Novice Cycling / 4DP Weakness: Sustained Efforts / Designed for Strength Training
Plan Length: 12 Weeks
This training plan was designed by APEX Coaching for athletes and enthusiasts who:
* Have taken the 4DP Full Frontal test and have uncovered a sustained power weakness in their 4DP profile
* Are new to cycling or choosing their first structured training plan.
* Have trained fewer than an average of 7 hours/week in the previous ~3 months.
* Only have 3-6 hours/week they can dedicate to training over the course of the next ~3 months.
* Want to incorporate The Sufferfest Strength Training Programme into their plan.
* Have a nascent yet burning desire to CRUSH their goals by putting in a maximum amount of effort in a minimum amount of time.
This plan includes a mix of indoor and outdoor workouts (which can be done indoors if the weather isn't playing along). The plan builds fitness progressively through blocks of high intensity followed by periods of recovery and reduced intensity.
This plan is designed to suit the time-crunched athlete, with weekday workouts under 60 minutes and longer weekend rides. Note: the average weekly training hours listed do not include the optional yoga and mental training plans you may wish to add to your schedule (more details available when you apply a plan to your account).
The plan finishes on a high note, with the last week bringing you fit and fresh into the dreaded Full Frontal. After finishing this plan, you can begin a more advanced plan straight away.
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Note: These plans are designed to be used with The Sufferfest Training System. You will need to download and install The Sufferfest for iOS, macOS or Windows to access the workouts associated with these plans. To get started:
- Go to https://thesufferfest.com/pages/get-started and download the app for your device.
- Create your account to start your free 7-day trial.
- Use promo code SURGE30 to get 30 days free or $12.99 off your annual subscription.
For questions about The Sufferfest please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sample Week of Training
Below is a week of training from this plan which represents the type of workouts you will be doing.
Bike - Fight Club
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
The Fight Club is scrappy, messy and unpredictable. Like a real bike race, you're working hard to stay with the leaders while fending off attacks and doing your best to make the race by attacking as well. With significant time spent at power well above your threshold, this is a solid session to improve AC. The fact that all those surges take place during sustained efforts right around threshold makes this one of the most difficult (yet beneficial) workouts in the Sufferfest Library. Repeated surges followed by sustained riding near your threshold stress your body's ability to clear metabolites (like lactate) and your mental ability to "deal" with the extreme discomfort all those metabolites cause. You're going to come out of this one a bit battered, but a lot stronger for it.
Other - Week 2
Bike - NoVid: Cadence Builds and Holds **After Strength**
This workout is another excellent addition to our "Drills" series. Over the next 45 minutes, you will complete four 30-second cadence builds, and six 60-second high cadence holds. This workout places a considerable demand on your Neuromuscular System, as your muscles are forced to contract and relax as quickly as possible. At the same time, the shorter recovery period between these drills will keep your heart rate, and breathing rate elevated, giving you a great cardiovascular workload.
Let's breakdown the two drills you will be doing.
Cadence Builds: The name of the game here is absolute peak cadence, not peak power. To achieve this, you need to be in a small gear and have very light resistance. Starting at 90-RPM, steadily increase your cadence until you reach your absolute max without about 5-seconds left, and hold that to the end. Your limiting factor on these efforts needs to be leg speed. If resistance/power output is your limiting factor, try starting in an easier gear, or shift into an easier gear 15-seconds in. Bouncing in the saddle is okay for this drill.
Cadence Holds: These efforts require you to maintain the highest cadence you can without starting to bounce in the saddle. For some of you that will be 100-RPM, for others, it will be 150-RPM. The key is to settle into YOUR peak sustainable cadence. Like the Builds, the goal here is not high power, so these efforts are limited to 90% of FTP. Do not be surprised if your heart rate is well into Zone 4 by the time you hit the last few holds.
To properly execute this session, your effort between drills needs to be low. With limited recovery time between these maximal Neuromuscular Efforts, riding above Zone 1 between efforts will only reduce your ability to max out your cadence. While the power targets between are Zone 1, do not be surprised if your heart rate does not drop below Zone 2 after the first couple builds.
* Improved muscle recruitment and firing patterns
* Improved muscle coordination at higher cadences
* Deliver a high Neuromuscular and Cardiovascular load while minimizing the power demands placed on your muscles
* Help you develop a silky smooth pedal stroke
Bike - NoVid: Recovery Spin
Don’t be afraid of the Two Rs: rest and recovery.
Believe it or not, you get faster when your
body is taking it easy after all that suffering.
A recovery spin is a very low intensity ride, so easy that you’d feel embarrassed to ride so slow if you didn’t know you were helping your body
get much faster.
A good recovery spin is done at a cadence above 90 RPM. While keeping power below 50% of FTP, or and RPE less than 2.5, and keeping your heart rate in Zone 1 the entire time.
Recovery spins can be done outdoors, but due to the low power demands, they are often easier done on the trainer
Resist the voice of
your inner Sufferlandrian telling you to go faster.
Bike - Standing Starts **Before Strength**
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
Standing starts closely simulate a lifting session on the bike because it requires the engagement of your core, upper and lower body. Standing starts will train your ability to generate force through the pedals by forcing you to recruit all of your musculature. No matter your prefered discipline, these efforts are key to teaching your body to recruit all of the muscle fibers in your legs. The saying "Use it or Lose it" actually does apply here. All of the benefit in this session comes from hitting these 20 seconds effort as hard as you possibly can. To do that, you need full recovery between each sprint, and you need to respect that recovery! These efforts should see you start at super low RPMs with very high torque, as the effort continues your cadence will naturally increase. Your goal is to get your cadence as high as possible by the end of each 20 second effort. To maximize your muscle recruitment you want to both push down and pull up on the pedals at the start. Proper core engagement is a must, your legs need a good strong backboard to push against. We understand that not everyone's trainer has the necessary resistance, or the required stability, to perform this workout as described. For stability issues you can get much of the same benefit by doing these efforts seated. If your trainer can't handle the rapid change in speed, or does not have high enough resistance at super a super low cadence then you can start the efforts are a higher cadence and simply treat them as "normal" all out sprints.
This is a session that can be done indoors or outdoors. If done outdoors, come to a slow roll in your largest Chain Ring and your 3rd or 4th smallest cog on your rear cassette. Complete the same set of 4 x 20sec maximal start efforts, with 6-8 minutes of easy spinning between.
Bike - Getting Away With It **Reduced Intensity 85%**
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
Wouldn't it be great if you could just leave work to go for a ride? Even for an hour? Well, now's your chance. Getting Away With It gets you out of the office and onto the roads of the French Pyrenees with your guide Michael Cotty of The Col Collective. This is a great session to add toward the end of a training block. The shorter duration, sub-threshold efforts are fantastic for getting some extra FTP building while you are in a fatigued state. Extra emphasis on cadence stresses your nervous system, making your body more efficient at both higher and lower RPMs while improving your form. The neuromuscular training you get from this session is fantastic, so while your power never exceeds threshold, your body will learn to bring more energy to the pedals at all intensities.
Bike - Defender
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
Neuromuscular Power (NM - 5 second): ✭✩✩✩✩
Anaerobic Capacity (AC - 1 minute): ✭✩✩✩✩
Maximal Aerobic Power (MAP- 5 minute): ✭✭✩✩✩
Functional Threshold Power (FTP - 20 minute): ✭✭✭✭✭
You've got the leader's jersey, but then disaster strikes: A crash, an injury and you're forced to defend your position until the end of the race. Can you hang on under a barrage of attacks? Based around four, ten-minute efforts around threshold, Defender is designed to give you the most bang for your buck, or in this case, the most Watts at FTP for your Suffering. There are both psychological as well as physiological benefits to this tremendous workout. Mentally, Defender will improve your sense of pacing for longer efforts near FTP. That is because each effort starts out above FTP, and since you're fresh you'll feel as though you can hold that pace all day. Every two minutes, the pace gradually declines so you are finishing just below FTP. As the time ticks away, the power targets will drop little by little, but your discomfort will remain about the same. By the fourth effort, you'll be find the same efforts far more difficult than in the first. Bystaying tuned-in to what your body is telling you, you'll learn more about how to manage your efforts around threshold and why it's so important to manage your efforts well at this intensity. The physiological benefits follow the same lines as those found in Who Dares, or Fight Club. Overloading your legs and lungs with efforts above FTP before settling into efforts right at or right below FTP forces your body to clear out as many metabolites as possible and process as much oxygen as it can. What sets Defender apart is how that overload is delivered. While Who Dares achieves this with short sprints, Defender forces you to spend minutes above FTP before simmering back down. This allows your heart rate and breathing rate to get much closer to what they are during a long steady state threshold effort. This ensures that "overload" comes in as a steady drip, rather than the sudden burst like that in Who Dares. The lower intensity of this overload also changes the types of metabolites produced and the ratios they occur in. Not only does this keep the enzymes in your body focused on aerobic metabolism, your body will also respond with fewer stress hormones. This means you're training your aerobic system by overloading it, but doing so in a way that leaves you more ready to hit tomorrow's training just as hard.