Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Training & Nutrition
Reload this Page >

Sweet Spot Training: longer intervals or is any cumulative effort good?

Notices
Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

Sweet Spot Training: longer intervals or is any cumulative effort good?

Old 01-12-20, 09:53 PM
  #1  
ExMachina
Senior, Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
ExMachina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 673

Bikes: Canyon Ultimate

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Sweet Spot Training: longer intervals or is any cumulative effort good?

Want to get more deliberate about training this winter/spring and have recently read that Sweet Spot training (~90% FTP) need not be done in big chunks but can be broken up into smaller intervals. That is, a long SST session is thought to be just as effective if it's broken into shorter intervals with recovery.

Question I have, is there a lower limit to how short these smaller chunks can be to remain effective training? For example, if I want to break my 60 minute SST training into 4x15 or 3x20 intervals, is this any different/better than going down to 6x10 or even 12x5? And to take the question even further, would it be enough to simply focus on just the time spent in the SS Zone over the course of a ride (ie, no structured intervals at all)??

Thanks for any insights you all may have
ExMachina is offline  
Old 01-12-20, 11:53 PM
  #2  
caloso
Senior Member
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 38,590

Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper

Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2069 Post(s)
Liked 521 Times in 286 Posts
I don't have an answer for you. I've usually done my SST workouts in 20 or 30 min chunks. I'm interested to hear what others have to say.
caloso is offline  
Old 01-13-20, 07:57 AM
  #3  
hubcyclist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Boston
Posts: 1,601

Bikes: 2017 Raleigh RX 1.0, 2018 Specialized Allez

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 243 Post(s)
Liked 68 Times in 36 Posts
I do a lot of sweet spot, Trainerroad bases their high volume (9-11hr/wk) base plans on exclusively sweet spot intervals. Without giving too much of their plan structure away, the main gist is that if you're doing sweet spot as part of a structured plan, you can start with 10min intervals and eventually string things together to 15, 20, 30min efforts. While there's a ton of benefit from doing, say, 70 mins of sweet spot with 10min intervals, there's just something a little more mental and physical by doing 20-30 mins of sweet spot at a time and with reducing rest between intervals. I don't think there's anything wrong with doing the 10min intervals, I think they come as a welcome break from the longer efforts, but I think you do want to keep building the duration of your intervals
hubcyclist is online now  
Old 01-13-20, 08:45 AM
  #4  
jadocs
Senior Member
 
jadocs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 1,226

Bikes: Litespeed T2 Disc, Fondirest P4 Carbon, Fuji Cross 2.0, Specialized Fatboy

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 510 Post(s)
Liked 188 Times in 135 Posts
JMO

I have been doing them in 30 min and 1 hour chunks and have seen big improvements. I don't see how doing it at 5, 10, or 15 min provides very much benefit. My thought process is, someone should be able to hold their FTP for one hour for it to be a true FTP (which is why I do 1 hour FTP tests - outside). It shouldn't take a whole lot of effort to ride below that for 5, 10 or 15 min chunks. Given that, how much physiological adaptation is someone really getting doing them in small chunks like that (remember you will be zone 2 or 3 at max recovering in-between). To me that's just like a group ride. Again, just my opinion but based on my own experience, doing it for 1 hour straight (no recoveries) has paid big dividends. The 30 min chunks (also no recovery) are usually after work when I don't have a lot of time. Sweet spot is anywhere from 84-97% FTP. I usually end up riding at 90-95% of my FTP.

Edit: I base my SST on my average watts for the whole ride (not normalized power). The average must be between 84-97%. Not saying that's right but that is how I do it and have seen huge improvements to my power and endurance.

Last edited by jadocs; 01-13-20 at 08:54 AM.
jadocs is offline  
Old 01-13-20, 09:06 AM
  #5  
ExMachina
Senior, Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
ExMachina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 673

Bikes: Canyon Ultimate

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
I don't see how doing it at 5, 10, or 15 min provides very much benefit.
Yeah. It's definitely not the conventional take on the subject.

Just to provide one reference on this (specifically this paragraph quoting cycling coach from Frank Overtron):

“I like to start athletes off easier than 2×20 and progress up,” he says. “So it may be 3×8, 3×10 , 4×9, 3×12, 4×10, 3x 5, then 2×20 and on up to advanced workouts 4×15, 3×20, 3×25, 3×30 and finally the freestyle SST.” This ladder of progression focuses on what Overton believes is the most important aspect for SST- your cumulative time spent in the SST range. In other words, your total time in the range is more important the the length of each individual interval.
ExMachina is offline  
Old 01-13-20, 09:23 AM
  #6  
hubcyclist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Boston
Posts: 1,601

Bikes: 2017 Raleigh RX 1.0, 2018 Specialized Allez

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 243 Post(s)
Liked 68 Times in 36 Posts
Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
someone should be able to hold their FTP for one hour for it to be a true FTP (which is why I do 1 hour FTP tests - outside).
I'm opening a can of worms, but Dr. Coggan does not define FTP as one hour power and has gone out of his way on other forums to say that. It's more like 40-70min power. I've done FTP for over an hour in the past and I probably couldn't right now without a period of time of actually working up to that duration, it's really difficult.
hubcyclist is online now  
Likes For hubcyclist:
Old 01-13-20, 10:24 AM
  #7  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 15,503

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 95 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2051 Post(s)
Liked 168 Times in 131 Posts
Originally Posted by ExMachina View Post
Yeah. It's definitely not the conventional take on the subject.

Just to provide one reference on this (specifically this paragraph quoting cycling coach from Frank Overtron)
:
“I like to start athletes off easier than 2×20 and progress up,” he says. “So it may be 3×8, 3×10 , 4×9, 3×12, 4×10, 3x 5, then 2×20 and on up to advanced workouts 4×15, 3×20, 3×25, 3×30 and finally the freestyle SST.” This ladder of progression focuses on what Overton believes is the most important aspect for SST- your cumulative time spent in the SST range. In other words, your total time in the range is more important the the length of each individual interval.:
This is what I do, starting in November or December. Exactly this progression. Works very well indeed, which is more important to me than the theory. I also salt in some VO2max intervals, which also slowly increase in length and number. I should add that the short ones work best if you use power.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Likes For Carbonfiberboy:
Old 01-13-20, 10:30 AM
  #8  
jadocs
Senior Member
 
jadocs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 1,226

Bikes: Litespeed T2 Disc, Fondirest P4 Carbon, Fuji Cross 2.0, Specialized Fatboy

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 510 Post(s)
Liked 188 Times in 135 Posts
Originally Posted by hubcyclist View Post
I'm opening a can of worms, but Dr. Coggan does not define FTP as one hour power and has gone out of his way on other forums to say that. It's more like 40-70min power. I've done FTP for over an hour in the past and I probably couldn't right now without a period of time of actually working up to that duration, it's really difficult.
From what I understand, 40-70 or 30-60 were based off two groups. One being able to operate at a higher percentage of lactate threshold and the other only being able to operate at the lower end (Trained endurance athletes vs. untrained? - I don't know). My thinking is, how do you know what your lactate threshold is unless you take a blood test in conjunction with a stress test. Yes sustaining it for an hour is hard...it's hard as heck. Without knowing what my actual lactate threshold is, I can only say that I use my one hour power to determine what my zones are and to determine what sweet spot is....and I have been doing them in 30min, 1 hour and 1.5 hour chunks (solo sustained with no recovery - average watts for the whole ride not normalized)….and my fitness has improved a lot (quickly). Maybe my approach is wrong, but it has paid huge dividends and I'm not trying to guess what group I fall in to or make myself feel better by thinking my FTP is higher than what I can sustain for one hour (that was not directed at you hubcyclist just providing context to my line of thought).
jadocs is offline  
Old 01-14-20, 11:50 AM
  #9  
Rides4Beer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: SC
Posts: 684

Bikes: Revolt | Tarmac

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 348 Post(s)
Liked 158 Times in 101 Posts
I've been doing 60 min SST sessions at around 90%, getting ready to bump to 90 mins, but I'm also leaning more towards endurance and gravel racing, so I figured longer sustained blocks of SST would be better than shorter intervals. Doing them 3x week on a Stages gym bike, since I don't have power on either of my bikes.
Rides4Beer is offline  
Old 01-14-20, 12:16 PM
  #10  
Hermes
Version 3.0
 
Hermes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: SoCal
Posts: 11,761

Bikes: Too Many

Mentioned: 293 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 677 Post(s)
Liked 242 Times in 177 Posts
To reiterate what has been said here many times when different training modalities are discussed, it depends on the goal and the athlete.

If the goal is to get fit on the bike then most any SS protocol seems to work especially if one is short on time. If the goal is to race a 40k time trial under one hour then protocol matters as well as individual athletes muscle composition.

If the goal is a 40k ITT and the athlete is more sprinty, like me, then breaking up SST and threshold efforts into 2x20 and 4x10 works. However, at some point, one has to practice racing an hour. Constant torque in ones legs for one hour without a position change is much harder than 4 to 6x10 threshold intervals or 2x30 SST. Just my experience.

Also, putting some longer endurance rides at constant power z2/z3 provides solid aerobic conditioning that coupled with SST, threshold and VO2 work can provide amazing fitness and capability for doing most any cycling event.

The other thing to keep in mind when doing SST intervals is they burn a lot of glycogen per kilojoule produced. And a great equalizer of humans is that we all only have about 2000 calories of muscle glycogen. And our stomachs can process only so many calories per hour. So a 400 watt FTP athlete will deplete his muscle glycogen quite quickly riding at SS whereas a 200 watt FTP athlete can ride a longer time. Hence UCI world tour pros tend to ride more z2 since they are still going fast but not burning a lot of glycogen.

I have found that riding SS is quite fatiguing compared to riding lets say mid range z2 even though the training stress score may be equivalent. The difference is torque in the legs is higher for SS and one is burning more muscle glycogen per kJ that has to be replenished after the ride is over.

There is a dark side to riding SS and tempo power. It tends to build a “happy spot” versus choosing to ride or wanting to ride at higher levels of effort. So if one wants to “get to the next level” what is the protocol?

Here is where riding about SS for short periods of time or increase SS matters, IMHO. Motor pacing drills where the motor is set at slightly above race pace but the rider is at SS, and the rider rides next to the motor for periods of time builds the required power to go faster at a sustained level. The increased intervals above race power and speed provide the brain with a different sensation that may improve the athlete to the next level meaning there is more to riding faster than just physiology. Just some ideas.

Last edited by Hermes; 01-15-20 at 08:21 AM.
Hermes is offline  
Likes For Hermes:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.