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8-Weeks to Stronger Hill Climbing


Cortney Jacobsen

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8 Weeks

Plan Specs

cycling road cycling intermediate advanced power based tss based strength

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Plan Description

Whether you are preparing for a hilly triathlon, an endurance cycling challenge, or a vacation inspired by the Tour de France, this plan will prepare you for QOM/KOM-worthy climbs. This 8-week plan is intended for the intermediate-to-advanced triathlete or cyclist with an existing aerobic base, to be completed 12-16 weeks before the target event. Each workout includes suggestions for more advanced riders to increase their challenge. This plan is FTP-based, for easy use with VR riding programs (Zwift, TrainerRoad, etc.).

The plan includes two training blocks, which follow the 3-week build + 1-week recovery periodization. Strength workouts, a Dynamic Stretching routine, and video demonstrations are also included.

Please contact Cortney ( with any comments or questions. Would love to hear how you are enjoying this plan.


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
5:21 hrs 3:00 hrs
0:34 hrs 0:20 hrs
—— ——
0:41 hrs 0:45 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
5:21 hrs 3:00 hrs
0:34 hrs 0:20 hrs
—— ——
0:41 hrs 0:45 hrs

Training Load By Week

Cortney Jacobsen

Northwest Energy Lab

Cortney specializes in working with high-achieving business executives who train and race long-course triathlon despite their time-crunched lives. Her 20-year career in high tech product leadership enables her to uniquely connect with her clients' challenge of managing a demanding job while pursuing training and racing goals. She take a top-level view to creating personalized training plans, which considers sleep, stress, mood, and nutrition, as well as training data.

Sample Day 1

Sweet Spot hills : 4 x 6 min (2 min rest)

Your "sweet spot" - technically 88-94% FTP, though nothing is THAT exact - is a great place to work on building your FTP and muscular endurance, without a massive training load. Hate to say it, but if there is a silver bullet workout, this may be it!

Sample Day 2

Aerobic : Easy 6-min Hills

The purpose of this type of workout is to build aerobic capacity, but you'll also be targeting muscular endurance with the low cadence (50-65rpm) and slightly higher-than-normal power for an aerobic effort.

Sample Day 2

Bodyweight Strength Training for Cyclists #1

Equipment needed (optional, for added resistance)
* Dumbbells (5-20lbs)
* Resistance cords OR TRX
* Stability ball

Complete 2 rounds of these 10 exercises.
(~15 min per round)
Rest 15-30" between each exercise.
Rest 2-4 minutes between rounds.

10x body squats (with dumbbells)
10x each leg, single-leg deadlifts
10x each side, cable chop (with resistance cords or TRX)
10x high chest rows (with resistance cords or TRX)
10x, alternating forward lunge (with dumbbells)
10x alternating backward lunge (with dumbbells)
10x push-ups (standard or on knees)
10x back extensions on stability ball OR superman
10x weighted sit-ups (with dumbbells)
2 x 45-sec spiderman plank

Sample Day 4

Force : High cadence and 20-sec Hill sprints #1

This workout has two functions:

(1) ALL OUT sprints in the middle of aerobic riding will help you recruit your fast twitch muscles, which will help you get over crests, pass competitors, and maintain strong efforts for a longer duration, and

(2) High cadence work will help develop the mind-muscle connection, which will improve the efficiency and smoothness of your pedal stroke.

Sample Day 4

Foam-rolling routine

Foam roll for 2 min each:

Right calf, Left calf
Right glute, Left glute
Both quads, Right quad, Left quad

Stretch/poses 1-2 min each:

Hero pose
Downward dog
Right side lunge, Left side lunge
Right front lunge, Left front lunge
Right hip flexor, Left hip flexor
Right hamstring, Left hamstring

Sample Day 6

Long Ride + challenging hills

This ride has 3 sets of challenging hill repeats, each set increases in duration but decreases in intensity. Legs should be burning during these repeats and take the full recovery nice and easy between them to make the hills as strong as possible.

Embrace the hills, live in the pain cave :-) This is building your aerobic capacity, power, and muscular endurance. It is a killer workout that opens a passport to some of the most epic climbs on the planet!

Sample Day 7

Dynamic stretching for cyclists

Standing stretches:
* Quad stretch → Calf → Hamstring. Flow slowly from one stretch to the next. Repeat this sequence 3 times.

Lying stretches:
* 3x's: Child’s pose → On knees, extend one leg behind (calves) → Downward Dog
* 5x each side: Hip flexor → Hamstring

Hold each side for 1-2 min:
* Pigeon
* Lying figure 4
* Sitting crossover
* Spine twists

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