Advanced Cycling / 4DP Weakness: Repeated 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 fitness test and have uncovered a repeated efforts weakness in their 4DP profile.
* Have previous experience with structured training plan or have been riding consistently for more than 2 years.
* Have trained more than an average of 10 hours/week in the previous ~3 months.
* Have up to 12 hours/week they can dedicate to training (but often less) over the course of the next ~3 months.
* Have a burning desire to CRUSH their goals by putting in a maximum amount of effort in a minimum amount of time.
* Want to incorporate The Sufferfest Strength Training Programme into their schedule.
This plan is designed to suit the time-crunched athlete, with the majority of 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:
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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.
Other - Week 1
Bike - The Tool Shed
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
- NM: ✭✭✭✩✩
- AC: ✭✭✭✭✩
- MAP: ✭✭✭✭✭
- FTP: ✭✭✭✭✩
*Because you're not the sharpest tool in the shed.* Simply put, this is a session for those looking to see how deep they can truly dig - or for those who think they might need to update their 4DP metrics (If you finish this session with minimal swearing and without stopping it's time to re-test). You might be looking at the profile and say to yourself, ""Only doing the 2nd set from the Shovel sounds like cheating. You would be right. That's why we would never do something as crazy as letting you start the 2nd set from The Shovel Fresh. Instead, you get to be the Nail for the first 3 efforts from Nine Hammers. Once you've done that and wrapped up that second set from the Shovel, all that stands between you and that massive pit of exhaustion and GLORY are 2 more Hammers. Did we mention they were Hammers 8 and 9? No? Good, good. Forget we said anything. Just pretend you have 3 Hammers and 1 Shovel to contend with. Those last 2 hammers are ""Future You's"" problem - let that chump deal with that nightmare. When looking at ""will this make me faster"" the answer is YES (and, at least in the short term, quite miserable). The Shovel packs a massive AC punch, with inverse-micro intervals that dish out ever higher the power the shorter the interval. While 9 Hammers packs a huge MAP/FTP punch, it also helps drive up your sustained power regardless of what your rider type or weakness are. Facing the first 3 Hammers gives your Aerobic (MAP/FTP) system a hefty load to deal with, and will just about fully deplete your AC stores. Which makes this the perfect time to start the 2nd set from the Shovel. With depleted reserves, starting with the short 5 second sprints ensure you are just fresh enough to push your NM system, but fatigued enough that your AC never fully recovers for the duration of these intervals. With your AC depleted, heart rate pegged and breathing rate through the roof, the last thing you WANT is the final 2 Hammers. This isn't about what you want though, but what you need. By the time you start this set of Hammers your top end power will be feeling completely drained, any ""snap"" you might usually rely on to make it through these 3-4 minute efforts will be long gone. That means you are facing down the final 2 Hammers relying solely on your MAP and FTP. The higher your FTP the faster you will recover, the higher your MAP the greater the punishment you can handle. Once you pick yourself up off the floor from Hammers 8 and 9, you will have pushed your body to its absolute limits across almost every 4DP Metric, which will send you down the path to be a faster and more badass Sufferlandrian. "
Bike - NoVid: Cadence Drills **After Strength**
This workout combines several technique driven intervals. These will improve your overall form and efficiency on the bike. The first two drills, Cadence Holds and Builds, are designed to improve the way you recruit your leg, glute and core muscles throughout your pedal stroke. They do this by forcing you to sustain a cadence just above 'comfortable' and by pushing you to your maximal cadence.
The last drill, Single Leg Efforts, ask you to unclip one leg and ride at a steady, single-legged effort. This forces you to pull up on the pedal instead of just pushing down and ensures maximal muscle awareness and engagement. This workout is best done while riding indoors on a trainer because even small variations in terrain can affect your ability to properly execute this workout. The majority of this workout is done in heart rate Z1/2 /// 50-75% of threshold /// RPE 2-5. You should keep the effort level below threshold (heart rate Z4, 100% of threshold, RPE 7-8) during the max cadence efforts.
* To improve stillness and stability at high cadences.
* To improve muscle fiber engagement for improved efficiency at all cadences.
* To increase maximum cadence.
* To make that pedal stroke as smooth as butter.
Bike - The Hunted **Reduced Intensity 70%**
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
This session doesn't have the longest sustained intervals, it doesn't have the shortest recovery times, it doesn't have the hardest surges, but what it does have is an unrelenting pace. There is very little "recovery" at all in this session, so you never get a chance to really catch your breath or give your legs a break. The Hunted lacks any true recovery like you get in some other FTP-focused workouts, meaning your anaerobic energy systems never really get replenished. This means they can't help much with power production. This, in turn, makes the repeated efforts above threshold near the end of this session much harder than they might feel in another workout where you get to recover fully. The unrelenting nature of this session makes it great for really working on building your sustained aerobic power, just what you need to increase your FTP.
Bike - Half is Easy
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
For too long, perhaps, we have shrugged off questions about whether The Sufferfest videos were too hard as Couchlandrians attempted to sway public opinion toward a life devoid of HONOUR, GLORY and VICTORY. But it's gone on too long - and we had to respond. So, over a bottle of Real Pagne, legendary Directeur Sportif Grunter von Agony had a quiet word with a man named Ian Field. Ian, you may know, is an elite coach with Dig Deep Coaching and a four-time British National Cyclocross National Champion. After an evil laugh that lingered, he provided us with a workout he uses to perform at the highest levels of the Cyclocross World Cup. 'Don't worry,' said Ian. 'The Couchlandrians will enjoy half of it.' This is a fantastic session for improving AC. The short, high intensity efforts with equally short recoveries stresses your body's ability to recover quickly. In fact, the recoveries are short enough that you never really get a "full recovery" during a set. This means your MAP is developed in the latter half of both sets as fatigue sets in. It's also worth mentioning that because of the short durations, you do tap into your NM at the start of each effort.
Bike - NoVid: Cadence Builds and Holds **After Strength**
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
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 - To Get To The Other Side
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
While you might think the only way to improve your FTP is to ride at, or above, your existing FTP, that isn't always the case. You body can only handle so much time above FTP in any given week (or month for that matter). But that doesn't mean you should just sit around doing nothing the rest of the time. Your body is most efficient at clearing out lactate and other metabolic byproducts at 80-95% of FTP. This is one of the few sessions where you can consistently sit at that intensity and let your body churn away at this nice efficient effort level. It's the ideal workout to end a hard, three-day block or to add in during a rest week. It will give your body a little training stimulus while still allowing it to recover from whatever tortures you've recently put it through.
Bike - Endurance +
5 minutes @ RPE 2 -- 45% of FTP -- HR <70%
Number of Sets
Rest Between Sets
Interval Repeats per Set
1 Interval Steady: 1 hour 55 minutes @ RPE 3.5 -- 55-65% of FTP -- HR <85%
2 minutes @ RPE 2 -- 45% of FTP -- HR <70%
Steady Endurance/Base ride. Power should remain between 55-70% of FTP the entire time. Aim to keep between 75-85% of LTHR This is a ride that can be out doors OR indoors If done inside, you can play OPEN 60/OPEN 30 and adjust the intensity to 64-81% Another option is to select any Video of a similar length, ignore the power targets (meaning running slope mode for those with smart trainers) holding power between 55-70% of FTP and only following the Cadence and Stand/Sit prompts in the video