Advanced VO2 Max Training Plan (Three Weeks)

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Advanced VO2 Max Training Plan (Three Weeks)


Big Development Coaching

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3 Weeks

Typical Week

4 Bike

Longest Workout

1:22 hrs

Plan Specs

cycling road cycling intermediate advanced masters weightloss multi day power based

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After building a solid functional base of fitness you need to challenge your body in different ways to stimulate adaptations. These VO2 max workouts will push your body well beyond your comfort zone, leading to big adaptations and big changes in your fitness and speed on the bike.

This 3 week VO2 max training program contains twelve different workouts that will push your VO2 max to new heights and hopefully pull your FTP up with it.

Raising the ceiling on your fitness is important to ensure continued growth and improvement in your cycling fitness.

These workouts increase in intensity over a period of 3 weeks. Be under no illusion; this is a very difficult plan for the most dedicated of athletes who are willing to dig deep and give everything they have to improve.

I am happy to answer any questions via email and can provide advice on nutrition, methodologies, terminology and lessons learned from my own personal experiences.

This training plan is Zwift and TrainerRoad compatible.


Training Load By Week
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 03:56

Big Development Coaching

Big Development Coaching

I offer personalised and customised training plans based on the fundamental principles of exercise physiology so you can train smarter, accelerate progress and peak at exactly the right moment.

My training plans include power-duration testing and block periodisation / progressive overload that have been intelligently designed, with shorter sessions mid-week and longer endurance work on the weekend to provide structure, consistency and allow time for your friends, family and career.

Sample Day 1

The Famous 40/20's

During the intense 40-seconds of work, you will be close to or at your lactate threshold, i.e. the point at which your muscles begin producing lactate as a byproduct of anaerobic respiration.

We want to teach your body to utilise and clear lactate as quickly as possible, which is why you’ll want to take short rests after each interval. During the 20-seconds of active recovery/rest, your heart rate will drop, which clears the lactate and allows you to make another effort. Over time, your body will become efficient at clearing lactate, and you will be able to hold a faster pace for a longer period of time

Sample Day 3

30/30 Long and Short

The 30/30 intervals will prepare your body for the sustained VO2 max effort to follow.

You'll start with a six-minute block of 30 seconds at 115% FTP followed by 30 seconds of rest. Rest is anything from easy pedalling (the first time you do these workouts you'll want to just spin easy) to tempo pace (as you get more comfortable with the intervals and want to tax your body a little more). The science dictates that approximately 65% FTP is most efficient power for lactate clearance. Following the last 30 second rest, launch directly into a 3 minute VO2 max interval with an intensity around 110% of your FTP and hold it the best you can and the peloton watches you become smaller and smaller as you ride off into the distance.

Take 7 minutes rest and go again.

Sample Day 5

VO2 & Anaerobic Capacity

In order to go fast, you'll need to be able ride at your VO2 max pace and also your anaerobic capacity, increasing these abilities so that you'll be ready to dish out the pain come race day.

Warm-up is followed by 3 minutes VO2 max and then 2 minutes anaerobic capacity with 2 minutes recovery between each. Repeat 3 more times for a great workout! Cool down. This session is very difficult.

Sample Day 6

30/30 Race Winners

30 seconds is not long enough for your body to develop a high blood lactate concentration, which has the effect of decreasing power output by increasing the concentration of hydrogen ions and therefore acidity in the working muscles. Instead, the 30 seconds is just long enough for the for you to accelerate up to a high speed, hold it for 15–20 seconds, and then decelerate into the rest. The cardiac demand stays relatively high with only around a 5 to 10 bpm decrease during the rest interval. As far as your heart is concerned, you’re working quite continuously at or near your VO2max.

The 30-second recovery interval allows the myoglobin in the muscle cell to recharge its small oxygen store. This in turn allows a higher power output—and better engagement of fast twitch muscle fibres—for the next 30-second work bout. Fast twitch fibres have poor endurance and will fatigue during longer work repetitions; the short repeats with equal rest intervals provide them with a greater endurance training effect.

Perception-wise, athletes report leaving a 30/30 interval workout feeling invigorated and not overly wiped out. This is often in stark contrast to sensations after finishing a more traditional VO2max interval workout with long-duration repeats. For that reason, I use these sessions quite frequently and see fantastic results.

Start with a block of 6 minutes of 30 seconds all out / 30 seconds rest. Take 2 minutes rest then launch into a race winner. What's a “race winner”? It simulates attacking a field and breaking away. Start off by sprinting all out for 10 seconds, then ride 20 seconds at 150% FTP, followed by 3 minutes at 115% FTP. Sprint as hard as you still can for the last 10 seconds of the interval. You're looking at 3:30 of pure VO2 max beatdown. Rest for 7 minutes and then do it all over again.

Sample Day 8

Five From Hell

If you're struggling with handling changes in pace during the end of a race or ride, this workout will help you out. It's designed to force you to be explosive when tired and recover in between hard efforts.

This workout is a variation of the traditional “Tabata Type” workout. In this case, the work intervals are expanding and the rest intervals are contracting. It creates a different kind of challenge to your body: you'll have to fight to handle longer work intervals and your body will be stressed in recovering during those short recoveries.

After a nice long ramped warm-up, you'll jump into interval mode. You'll do 3 blocks of 5 minutes. Each block will start with 50 seconds of rest and 10 seconds of work, progressing into 10 seconds of recovery and 50 seconds of work. You'll recover fully before doing it again and again.

Sample Day 10

7 x 3 Minutes at 115% FTP

This workout is designed to improve your VO2 max power, so you are ready for hard steep climbs and the big watts needed to attack in the hills. This workout has longer recoveries in order to focus on the maximum power produced for each interval. Really drill it on each.

Sample Day 12

VO2 Max Development

Training to develop our VO2 max requires high intensity intervals where the majority (but not all) of the power produced comes from aerobic energy pathways.

Athletes who excel in this area are generally able to climb and time trial well. On its own, VO2 max interval training is an effective method to increase fitness. It also serves as a good indication of an athlete's potential.

This workout is designed to improve your VO2 max power, so you are ready for hard steep climbs and the big watts needed to attack those hills.

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