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Can doing intervals to improve your 1 minute and 5 minute power also improve FTP?

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Can doing intervals to improve your 1 minute and 5 minute power also improve FTP?

Old 01-19-12, 12:20 PM
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Can doing intervals to improve your 1 minute and 5 minute power also improve FTP?

So I have a limited amount of time to train this year - usually just 5-6 hours per week. I've never placed any focus on the anaerobic stuff (as my e-wang chart will verify!). But since I've got such limited time to train I've been doing the following workouts for the last 2-3 weeks:

Monday: 1 hour: 7x1 Minute at 150% ftp
Tuesday: 1 hour: base or recovery (depending on how I feel)
Thursday: 1 hour: 4x5 Minute intervals at 110-120% of ftp
Sat: 3 hours total: 1 hour at ftp and 6-10 10 second sprints. 2 hours base.

Last Saturday my hour at FTP was the highest it's been. Could it be because I'm finally doing some anaerobic work?

-s
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Old 01-19-12, 12:24 PM
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Yes.
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Old 01-19-12, 12:36 PM
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i dont wanna dig up the literature, and i'm sure someone else will, but apparently a pretty hardcore, committed tabata (8x:20x:10 *4-5 sets) regimen can boost FTP bigtime.

Last edited by badhat; 01-19-12 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 01-19-12, 12:40 PM
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Absolutely. Going anaerobic sends a strong signal to your body that it needs to improve its aerobic system.
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Old 01-19-12, 12:50 PM
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There is a downside though, right? Isn't the common belief that while very intense training like that can produce results quickly, it can only be sustained for a relatively short time?
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Old 01-19-12, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by badhat View Post
i dont wanna dig up the literature, and i'm sure someone else will, but apparently a pretty hardcore, committed tabata (8x:20x:10 *4-5 sets) regimen can boost FTP bigtime.
Sweet! Thanks for the response - I may add this in next month. I did pretty much all 45-60 minute FTP intervals in December. I'm following the schedule above through the end of January at least (longer if it's still generating results).
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Old 01-19-12, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by graphs View Post
There is a downside though, right? Isn't the common belief that while very intense training like that can produce results quickly, it can only be sustained for a relatively short time?
i'm not realy sure how that would work.

seems like cardiovascular adaptation is cardiovascular adaptation, irrespective of the stress that induced it, but i dunno.

the downside (for me anyway) is that i'd rather eat glass than do tabatas 2 or 3 times a week for 6 weeks.
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Old 01-19-12, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by graphs View Post
There is a downside though, right? Isn't the common belief that while very intense training like that can produce results quickly, it can only be sustained for a relatively short time?
That's probably correct. My thinking is that I'm only training 5-6 hours weekly so my body has lots of time to recover vs. an 8 hour + kind of training schedule. Also, I'll be throwing in rest weeks occasionally to let myself recover. If I start getting any of the over training warning signs then I'll do an easy week or two.
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Old 01-19-12, 01:22 PM
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more is more.
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Old 01-19-12, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by spessx View Post
So I have a limited amount of time to train this year - usually just 5-6 hours per week....

Tuesday: 1 hour: base or recovery (depending on how I feel)

-s
Make Tuesday harder. You've got time to recover. You should be able to make that at least an SST day if not a 2x20's day. You'll be rested going into every other ride, so they can all have a lot of anaerobic content. This one you might have to pull it back a little, but it can still be pretty tough. If you're only riding 6 hours a week, then all 6 have to count.
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Old 01-19-12, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Fat Boy View Post
Make Tuesday harder. You've got time to recover. You should be able to make that at least an SST day if not a 2x20's day. You'll be rested going into every other ride, so they can all have a lot of anaerobic content. This one you might have to pull it back a little, but it can still be pretty tough. If you're only riding 6 hours a week, then all 6 have to count.
I agree. I'd go as far as saying that Tuesday is your key day. Maybe do the Hour Power or Criss-cross workouts. Alternatively, if there is a Tuesday Night World Championships in your neck of the woods, I'd turn up for that when it starts up again.
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Old 01-19-12, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I agree. I'd go as far as saying that Tuesday is your key day. Maybe do the Hour Power or Criss-cross workouts. Alternatively, if there is a Tuesday Night World Championships in your neck of the woods, I'd turn up for that when it starts up again.
Hmm - you don't think that's over doing it? I could easily make it a 45 minute SST. 10 min warmup, 45 minutes around ftp, then 5 min cool down.

-s
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Old 01-19-12, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by spessx View Post
Hmm - you don't think that's over doing it? I could easily make it a 45 minute SST. 10 min warmup, 45 minutes around ftp, then 5 min cool down.

-s
Perhaps. Try 45 at SST on Tuesday for a couple weeks, and if you feel fresh enough, take it up a notch. You have options.
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Old 01-19-12, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by graphs View Post
There is a downside though, right? Isn't the common belief that while very intense training like that can produce results quickly, it can only be sustained for a relatively short time?
Of course, all forms of training involve some form of tradeoff or downside.

Highly intense exercise is very effective at improving fitness but it has downsides if used chronically.

There appears to be an intensity threshold around 80% of VO2max where the fight-or-flight response to stress is strongly activated (sympathetic nervous system, catecholamines, adrenocorticotropic hormones, cortisol, yadda yadda). While these changes temporarily give you “superhuman strength” prolonged activation leads to negative health effects and hampers recovery (insufficient parasympathetic activity, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal/gonadal system disregulation, etc).

Since we know that exercise at intensities between 50 – 80% VO2max can increase fitness for prolonged periods without screwing you up too much it should probably make up the majority of your training except for particular periods. Of course you can mess yourself up with too much volume too…
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Old 01-19-12, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by badhat View Post
i'm not realy sure how that would work.

seems like cardiovascular adaptation is cardiovascular adaptation, irrespective of the stress that induced it, but i dunno.

the downside (for me anyway) is that i'd rather eat glass than do tabatas 2 or 3 times a week for 6 weeks.
According to the physiologist working with our team, because anaerobic effort doesn't require O2, anaerobic workouts over an extended period of time can reduce your capacity to burn O2. You want all the mitochondria, red blood cells and capillaries you can make. And, since anaerobic capacity can be built quickly, he considers it far better to do the anaerobic workouts in the 11 days before a race, thereby minimizing any negative adaptation (reduction in your ability to burn O2). The more O2 you transport to your muscles, the more fat and glucose you can burn. The best way to build VO2MAX is working in the ~.85 RER range, not at VO2MAX, which he says teaches your body that it doesn't need O2.

The guy lives and breathes this stuff, as well as nutrition, and I hope I presented his concepts correctly.
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Old 01-19-12, 04:48 PM
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your mileage may vary, but my favorite workout is getting on the trainer and jamming it for an hour. get off. be glad it's over. write down your favorite metric and beat it next time. I like to suffer though.
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Old 01-20-12, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
According to the physiologist working with our team, because anaerobic effort doesn't require O2, anaerobic workouts over an extended period of time can reduce your capacity to burn O2. You want all the mitochondria, red blood cells and capillaries you can make. And, since anaerobic capacity can be built quickly, he considers it far better to do the anaerobic workouts in the 11 days before a race, thereby minimizing any negative adaptation (reduction in your ability to burn O2). The more O2 you transport to your muscles, the more fat and glucose you can burn. The best way to build VO2MAX is working in the ~.85 RER range, not at VO2MAX, which he says teaches your body that it doesn't need O2.

The guy lives and breathes this stuff, as well as nutrition, and I hope I presented his concepts correctly.
My understanding of how things work is similar to this. I don't limit anaerobic work to 11 days prior to the big race, but I do limit the really ugly stuff to the last 3 week Build phase. There's just so much you can get out of a strong aerobic system that I think the time spent there always pays dividends. Even when I'm in my Build 2 phase, I also throw in longer rides at an endurance pace just so my body doesn't completely shut down the fat burning end of things. In short races, though, the ability to have a strong anaerobic capacity can be a life saver. Having said that, a strong aerobic system means you'll use the anaerobic less. It's kind of the offense/defense argument.

If you have the time an patience, I think you can probably get 90-95% of your potential fitness maximum with nothing more intense than SST work. Keep in mind, we're talking about a hell of a lot of riding, but I think it's probably there.
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Old 01-20-12, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by spessx View Post
Hmm - you don't think that's over doing it? I could easily make it a 45 minute SST. 10 min warmup, 45 minutes around ftp, then 5 min cool down.

-s
Keep in mind that you don't have to be 100% recovered for every workout. The workouts where you start with a little fatigue can still be really strong workouts. On Monday you're talking about 7 total work-minutes. Now they're @ 150%, so they're not wussy, but it's also not ridiculous. In fact, on these, I'd say don't limit yourself to 150%. Go all out, rest for 5 minutes in between. When they drop to 120%, you're done. If that's 5, then it's 5. If you can get 10 in before the end of your hour, then kudos.

Your Saturday ride is very important. It's the only thing that will allow you to build any endurance. If you've got 3 hours of ride time, then you need to be pedaling for 2:50+ of it. None of this "Met the group and screwed around for 15 minutes, then rode at 100 watts while we BS'd, then went hard for a 1/2 hour, then stopped at the coffee shop." It's got to be 3 hours of a mix of riding. Everything from endurance pace to full gas stuff. Mix it up, but keep rolling as much of those 3 hours as you can.
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Old 01-20-12, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
According to the physiologist working with our team, because anaerobic effort doesn't require O2, anaerobic workouts over an extended period of time can reduce your capacity to burn O2.
That doesn't sound right to me. Going anaerobic doesn't mean you don't use O2 - it just means that the energy in excess of what can be provided by the aerobic system has to be delivered by the anaerobic metabolism. Still, there may be other reasons why developing the anaerobic side comes at the expense of the aerobic end.
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Old 01-20-12, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by plantrob View Post
That doesn't sound right to me. Going anaerobic doesn't mean you don't use O2 - it just means that the energy in excess of what can be provided by the aerobic system has to be delivered by the anaerobic metabolism. Still, there may be other reasons why developing the anaerobic side comes at the expense of the aerobic end.
Going anaerobic does mean that the muscles you are using are being fueled directly from your carbohydrate stores in a way that does not take oxygen. One of the by products of this is lactate, which can also be used by muscles (and your brain) as a fuel. Anyway, when burning these anaerobic (i.e. without air or O2) fuels, you create a lot of H+ ions. That is what burns and causes muscle tissue to break down. If you had the oxygen, you would create H2O and have water released as the by-product of the fuel burning, by the way.

If you only train at the anaerobic level, then your body becomes so used to burning carbohydrates directly, that it starts to ignore the fact that it can burn fats stores aerobically to fuel lower intensity work. Burning fats is a more labor intensive process for your body, so it will tend towards taking the easy path of burning carbs, even at lower intensities. Pretty soon, you're burning an inordinate amount of carbs and producing excessive H+ ions even at relatively low intensities (i.e. while sitting in) which starts to rob you of your high end.

We all tend to shut down once lactate reaches a certain concentration (12-15mmo/L or so). So the more fats you use (i.e. the better trained your aerobic system), the higher power you're able to produce on the aerobic side and the less you rely on the anaerobic system. When you do engage your anaerobic system fully, you're making more total power before you shut down because you're producing fewer waste by-products (which can be correlated to blood lactate concentration).

Does that make any sense?
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Old 01-20-12, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Fat Boy View Post
Does that make any sense?
ok, sure... I'm not qualified to argue the science... but if all that's true, then how does anaerobic work increase FTP?
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Old 01-20-12, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
ok, sure... I'm not qualified to argue the science... but if all that's true, then how does anaerobic work increase FTP?
I read somewhere that it can have more of an effect on your FTP test than your actual FTP. When you test, you are riding above and below your FTP (presumably). Having more anaerobic capacity means you can ride above your true FTP for longer, and recover from these efforts faster.

If two people have the same FTP, but one has better AC, they will do better in the test. Guess that's more a function of an imperfect test than anything.
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Old 01-20-12, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
ok, sure... I'm not qualified to argue the science... but if all that's true, then how does anaerobic work increase FTP?
Fair enough.

The aerobic and anaerobic systems are not mutually exclusive. They are both in play at anything over a fairly modest output. Anaerobic (type 2 & 2x) muscles are working at FTP, so training them is bound to make them stronger and in the near term, engaging more of the anaerobic system at FTP will increase output (and lactate / H+ ions). In the longer term, it will start to hurt FTP because your aerobic system will start to disengage at higher work levels and let the carb-burning fast-twitch muscles take over. This is why if you only do short, hard workouts people say that you can have a good peak, but it won't last for long.

This is also why we base train at an endurance pace. You want your body to ignore the anaerobic system and really train it to use body fat as a fuel. Say, for argument's sake, normally these muscles can provide 45% of your VO2max output. A well developed aerobic system may be able to provide 50%+ of your output at VO2max. This can be a substantial power gain even though you haven't done any training at VO2max. Likewise, it's why coaches warn you to stay away from zone 3 workouts, especially in base. These engage the anaerobic system enough to make your body want to start burning carbs, but not enough to really stress the anaerobic system into adaptations.

When you do establish good aerobic fitness with proper base training you can see a peak closer to your genetic ultimate. Once you start training the high end, you can make your big gains in anaerobic fitness and still have the aerobic base which has yet to fade. This philosophy is at the heart of training with periodization.
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Old 01-20-12, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by laserfj View Post
I read somewhere that it can have more of an effect on your FTP test than your actual FTP.
I think WR would tend to agree on this one.
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Old 01-20-12, 12:16 PM
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I'm not going to argue the science, either. I think if you realistically only have 5-6 hours/week to train, your training should be heavily periodized over the season with at least 3-4 peaks, and you should be using a system like Time Crunched.

Does doing anaerobic work improve FTP? IMO it may indirectly. The thing that helps me with FTP the most in terms of benefits/time is to do some longer medium efforts on top of a good strong base. My favorite FTP workout is 1-2 hours of tempo with sprints to 160%-200% of FTP every 3 minutes.
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