Best Threshold Workouts For Cyclists
If you’re looking to take your cycling performance to the next level, incorporating threshold workouts into your training routine is a game-changer. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting on your two-wheeled journey, threshold training can significantly improve your endurance, power, and overall cycling abilities. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the world of threshold workouts and explore the best ones to help you reach new heights in your cycling journey.
Why Are Threshold Workouts Important?
Before we jump into the best threshold workouts, let’s understand why they are essential for cyclists. The threshold is the intensity level just below your lactate threshold, the point at which lactic acid begins to accumulate in your muscles faster than your body can clear it. Training at this intensity helps improve your body’s ability to tolerate and clear lactic acid, allowing you to sustain higher effort levels for longer durations.
Several studies have shown that threshold training can lead to significant improvements in cycling performance. It increases your lactate threshold, VO2 max, and overall aerobic capacity, making you a more efficient and powerful cyclist. By pushing your body at this intensity, you train your muscles and cardiovascular system to perform better, translating into faster speeds and improved race times.
How Many Threshold Workouts Should You Do a Week?
When it comes to the frequency of threshold workouts, it’s essential to strike a balance between training intensity and recovery. The exact number of threshold workouts you should do in a week depends on your fitness level, training goals, and how well you recover between sessions.
For most cyclists, incorporating one to two threshold workouts per week is ideal. These workouts can be interspersed with easier recovery rides and more intense interval sessions. Remember that quality is essential, so ensure you are giving your best effort during your threshold workouts and allowing sufficient time for recovery afterward.
Best Threshold Workouts For Cyclists
1. Sweet Spot Intervals: Sweet spot intervals are a popular and effective form of threshold training. They are performed at an intensity just below your lactate threshold, typically around 88-93% of your FTP (Functional Threshold Power). These intervals are challenging but sustainable for longer durations, making them perfect for building endurance.
To do sweet spot intervals, start with a warm-up, and then ride at your sweet spot intensity for 10-20 minutes. Take a short recovery break, and repeat the effort for several sets. These intervals can be done on the road or using a smart trainer if you prefer indoor cycling.
2. Over-Under Intervals: Over-under intervals are a fantastic way to simulate race-day efforts and improve your ability to handle surges and changes in pace. These intervals alternate between efforts just above and below your lactate threshold.
For example, ride at 105-110% of your FTP for 2-3 minutes, followed by a 1-2 minute recovery at 85-90% of your FTP. Repeat this pattern for several sets. Over-under intervals help improve your anaerobic capacity while still building endurance.
3. Threshold Hill Repeats: Hill repeats at threshold intensity are an excellent way to work on your climbing abilities and build strength. Find a steady climb that takes you around 4-8 minutes to ascend. Ride up the hill at your threshold intensity and recover on the descent. Repeat this for 3-6 sets, depending on the length and difficulty of the climb.
4. Tempo Rides: Tempo rides are another valuable form of threshold training. They are done at a slightly lower intensity than sweet spot intervals, typically around 76-90% of your FTP. Tempo rides are sustainable for extended periods and help improve your aerobic capacity and endurance.
During a tempo ride, aim to maintain a steady effort for 30-60 minutes. These rides are excellent for longer endurance training and are a great way to build mental toughness.
Tips for Effective Threshold Training
As you embark on your threshold training journey, here are some valuable tips to ensure you get the most out of your workouts and stay on track:
1.Warm-Up Properly: Before diving into your threshold intervals, make sure to warm up adequately. A good warm-up gets your muscles ready for the intense efforts ahead and helps prevent injuries. Start with some easy pedaling, gradually increasing your effort, and include a few short bursts of higher intensity to get your heart rate up.
2. Stay Consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to improving your cycling performance. Stick to your training plan and make threshold workouts a regular part of your routine. As you progress, you can increase the duration or intensity of your intervals gradually.
3. Monitor Progress: Keep track of your threshold training progress by recording your results and noting how you feel during and after each session. This will help you gauge your improvements and adjust your training as needed.
4. Recover Wisely: Recovery is essential for allowing your body to adapt and grow stronger. After intense threshold workouts, be sure to give yourself time to recover adequately. Incorporate rest days and lighter rides to help your muscles recover and reduce the risk of overtraining.
5. Fuel and Hydrate: Proper nutrition and hydration are crucial for supporting your body during threshold workouts. Make sure to fuel up before longer sessions and replenish your energy stores afterward. Stay hydrated throughout your rides to maintain optimal performance.
Listen to Your Body
As you push yourself during threshold training, it’s crucial to pay attention to your body’s signals. If you feel excessively fatigued or notice any persistent pain or discomfort, don’t hesitate to take an extra rest day or lighten the intensity of your training.
Incorporate active recovery activities like gentle stretching, foam rolling, or yoga to enhance your recovery process. These practices can help reduce muscle soreness and improve flexibility, keeping your body primed for your next threshold session.
Incorporating threshold workouts into your cycling training routine can yield significant improvements in your performance. By training at this intensity, you enhance your body’s ability to handle higher efforts, making you a more efficient and powerful cyclist.
Remember to start gradually, especially if you are new to threshold training. As with any training program, listen to your body and allow sufficient time for recovery between workouts. And most importantly, have fun and enjoy the process of pushing your limits and becoming a stronger cyclist.
So, there you have it – the best threshold workouts for cyclists to take your cycling game to new heights. Whether you’re training for a race or looking to improve your fitness, these threshold workouts will undoubtedly help you achieve your cycling goals. Happy riding, and may the road lead you to new horizons and accomplishments on your bike!