Bill Black's HOP

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by Felt_Rider, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    I must be a sick puppy because I am getting excited about fall and winter training indoors. I primarily train indoors year round anyway, but like getting that odd craving for pizza I now have this fixation on HOP. HOP works out great for my weeknight schedule since I am usually limited to about 60 minutes, not counting warm up and cool down.

    I am still a good bit away from getting to that point of doing what was listed as 60 minutes @ 90% FT with a 30 second surge to 115 to 120% of FT every 2 to 3 minutes based on an older article.

    Right now I am still struggling to do a full indoor 60 minute 91% effort on the e-Motion rollers as it is. Last night on 3 x 20's L4 (91 to 95% FT typically) the last set I tried surging every 2 minutes just to see how things would feel. Between the surges my intensity dropped to about 85% FT. Sure the legs were already reaching point of fatigue, but it sure felt pretty awesome. Cannot imagine at this point doing a full hour of this, but that is my goal to hit a few months from now.

    The best I could tell skimming through various web pages and forums that this was something to plan for every 10 days in the schedule. Is this too taxing to do every 7 days for the more advanced? I am far from advanced, but I just wondered why 10 days was suggested and I assume that recovery becomes an issue being that all other training is adding to that load as well.

    I don't race and don't intend to race. I just like training and this seems like a good dose of torture. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
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  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    That's not an impossible workout, but it's very close to a full hour at 100%FTP. As to how frequently you could do such a ride, it's really only about 100 TSS points per ride, so it shouldn't be necessary to even take a day off between rides. FWIW, I do a variety of such rides to break up the monotony of an hour at a constant power. I have everything from 5mins on/off down to 6secs on + 24secs off programmed into my CT, although I rarely program them to come in at more than 91%FTP.
     
  3. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    HOPs or microintervals in all their various forms are great if you want to hit both sustained metabolic power AND the ability to repeatedly accelerate (neuromuscular) and a bit of anaerobic tolerance in the same session. Really good stuff to prep for dynamic riding that puts an emphasis on frequent accelerations to cover gaps, come out of corners, respond to field surges, etc. Also pretty good for breaking up the monotony of iso-power indoor training as something is changing every few minutes so there's not much time to get bored.

    But there are many, if not infinite forms of sustained microinterval work. Bill's classic HOP work as you've described it is awesome but it is on the harder side of things as you've pointed out and just mentally it's probably best not to try those too often or you risk getting into workout dread and skipping sessions rather than doing good solid work. IOW, it's a bit like chasing records in every 2x20 session, fun for a while but can easily lead to training burnout and it isn't really necessary to set new records every time you train when good solid 90-95% of FTP still provides plenty of training stimulus.

    So in terms of microinterval work, consider variations on the theme and chase the real hard stuff from time to time but do solid but not record setting versions on a more regular basis. You can basically play with three things: base pacing, burst frequency, and burst duration and to a lesser extent burst intensity but for short bursts there's not much time to consciously pace and it ends up being whatever you can rally to do on a repeated basis. So some workouts I use a lot are things like:

    - 'Tempo with a twist': where the rider sets a base pace in the mid to high Tempo range and then bursts quickly every two minutes for a very short leg speed focused in the saddle sprint. Starting out we'll usually target 6 second bursts with huge emphasis on quickness and leg speed not grinding up to higher power and often not shifting but really whipping the legs up to speed quickly. Then the goal is to get back to base pace as quickly as possible after each burst. These emphasize on demand muscle recruitment, rapid accelerations, and recovery in motion between bursts. Over time we tend to stretch the bursts to 10 or 15 seconds but always emphasizing the acceleration and quickness aspect. These usually end up with an NP in the SST to low L4 range depending on how you do them and are typically sustained anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or more. They're not too tough mentally and can be done fairly often.

    - Classic longer burst HOP work as Bill describes but again you can vary the base pace to make them work as well as the duration of the bursts

    - Over/Under style work with blocks above and below target power (typically above and below FTP) but that average to the target power for the effort. So if targeting 250 watts average it might be two minutes at 270 followed by two minutes at 230 sustained for the overall duration or something along those lines.

    - Lot's of games to play like doing the first ten bursts at say 10 seconds, then the next ten stretched to 15 seconds, then bump them up and so on until the final bursts in a microinterval set are long and brutal or do them pyramid style where you ramp up the burst duration and then ramp the bursts back down in length but keep the frequency the same, keep the base pace the same and try to keep the quality of each burst very high whether long or short.


    Bottom line, tons of ways to craft interesting and useful dynamic indoor workouts. If you want to actually complete them then the AP and NP for the sessions needs to be within the rider's capabilities and how difficult the workout will be from a recovery or even mental perspective is pretty closely related to session AP/NP. So in the case of classic 30 second bursts with a base pace of 91% FTP you're looking at a very challenging workout with NP near FTP for a full hour. Don't do that variety too often or at least any more often than you might try to do a full hour right at your FTP, that's very hard work and a good path to burnout.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  4. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Great responses guys. I appreciate it greatly.

    I was thinking like RDO posted that on the surface it does not add up to a lot of TSS point for the one session, but there had to be a reason that Bill made a statement of every 10 days and I believe he was speaking to more advanced level cyclists where I wanted to find out the true nature of BB's HOP.

    Based on what you mention Dave it reminds me of a follow up study I read a couple years ago concerning Tabatas stating that the study group did progress in much the same manner of the original Tabata study group, but when they continued to train in that manner there was a sharp decline in performance because most of the group could not sustain that training load. There was mention of burnout and overuse injuries. I wish I had bookmarked that study because it was a very good academic paper on high intensity training.

    As you guys mention I could work my way up to BB's described HOP by doing some variations. I would like to get to a point where I could do a day of those every now and then and I am pretty confident I cannot at the moment. At least not indoors and at least not until a few more months when I can get the room temperature below 75 degree F.

    Thanks
     
  5. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    I found a good discussion on HOP at a different forum. Here was a quote from the man himself.

    After reading several pages of the discussion most responses were about how hard HOP is. I noticed Alex chiming in stating that he did the surges at 15 seconds instead of 30. If one were reading between the lines it seemed as if several did it once to say they did it, but no one really mentioned doing these on a regular basis.

    RDO, I just have to keep in mind that you have that incredible ability to hit it hard and recover well. I can't use you as a model to follow. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  6. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I realize that I have perhaps an unusually high capacity for training stress and can do hard days back to back. My main point in my post about the TSS points was that from a pure training stress perspective the ride you described is only about 100 TSS points and should not cause any more or less need for recovery. If you look at your ride files, I'm sure you have many back to back 100TSS days. This should not be any different, especially since the ride script doesn't call for anything that should overly stress your muscles. If the ride script called for shorter surges at max power (e.g., 5sec L7s), I would change my opinion on the need for a recovery day not because of the total training stress (TSS) but rather because of the muscular stress.
     
  7. numminummi

    numminummi New Member

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    I would guess that HOP workouts are somewhat more specific to road racing than evenly paced intervals - but also that they might not give the same gains in FTP. So, what do you think the ratio between steady state intervals and HOP-type workouts should be throughout the base/build?
     
  8. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    No doubt they're more specific to dynamic riding situations whether that's road racing, MTB riding, cyclocross or even draft legal tris but I'm not sure about your second thought. There's really not a lot of evidence for or against a dynamic interval that yields the same AP or even NP as a similar duration iso-power interval. Really hard to say which, if either, leads to better FTP progress and I expect the difference is subtle at best as long as the 'off' periods of a microinterval set are neither too easy nor too long. If you're riding at least high Tempo/SST during the base pace portions and certainly if you're riding at low L4 for your base pacing there's little reason to believe the microinterval work won't do at least as good a job at building FTP as an iso-power effort sustained for the same duration.

    In terms of when or how much to use in your base/build period there's basically two main reasons to do microinterval work which is to introduce dynamics and recovery from dynamic riding or to make indoor workouts more interesting than just plugging away at constant power. In the first case they make more sense as the race season draws near and especially for someone prepping for more dynamic racing like punchy flattish road races, crits or cyclocross. But in terms of making indoor workouts more interesting and thus more tolerable they can be done at any time during your base build, perhaps done a bit easier with a Tempo/SST base pace and shorter accelerations than you might during a race prep period but they can still be done as part of base building.

    Basically microinterval work is just one more tool in your workout toolkit. They're not magic but they can be used to work on specific things like the ability to repeatedly accelerate while somewhat fatigued and recover at a relatively high pace or they can be used to break up the monotony of indoor training. So use them when you want but tailor them to fit the kind of training you're trying to do during a given period of your training year and be realistic about keeping them at a reasonable intensity for what you're trying to accomplish or it's easy to overdose on them just like it's easy to overdose on chasing 20 minute or 5 minute records during all of your training.

    -Dave
     
  9. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    3 points of why I would like to try them.

    1. Get the experience
    2. Exactly how it is when I join my group. Typically 70 to 80 miles of sprinting every hill they encounter.
    3. I have become accustomed to the steady pace day after day, but adding a little excitement now and then would be nice.

    As mentioned before I don't think I could make it through a set at this time, but I hope I can by this winter.
     
  10. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Thanks

    After what happened today I think this may be a worthy goal to work toward.
     
  11. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    As you described the ride, I don't think it's the surges that make the ride difficult. Rather, it's the fact that the ride is at nearly 100%FTP for the hour. If you had larger gaps between the surges or you reduced the power in the gaps between surges, you would decrease the NP for the hour. I think you would find the ride much more manageable at 90%-95%FTP versus nearly 100%FTP. A full hour at 100%FTP is difficult whether it's at a constant power or variable power. And, it's not obvious that the training value is worth the cost.
     
  12. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    This thought of doing HOP came up because I started back doing some group rides from many months of training either solo or riding with just one or two others, but always with my steady cadence and keeping with in certain training levels.

    I had a real good dose of surges yesterday in a group ride. I think it was a timely lesson and really helped me tune in to this topic on a personal level. It just happened that the spot that I had in a pace line rotation was in front of best guy in the group. Every time I finished my pull and went to the back, he surged hard, the group responded and of course my response was tough because each of these moments I had just finished a pull and no time to really recover before the surge. This happened over and over until I finally dropped off the back at about 50 miles of a 67 mile course. There was nothing I could do except watch them ride off. That is just the way it goes in this type of ride. Survive or get dropped. I am cool with that.

    I will probably incorporate some surge type moments with my standard training, but there is no doubt what I really need is to raise the ceiling of my FTP. So I will continue to train to improve my FTP in the manner you guys have stated as the primary focus. Then throw in some surge type moments once a week at a much less duration than a full hour of official HOP.

    It seems to be true that the surge is not the hardest part, but those milliseconds after the surge when the intensity eases up that seems to be the toughest moment physically and the toughest moment of survivability. If one can hold on just a few second longer after that and keep spinning through that awkward and discomforting feeling then recovery sets in and once again one has survived the surge. Or at least that is what I was observing.

    Bottom line is that I need a better engine. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  13. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    What's going on in your group rides is that each surge is anaerobic and your anaerobic work capacity is made up of two parts. The larger part has a short recovery half-life (e.g., 30s), so you are fully recovering that part before the next surge. The second and smaller part has a much longer recovery half-life and you are not recovering that part during the ride. So, repeated surges gradually reduce your original AWC until the point at which you can't respond. If you look at your ride file, I doubt that your cumulative NP at the time you were dropped was something outside your capacity. Rather, I'm guessing the reason you were dropped was the cumulative anaerobic work. Doing some anaerobic work (L5/L6) will increase your AWC and should not diminish your FTP as long as you maintain a large dose of SST/L4 work. BTW, the pattern you describe in your group rides is the classic pattern of getting dropped in a race. And, it's what I counsel strong riders to break up the field. I tell them not to sweat it if most of the other riders stay with you on the first few surges. Just keep throwing in efforts that cause them to go anaerobic and eventually they'll crack.
     
  14. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Okay and thanks....that makes sense for the AWC.
    I think that has been the toughest part on my limited schedule.
    The L4 work is more important to me than the group ride. I am content with training solo or getting dropped and then training solo. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  15. cheetahmk7

    cheetahmk7 Well-Known Member

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    If you were in the same situation during a handicap race, you'd just miss a turn or two and join back in the paceline between two smoother riders.
     
  16. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    cheetah, out of 6 of us I noticed that one of the guys did avoid the front at least during the time I was with the group. From what I was told he was the first one into the parking lot to go along with what you are stating. RDO, was dead on with his description and if I removed all the match burning moments that I had it would have really been a super easy ride. My TSS for the ride was only 200. The total AP was only 109 and the NP was 147. When I had nothing left to stay with the group I really dropped back on intensity to keep my TSS down so I could train on Sunday. Had I attempted keep going with the group I believe I would have dug myself a deeper recovery hole and ruined it for Sunday. But Sunday I took it easy with a 100 TSS effort so I can do L4 intervals for the next 4 days.

    _________________

    So as a summary to BB's HOP and whether it would help I think I once again see the light.......maybe. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    • Train FTP with straight up standard L4/SST.
    • Train AWC with straight up L5 intervals.
    • Surging briefly in and out of 120% FT is not going to improve AWC.
    • Improve the FTP ceiling and one is less likely to burn matches as often. (since I have a lower FTP it doesn't take much to burn a match)


    Most of you guys that have a FTP of 280+ you would have been yawning instead of burning matches like I was. You would have not even noticed the surges. My FTP is so low that I believe that I need to just keep my focus on that aspect.
     
  17. flapsupcleanup

    flapsupcleanup New Member

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    Actually, I rather like the HOP. I do it every couple of weeks during the winter on my Computrainer. I have the workout programmed in so I either complete it or stop pedaling. I like the fact that you have to recover from each little burst at a substantial power level which mimics a lot of my rides.

    Having said that, the thing is brutal! At about 40 minutes in I have to find some special mental places to keep going. The HOP may be an even bigger benefit mentally than physically.
     
  18. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    When I first started looking into this topic and why I put Bill's name specifically on the topic heading because I realized there are variations and ideas about HOP, but the original outline of BB's HOP as discussed elsewhere I saw one common response and was like yours, it is brutal from what I saw others write.

    Do you schedule HOP like you would the FTP test where it is after a rest day or two?
     
  19. flapsupcleanup

    flapsupcleanup New Member

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    I've attempted it both fresh and not so fresh... I can generally get through it fresh, but sometimes if I haven't rested well, I have to take a couple of breathers (30 sec or so) in the last 20 minutes. I'm good with it either way. YMMV though
     
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