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Coggan's sweet spot chart

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Dr. Coggan....is this chart telling me that I will see greater training effect for increasing FTP if I ride at 85-95% of my FTP rather than at 100%? ...what is the physiological reason for this?

Thanx

http://www.twowheelblogs.com/2-old-2...our-sweet-spot
post #2 of 21

Re: Coggan's sweet spot chart

Quote:
Originally Posted by TiMan
what is the physiological reason for this?
It's possible to spend significantly more time in the "sweet spot" than you can spend riding at your FT.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

Re: Coggan's sweet spot chart

Quote:
Originally Posted by whoawhoa
It's possible to spend significantly more time in the "sweet spot" than you can spend riding at your FT.

With that logic would you be willing to say that perhaps 2 hours at 85%(L3) is better then an hour at 100%?
I don't think so based on my experience.
post #4 of 21

Re: Coggan's sweet spot chart

Quote:
Originally Posted by TiMan
Dr. Coggan....is this chart telling me that I will see greater training effect for increasing FTP if I ride at 85-95% of my FTP rather than at 100%? ...what is the physiological reason for this?

Thanx

http://www.twowheelblogs.com/2-old-2...our-sweet-spot
Let me start by saying that the notion of a "sweet spot" is just a subjective impression that I (and many others before me, e.g., Lydiard) have formed. It's therefore difficult to pin things down with exact numbers, and the chart to which you linked is really just my attempt to conceptually relate the idea to the training levels (instead of, say, VO2max). IOW, don't take it too literally (esp. since that's somebody else's modification of my original - rather lame! - "artist's rendering".)

Having said all of the above, I do believe that there tends to be a "sweet spot" with respect to training intensity, which if push came-to-shove I'd say lies between the level 2/level 3 border and functional threshold power (i.e., between 76 and 100% of functional threshold power). Below the lower end of that range, the training stimulus simply isn't as great, whereas above the upper end of that range, either you simply can't do as much total work or the nature of the adaptations themselves begin to change. In between lies a bit of a "sweet spot", in which the combination of volume and intensity appears to be maximized, leading to the greatest adaptation.

So to directly answer your question: no, I don't believe that you should necessarily be training at 85-95% vs. 100% of functional threshold power. However, I do believe that, in general, you're better off not pushing too much above 100%, as that may excessively limit the total amount of training that you can do, and thus the overall benefit obtained.

Final caveat: no matter how much "sweet spot" training you do, at some point you will end up bumping up against your own personal ceiling with respect to how high you can raise your functional threshold power (right, Rick? ). At that point you really have no choice but to crank up the intensity, in hopes of eking a small additional gain even though there might not be much of one to be had. So, I also view the choice of training intensity in the context of one's overall plan/progress...
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

Re: Coggan's sweet spot chart

Quote:
Originally Posted by acoggan
Let me start by saying that the notion of a "sweet spot" is just a subjective impression that I (and many others before me, e.g., Lydiard) have formed. It's therefore difficult to pin things down with exact numbers, and the chart to which you linked is really just my attempt to conceptually relate the idea to the training levels (instead of, say, VO2max). IOW, don't take it too literally (esp. since that's somebody else's modification of my original - rather lame! - "artist's rendering".)

Having said all of the above, I do believe that there tends to be a "sweet spot" with respect to training intensity, which if push came-to-shove I'd say lies between the level 2/level 3 border and functional threshold power (i.e., between 76 and 100% of functional threshold power). Below the lower end of that range, the training stimulus simply isn't as great, whereas above the upper end of that range, either you simply can't do as much total work or the nature of the adaptations themselves begin to change. In between lies a bit of a "sweet spot", in which the combination of volume and intensity appears to be maximized, leading to the greatest adaptation.

So to directly answer your question: no, I don't believe that you should necessarily be training at 85-95% vs. 100% of functional threshold power. However, I do believe that, in general, you're better off not pushing too much above 100%, as that may excessively limit the total amount of training that you can do, and thus the overall benefit obtained.

Final caveat: no matter how much "sweet spot" training you do, at some point you will end up bumping up against your own personal ceiling with respect to how high you can raise your functional threshold power (right, Rick? ). At that point you really have no choice but to crank up the intensity, in hopes of eking a small additional gain even though there might not be much of one to be had. So, I also view the choice of training intensity in the context of one's overall plan/progress...

Good reply and thanx!
post #6 of 21

Re: Coggan's sweet spot chart

Quote:
Originally Posted by acoggan
Let me start by saying that the notion of a "sweet spot" is just a subjective impression that I (and many others before me, e.g., Lydiard) have formed. It's therefore difficult to pin things down with exact numbers, and the chart to which you linked is really just my attempt to conceptually relate the idea to the training levels (instead of, say, VO2max). IOW, don't take it too literally (esp. since that's somebody else's modification of my original - rather lame! - "artist's rendering".)

Having said all of the above, I do believe that there tends to be a "sweet spot" with respect to training intensity, which if push came-to-shove I'd say lies between the level 2/level 3 border and functional threshold power (i.e., between 76 and 100% of functional threshold power). Below the lower end of that range, the training stimulus simply isn't as great, whereas above the upper end of that range, either you simply can't do as much total work or the nature of the adaptations themselves begin to change. In between lies a bit of a "sweet spot", in which the combination of volume and intensity appears to be maximized, leading to the greatest adaptation.

So to directly answer your question: no, I don't believe that you should necessarily be training at 85-95% vs. 100% of functional threshold power. However, I do believe that, in general, you're better off not pushing too much above 100%, as that may excessively limit the total amount of training that you can do, and thus the overall benefit obtained.

Final caveat: no matter how much "sweet spot" training you do, at some point you will end up bumping up against your own personal ceiling with respect to how high you can raise your functional threshold power (right, Rick? ). At that point you really have no choice but to crank up the intensity, in hopes of eking a small additional gain even though there might not be much of one to be had. So, I also view the choice of training intensity in the context of one's overall plan/progress...
very nice post. I have nothing but good things to say about SST ...

But yes - keep going to the well and eventually she'll be dry - at least until rainy season
post #7 of 21

Re: Coggan's sweet spot chart

Quote:
Originally Posted by acoggan
Final caveat: no matter how much "sweet spot" training you do, at some point you will end up bumping up against your own personal ceiling with respect to how high you can raise your functional threshold power (right, Rick? ). At that point you really have no choice but to crank up the intensity, in hopes of eking a small additional gain even though there might not be much of one to be had. So, I also view the choice of training intensity in the context of one's overall plan/progress...
I found this paragraph the most interesting, and I hope you don't mind elaborating on it some. Is there a physiological reason that you would expect to hit a plateau on l3/low l4 yet be able to gain more FTP with high l4 training? Is it related to FTP, e.g., if you've pushed CTL as high as you feasibly can with sst training, then the only way to improve further is to gradually add intensity while trying to keep CTL the same?
post #8 of 21

Re: Coggan's sweet spot chart

In reality, I really don't think one can just ride at l4 if your route has hills and gusty winds. All of my high tempo workout I find myself pushing at my FT and up for more than 30 minutes over 2 hours+ session.


Quote:
Originally Posted by whoawhoa
I found this paragraph the most interesting, and I hope you don't mind elaborating on it some. Is there a physiological reason that you would expect to hit a plateau on l3/low l4 yet be able to gain more FTP with high l4 training? Is it related to FTP, e.g., if you've pushed CTL as high as you feasibly can with sst training, then the only way to improve further is to gradually add intensity while trying to keep CTL the same?
post #9 of 21

Re: Coggan's sweet spot chart

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmur17
very nice post. I have nothing but good things to say about SST ...

But yes - keep going to the well and eventually she'll be dry - at least until rainy season
Rick, do you mind sharing how the composition of your training changes in the last months before a peak/goal after a long period of SST?
post #10 of 21

Re: Coggan's sweet spot chart

Quote:
Originally Posted by whoawhoa
Is there a physiological reason that you would expect to hit a plateau on l3/low l4 yet be able to gain more FTP with high l4 training?
All I could do is speculate.
post #11 of 21

Re: Coggan's sweet spot chart

Quote:
Originally Posted by whoawhoa
I found this paragraph the most interesting, and I hope you don't mind elaborating on it some. Is there a physiological reason that you would expect to hit a plateau on l3/low l4 yet be able to gain more FTP with high l4 training? Is it related to FTP, e.g., if you've pushed CTL as high as you feasibly can with sst training, then the only way to improve further is to gradually add intensity while trying to keep CTL the same?
What I took that to mean is that after some point the ceiling becomes Vo2Max, i.e. you have trained FT to the point that your limitation is Vo2Max and gains in FT would require higher than L4 intensity to raise Vo2Max or "bump up the ceiling".
post #12 of 21

Re: Coggan's sweet spot chart

Quote:
Originally Posted by acoggan
Let me start by saying that the notion of a "sweet spot" is just a subjective impression that I (and many others before me, e.g., Lydiard) have formed. It's therefore difficult to pin things down with exact numbers, and the chart to which you linked is really just my attempt to conceptually relate the idea to the training levels (instead of, say, VO2max). IOW, don't take it too literally (esp. since that's somebody else's modification of my original - rather lame! - "artist's rendering".)
Please forgive my ignorance, but the curves shown really confuse me.
Surely the Maximum Duration (volume) curve should be concave and not convex as shown?
post #13 of 21

Re: Coggan's sweet spot chart

Quote:
Originally Posted by dome
Please forgive my ignorance, but the curves shown really confuse me.
Surely the Maximum Duration (volume) curve should be concave and not convex as shown?
I think I see the source of your confusion: you're used to seeing power plotted as the dependent (Y) variable, with time as the independent (X) variable, in which case the curve is concave. However, the "sweet spot" chart has power on the X axis and time on the Y axis, which reverses things - flip the chart around, and I'm sure it will look much more familiar.
post #14 of 21

Re: Coggan's sweet spot chart

Quote:
Originally Posted by acoggan
I think I see the source of your confusion: you're used to seeing power plotted as the dependent (Y) variable, with time as the independent (X) variable, in which case the curve is concave. However, the "sweet spot" chart has power on the X axis and time on the Y axis, which reverses things - flip the chart around, and I'm sure it will look much more familiar.
Thank you, I tried that, but to get the power increasing upward on the Y, and time increasing to the right on the X, I have to rotate the page and look at it from the back (mirror image). I then have the same setup as a normal Power Duration Curve, but the curve is still convex instead of concave?
post #15 of 21

Re: Coggan's sweet spot chart

Quote:
Originally Posted by acoggan
All I could do is speculate.
informed speculation is always interesting ...
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