Cycling: Boost your CP6 and your FTP

Summer is coming. Probably, some of you are riding to prepare nice mountain road races or criteriums and think about training to progress further. Here is an answer element to push strong in the climb.

1- The basis : CP6 !

The course of a season brings the CP6 gradually to relieve itself in favor of your favorite racing pace. 

The High Intensity Training (HIT) is a thankless moment that requires a certain regularity. Two sessions a week for 8 to 10 weeks allow to get closer to the physiological maximum.

This same physiological maximum is influenced by many factors including hereditary elements and volume of Low Slow Distance Training (LSDT): I mean that if you have a CP6 of 350 watts currently after 10 years of cycling, it will be probably difficult to go closer to professional values of 450 watts!

But a well-built training will make it possible to limit the natural fall of VO2 max and thus of CP6.

We could imagine throwing a big CP6 development block in the bin to insert a mini "booster" block over 5 weeks and train other aspects of the physiological work thereafter.

2- Plan your spring :

Traditionally, after a “off”period to regenerate, the cyclist come back on the bike to accumulate a few kilometers and create a massive aerobic basis by favoring the pace close to 80% of FTP. This endurance basis gives the opportunity to the body to resist the accumulation of hard trainings.

Today, cyclists and other top athletes do not hesitate to introduce HIT very quickly despite the lack of kilometers. Of course, the number of repetitions, intensities and recovery times are adapted.

To reach my previous remark, there comes a time when the energetic potential is already well developed and there are only a few hundredths of a percentage of watts to win at the price of exclusive blocks (we only work one quality) very tiring (the risk of over-reaching is real).

Other qualities that allow the steed to break out of a group or win a sprint are temporarily put to sleep.

A sport-scientist, Timo Bakken, has tried to set up a way to effectively boost energy quality, for example the CP6, over a short period of time to:

- have time to stimulate the other qualities of a cyclist,

- do not spend too much time on a factor that is no longer predominant in some athletes,

- vary the workouts.

 3- Shock the body:

Timo Bakken has tested a block of development in cross-country skiers. It is therefore easy to convert his organization for cycling. 

Let's describe this planning: we start a week with only high intensity sessions (greater than 90% CP6), 5 in total.

The next week allows regeneration of the body and begin compensation.

Week 3 has 3 alternating HIT sessions with strict aerobic training.

The last 15 days, despite the weekly HIT training, are aerobic-oriented to allow the body to assimilate the training load again.

During an experimentation, Ronnestadt obtains gains of 3 to 5% with well-trained athletes according. It's rare!!

This is a model for elite athletes so there is no time constraint to train, hence the large number of sessions.

 We could simplify it as follows:

HIT sessions are very short and easy to set up: a home-trainer in the garage or a nice hill and the game is on. In addition, for a spring block with difficult weather conditions, the interest is to don’t spend too much time outdoors. A split session can be done in less than 90'.

 The extra sessions starting from week #2 are only LSDT (<50-60% CP6).

4- HIT and only HIT ?

Despite the hard first week, it is important to respect a principle of training: progressiveness in the training-load, to allow the body to adapt to the stress and progress.

 Bakken's study is very basic about the content of the training sessions. On my side, I can advice you:

 5- Some remarks before starting:

This example is a very violent training organization that requires a strong aerobic basis. Know that at each presented sessions, you will flirt with your maximum of the moment.

The sessions are positioned from the most difficult to the simplest to take into account the fatigue that fits into your legs.

If you ride with a powermeter, remember to validate your CP6  a dozen of days before with a Coggan test CP5-CP20 to have good values ​.

Keep in mind that the percentages advertised do not take into account your recovery capabilities: this is where the training must remain individualized.

Applied research in training gradually revises conventional wisdom about competitive preparation. Here, starting from a cross-country skiing study, we can easily adapt the method to cycling and surprise our body.

Now it's your turn?

Reference of the study: Effects of block periodization training versus traditional training

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