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One-Hour Workout: FTP-Expander Bike Intervals

This killer workout uses changes in pace to increase your threshold on the bike.

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This killer workout uses changes in pace to increase your threshold on the bike.

This week’s workout comes from Michael Gallagher, head coach of Rogue Tri Performance in southern Oregon. Gallagher is an Ironman competitor and is USAT, USMS (Level 2), ASCA (Level 2) and ACE (personal trainer and sports conditioning) certified.

The idea behind this week’s set is to increase your Functional Threshold Power, or FTP. FTP is basically the average power you can hold for an hour of cycling. While there are lab tests that generate these numbers exactly, most people do a simple, guided FTP test lasting roughly 20 minutes to generate their “normalized” FTP—a number that can be an effective training guideline and help create benchmarks to show progress throughout the season. For more info, check out our basic FTP primer.

“This workout helps with increasing your body’s ability to tolerate surges at higher intensities and develop the ability to utilize lactic acid which will help your performance, all while keeping your riding slightly below FTP,” Gallagher says. “By doing these intervals you will increase your FTP over time.”

Regardless of whether you train with power or not, this week’s workout is meant to increase your ability to sustain a tough effort over a longer period of time—which helps with your bike leg or your ability to run faster, fresher off the bike. If you don’t have a power meter or don’t have your FTP data, do the below workout with heart rate zones or rate of perceived exertion (RPE) on a scale of 1-10.

This workout is best done either after or at the tail-end of the base phase and is a fantastic way to break through a training “plateau” that often occurs when constantly training at similar intensities. Though best done on an indoor trainer for the sake of consistency, a traffic/stoplight-free loop works just as well.

RELATED: A Complete Look at Everything That Goes Into Mirinda Carfrae’s FTP Bike Test

One-Hour Workout: FTP-Expander Bike Intervals

Warm-up:
10 minutes riding Zone 1 (EZ)

Main Set:

3 x
(
1 x 2 minutes @ 95% FTP (Zone 3-4; RPE: 7/10)
1 x 1 minute @ 105%+ FTP (Zone 4-5; RPE: 8/10)
1 x 2 minutes @ 95% FTP (Zone 3-4; RPE: 7/10)
1 x 1 minute @ 105%+ FTP (Zone 4-5; RPE: 8/10)
1 x 2 minutes @ 95% FTP (Zone 3-4; RPE: 7/10)
)

4-minute recovery between rounds @ 50 – 60% FTP (Zone 2; RPE: 3/10)

Cool-down:

10 minutes riding Zone 1 (EZ)

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