Want to become a stronger cyclist on all types of terrain? Then give this workout a try.

For my latest installment of Workout Wednesday powered by BioAstin, I share this demanding bike session that is perfect for athletes training for all triathlon distances.

This is a perfect session if you have limited time.  It’s a high quality race pace workout that delivers more bang for your buck than any long, slow spin with your buddies.

Perform this workout once per week leading up to your “A” race.  Then, 2 weeks prior to your event, scale back from three sets to two sets; in the final week, perform just one set.

If you haven’t had an LT or FTP test — or if you don’t use a power meter — you can still do this workout by using your perceived effort and pace for a 1-hour time trial or Olympic race distance (40 km).

The goal of the session is to maintain your functional threshold power (FTP) or lactate threshold (LT) pace throughout all 3 blocks. Beware: the sets becomes very demanding, particularly when you drop to a lower (or easier) gear!

The gear RPM ranges should be as follows:

Low Gear (LG) seated = 98-104 rpms

Time Trial Gear (TTG) seated = 88-94 rpms

TTG standing = 72-78 rpms

Big Gear (BG) seated = 78-84 rpms

BG standing = 64-70 rpms

For an advanced athlete, these cadence ranges should bring you close to your FTP pace. For intermediate athletes, the output will be nearer your aerobic pace.

I like having my athletes do this workout and focus on variable gearing because it enhances muscle recruitment.  Also the subtle gear changes in the seated and standing positions maximize quad, gluteal and calf strength. With practice, riding in different gearing will expand your repertoire of potential gear choices during your race and ultimately make you a stronger rider over varied terrain.

Super Threshold Cycling Session

Warm Up

12 min, including 4x 20 sec pickups in LG

Rest Interval 40 sec

Main Set

3 blocks

1st Block: 4x 5 min, RI 2 min within the 5 min segment. Do 1 min in LG + 3 min in TTG + 1 min BG standing. Cruise 8 min after each block.

2nd Block: 6x 2.5 min, RI 2.5 min. Odd repeats are 30 sec standing in TTG and 30 sec seated in LG. Even repeats are all TTG with final 30 sec standing.

3rd Block: 9 min with an equal split of LG, BG and TTG and include a total of 45 sec standing. Here’s how it breaks down: Within the 9 min include 3 min LG with 15 sec standing at the beginning and 30 sec standing at the end of the 3 min,  RI 90 sec between each 3 min block. Same pattern for the BG and TTG. 

Cool Down

Ride 6 min

Total time: 90 min