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sweet spot training

Sweet Spot, what is it?

After searching the internet for a simple definition I came up with this quote

Sweetspot training gives you the most training value for the time on your bike and  therefore balances the exercise intensity and volume of training – hence the term ‘sweetspot’.

The actual training intensity is at 88-93% of your Functional Threshold Power FTP (the max effort you can hold for one hour) which is located between Tempo (zone 3) and Lactate Threshold (zone 4).

The beauty of this figure is that it allows you to recover quicker than from a traditional hard threshold session thus meaning you can train more frequently.

A good sweet spot session of just over one hour can give you the same benefit as a three-hour road session.  Making it a great time-efficient workout and a must in your training plan.

Although there are some great benefits and gains to be made by training at this intensity, it is only one part of the jigsaw and needs to be incorporated into a comprehensive training plan.

The amount of sweet spot that you need to incorporate into your training plan depends on what type of rider you currently are and where you would like to improve. If, for example, you are aiming to compete at road racing events which include lots of short explosive efforts then sweet spot training should be used but limited, however, if you are aiming for longer time trials then sweet spot training is exactly the type of training you need to do.

If you are unsure or would like some help with your training plans then contact me to see how I can help.

An example of a typical sweet spot training session…

2 x 20min efforts

A popular session for working on FTP is a 2×20 session with consists of two 20-minute efforts, either side of ten minutes recovery.

The 20-minute efforts should be at 100% of your FTP.  Ideally using a power meter if not then using heart rate but remember there will be a lag as your heart responds to the effort.

The session

Warm-up for 20 minutes, riding at zone two (endurance) with a few efforts of around 45 seconds where you increase cadence to around 120rpm. The idea is to open up your lungs but not fatigue your leg muscles.

Ride for 20 minutes at FTP power, Ten minutes recovery (zone one) then another 20min at FTP. If using a heart rate then aim to build it up to your threshold rate after around 8mins.

Warm down for ten minutes (zone one).

James Walsgrove

My cycling career started in 2005 when I purchased my first road bike and I was immediately hooked. Since then I have completed numerous cycling challenges including Ironman, Lands’ End to John O Groats, Mt Ventoux (all 3 ascents), London to Paris, the BBAR challenge which included a 12hour TimeTrial and more recently the Mallorca 312.