Mountain bike training plans. Mountain bike coaching.

Start Training

Power Based Training Levels

This power level and heart rate zone calculator computes your functional threshold power, power training levels and heart rate zones from 20 minute test results. The table below describes the power levels in detail as originally developed by Dr. Andrew Coggan.

Level

Name

Functional Threshold Power

Perceived Exertion

Description

1

Active Recovery

<55%

<2

“Easy spinning” or “light pedal pressure”, i.e., very low level exercise, too low in and of itself to induce significant physiological adaptations. Minimal sensation of leg effort/fatigue. Requires no concentration to maintain pace, and continuous conversation possible. Typically used for active recovery after strenuous training days (or races), between interval efforts, or for socializing.

2

Endurance

56-75%

2-3

“All day” pace, or classic long slow distance (LSD) training. Sensation of leg effort/fatigue generally low, but may rise periodically to higher levels (e.g., when climbing). Concentration generally required to maintain effort only at highest end of range and/or during longer training sessions. Breathing is more regular than at level 1, but continuous conversation still possible. Frequent (daily) training sessions of moderate duration (e.g., 2 h) at level 2 possible (provided dietary carbohydrate intake is adequate), but complete recovery from very long workouts may take more than 24 hs.

3

Tempo

76-90%

3-4

Typical intensity of fartlek workout, ‘spirited’ group ride, or briskly moving paceline. More frequent/greater sensation of leg effort/fatigue than at level 2. Requires concentration to maintain alone, especially at upper end of range, to prevent effort from falling back to level 2. Breathing deeper and more rhythmic than level 2, such that any conversation must be somewhat halting, but not as difficult as at level 4. Recovery from level 3 training sessions more difficult than after level 2 workouts, but consecutive days of level 3 training still possible if duration is not excessive and dietary carbohydrate intake is adequate.

4

Lactate Threshold

91-105%

4-5

Just below to just above TT effort, taking into account duration, current fitness, environmental conditions, etc. Essentially continuous sensation of moderate or even greater leg effort/fatigue. Continuous conversation difficult at best, due to depth/frequency of breathing. Effort sufficiently high that sustained exercise at this level is mentally very taxing – therefore typically performed in training as multiple ‘repeats’, ‘modules’, or ‘blocks’ of 10-30 min duration. Consecutive days of training at level 4 possible, but such workouts generally only performed when sufficiently rested/recovered from prior training so as to be able to maintain intensity.

5

VO2 Max

106-120%

6-7

Typical intensity of longer (3-8 min) intervals intended to increase VO2max. Strong to severe sensations of leg effort/fatigue, such that completion of more than 30-40 min total training time is difficult at best. Conversation not possible due to often ‘ragged’ breathing. Should generally be attempted only when adequately recovered from prior training – consecutive days of level 5 work not necessarily desirable even if possible.

6

Anaerobic Capacity

>121%

>7

Short (30 s to 3 min), high intensity intervals designed to increase anaerobic capacity. Heart rate generally not useful as guide to intensity due to non-steady-state nature of effort. Severe sensation of leg effort/fatigue, and conversation impossible. Consecutive days of extended level 6 training usually not attempted.

7

Neuromuscular
Power

N/A

*
(Maximal)

Very short, very high intensity efforts (e.g., jumps, standing starts, short sprints) that generally place greater stress on musculoskeletal rather than metabolic systems. Power useful as guide, but only in reference to prior similar efforts, not TT pace.

 

  • Thanks to Dr A.Coggan for development of this power based training table.
Power Based Training Levels was last modified: May 20th, 2014 by Lynda

  2 comments for “Power Based Training Levels

  1. January 4, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    so I have been reading up on power meters and they are really expensive! I saw on another thread that you did not like the iBike, but I cannot find any others that transfer between bikes. What do you recommend??

  2. Dave
    Dave
    January 11, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Hi Christine,

    When looking at power meters for the MTB it is especially important that it measures the forces that create power. The iBike estimates power based on speed, wind and grade – but it does not measure the actual forces that make power. Those happen at the pedals, crank, hub and chain.

    We’ve had good success with the Stages and Power Tap brands in the dirt. The Stages comes as a crankarm and the Power Tap is a hub.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *