6 week adaption?


New Member
Oct 23, 2004
I read regularly that there's a 6 week adaption period for any training. Can someone just expand on this a little?

For example, if I'm doing regular training, then suddenly have a big week with lots of extra work, will I suddenly see a "kick" in 6 weeks - but not much benefit inside that period? Further, if it's true that it takes 6 weeks for any real benefits to kick in, why not more or less stop training for the last 6 weeks before an event?

I realise that this is maybe a bit of an odd query, but I have an irregular life with work/family/travel etc., and am trying to navigate through it with a little more targeted riding time.

Any feedback/comments appreciated. Thanks.



Well-Known Member
Oct 3, 2006
Six weeks is a typical physiological adaptation period for reasonable and progressive workloads. Not really the same as your example of a single big loading week.

Think of it more as 6 weeks being a rough guide to how long it will take the body to adapt 90% of the way or more to a new typically higher training load given that the load isn't excessive and you take care of things like nutrition and rest.

It doesn't really apply to going out and doubling or tripling your workload and intensity to the point that you break yourself (probably couldn't sustain that for 6 weeks anyway). Nor does it really apply to a single big week and then returning to normal loads.

Basically it puts a time course on the idea that your body adapts to training loads slightly beyond your current capabilities. No additional stress, no reason to adapt - too much sudden increase in stress and soreness, fatigue and poor recovery will hinder adaptation. But raise the bar in small increments and work at that slightly higher level and you'd expect to adapt most of the way (it's modeled as an exponential curve so theoretically you never quite get there) in six weeks or more.

Among other things it tells us to vary our training and generally increase intensity, overall load or both every month or so during build cycles so that we never quite reach the carrot.



New Member
Aug 17, 2004
I've had 6 week cycles with no improvements and 6 weeks with great improvements followed by a two week hatred of cycling that cut the improvements in half. Perfection is some where inbetween:)

Similar threads