Great to Jump start into the weekend with Hitting up the JUngle and taking on the gravel with four 6.5min efforts up the jungle climb in our happy subthreshold/ sweet spot zone. Happy to have a great crew along with me last friday as we discussed the importance of sweet spot and what it does to help your cycling.
First lets recap what Sweet spot is:
Sweet spot training is efforts that range around 90-95% of your current Functional Threshold Power (FTP) on the bike. You may also like to think of these efforts as “slightly harder” tempo efforts/ sub threshold. It is that intensity between the upper end of zone three and the lower end of zone four. You will see a mix of Green and yellow on your graph on Zwift. These efforts are difficult and require effort and focus, but are manageable for longer periods of time
So why do we Train Sweet spot and why it is so important?
Having the ability to hold this pace for a long period of time will not only increase your ftp, but also increase your overall base and ability to sustain higher power for longer. When training at sweet spot intensity, you are placing your body under sustained stress, but not so much that you can’t hold the efforts for a long duration. These efforts are also repeatable, without inducing high levels of fatigue.
you’re training at a level that hits the sweet spot between intensity and volume.
On a cellular level, training at sweetspot increases your mitochondria density. Your mitochondria are the powerhouse cells of your energy system. they are what create and help you maintain energy.
Mitochondria are small structures found in almost all human cells
Their main job is to perform cellular respiration – taking in nutrients from the cell, breaking them down and turning those nutrients into energy. By increasing your mitochondria density, you’re making your body able to create energy more easily. Through doing sweet spot training, you will feel an increased sense of fitness – in terms of ‘engine size’, threshold and ability to produce energy
What Are the Benefits?
In addition to the physiological adaptations that take place as a result of sweet spot training, there are a number of benefits. Sweetspot offers the most bang for your buck in terms of training. If you’re limited on time, you want to maximise what you do have. It’s quality training and probably one of the most beneficial ways to get fit. Rather than slogging away for hours on base rides as part of your training. sweetspot training produces similar physiological adaptations and training effects from a much shorter session. As a result, you’ll still expect to reap the rewards of getting stronger. Sweetspot has the potential to fast-track your aerobic performance – increasing your Functional Threshold Power at the same time.
Sweet Spot training is effective because it increases your aerobic capacity and muscular endurance, while balancing your ability to do it multiple times per week.
Particularly during sweet spot work, you’ll increase the number of capillaries
That means more tiny blood vessels to deliver blood (oxygen & nutrients) to the muscles.
it's not just mitochondrial density you increase but that capillary increase that again leads to a higher aerobic performance. You’ll also strengthen your heart, improve fat metabolism, and increase muscular endurance. All of these adaptations blend to achieve a shared outcome. You get oxygen extraction at the muscle. The more oxygen muscles can utilize, the more work it can do aerobically.
As a result, you can produce more power without going into the red, meaning again a higher FTP.
so yes! there is a method to the four efforts on Friday. its for the good. and if you think of it, the feeling of accomplishment after is incredible right?
So yes, Training here is really good for adaptation and gaining strength. TO that, this coming Friday sessions will be awesome as we again work in this sweet spot area.
One of my most favorite quotes to take away from friday...
"Think Yourself Strong"
Don't forget that training in this area also builds your mental strength tool box and allows you to mentally optimise best to handle time in sweet spot better and better each time.
Keep your eye out as I will announce the goodness for next Friday's Smash Sesh. make sure you sign up for the week to get added in (if you are on weekly subscriptions *month subscriptions will get added automatically) and as always spread the work and bring your friends as its ALWAYS better together! Hope to see you there!