Setting up your power training zones for cycling

In the training process, it’s necessary for all cyclists to know their FTP; and, consequently, their power training zones. This way, the coach will be able to create a training program tailored to the athlete’s needs and capabilities. They’ll also calculate the wattage required, in each zone, for the athlete to get optimal results. Of course, there are measurements, as well as tests, that every athlete can perform, in order to accurately find their FTP. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how an athlete’s power training zones are determined; and the training requirements of each zone.

Power training zones, revealed

In cycling, coaches usually classify power training zones into five, distinguishable parts. And, how exactly do they distinguish them? Simply put, knowing the athlete’s FTP, all a coach has to do is outline the five zones, based on a percentage range of FTP values. To clear things out, let’s go through the zones in more detail:

Zone 1: 1-54% FTP

The first training zone, we mainly use for warming up after a workout, or for transitioning into the recovery phase; more often than not, during recovery, too. This power training zone should be easy for an athlete to execute. Despite its low intensity, the coach includes it into the training to prepare the athlete’s musculoskeletal system for the upcoming workout; which, naturally, is going to be more intense. Also, this zone can help raise the body’s temperature or relax the muscular system after an intense workout.

Zone 2: 55-74% FTP

The second training zone is often used in long-distance rides; meaning, long-duration training that can last four hours — sometimes, more. As for  the RPE required to execute a workout in this zone, it should be easy to moderate for an athlete. The purpose of this zone is to ease musculoskeletal adjustments during long-distance cycling and help increase muscle glycogen storage.

Zone 3: 75-89% FTP

The third power training zone, we commonly apply in long interval workouts; alternatively, in continuous training of shorter duration, but with high intensity. The effort an athlete needs to put into this zone is moderate to vigorous, regarding the level of intensity. Keep in mind that the workout, here, is performed just below the athlete’s threshold.

Zone 4: 90-104% FTP

Typically, we use the fourth training zone in medium and short intervals. To be more specific, in  workouts that require high intensity; and, thus, are difficult to execute. As one would expect, in this zone, there’s an increase in lactic acid in the athlete’s blood.

Zone 5: 105-150% FTP

The fifth power training zone is applied in short intervals and sprint training. As such, the intensity of the workouts in this zone is very high to maximum; and, the level of difficulty is very high, as well. Physiologically speaking, the measurable parameters — regarding the athlete’s HR, blood lactate, VO2, etc. — increase exponentially and can reach maximum levels.

The 7 power training zones model

Take note that there’s another way of separating power training zones. Indeed, it was Dr. Coggan who highlighted seven power training zones, creating the following 7-zones model:

  • 01-55% FTP: Zone 1
  • 56-75% FTP: Zone 2
  • 76-90% FTP: Zone 3
  • 91-105% FTP: Zone 4
  • 106-120% FTP: Zone 5
  • 121-150% FTP: Zone 6
  • 150%+ FTP: Zone 7

Essentially, the division into 7 training zones offers both coaches and athletes the opportunity for further specialization. Especially, in the physiological adaptations which they aim to achieve, during the training process.

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Power up with Endogusto!

So, in this article, we’ve discussed how one sets the power training zones; and, the level of exertion required in each of them. The coach knows exactly in which training zones an athlete should execute their workouts, based on their training plan; to get, of course, the best possible results, according to their needs, skills, and goals. 

Although setting up the training zones for cycling may seem a daunting task at first, it really isn’t; at least, not inasmuch as both the coach and the athlete utilize the capabilities of a comprehensive training platform, like Endogusto. In Endogusto, coaches and athletes have the option to choose a training method, as a team; then, they can easily set the training zones, while customizing other parameters, as well! Luckily, with Endogusto, it is a matter of a few clicks ✌! Are you ready to power up?

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Setting up your power training zones for cycling was last modified: December 10th, 2021 by Marilena Kokkinou