-09-11 08:32 PM

Chart is added

Quel 09-10-11 07:48 AM

Just got a powertap, and find myself pouring over the workouts again for new stuff. This thread has as much or more value than the other stickies in my opinion.

Stinky C 01-05-12 09:47 AM

I've been resisting a power meter for a long time now.

...threads like this don't help ;)

ruindd 03-07-12 06:01 PM

Originally Posted by waterrockets (Post 10652806)

Anaerobic Capacity Workouts:
Waterrockets Intervals (WRIs)
Solid warmup
6 sets of:
1' interval:
Solid sprint to start off the interval, and hold max intensity until the end
5 minutes rest
Limp home

You're not kidding, those hurt.

pecos 08-17-12 11:45 AM


Great post, thanks. Hope it remains a sticky.

Question, if you don't mind, what percentage of your training is done on the trainer? assume you are doing these on trainer, the road is too variable, at least for me, even on country roads, which are quite hilly and never the right length/distance to fit the WI. Plus the earliest I get home is 6pm.

waterrockets 10-30-12 04:33 PM

I pretty much just do base on the trainer, and MAP testing.

I do all my intervals on the road. Often hilly and windy. Even with stop signs on some courses. It's a good skill to learn to maintain power in these conditions. Not that you want to race with constant power, but just to train your brain and legs to work together so you can be intentional when you like. For descending tailwinds, I'll brake if necessary. For stop signs, I'll brake and keep pedaling, maintaining power, and almost stopping -- sometimes I'll come out the other side with a slight power gain.

waterrockets 01-06-13 12:20 PM

Added shovelhd intervals in the threshold section...

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