Physiological Benefits of Sweet Spot Training

The physiological benefits of sweet spot training are illustrated in the table below:

As you can see, there are more x's in the sweet spot column than there are in zone 2 and tempo columns for several key physiological adaptations** that are fundamental to endurance cycling performance. Therefore, athletes accomplish more with one hour of sweet spot training than they do with one hour of zone 2 training.

Sweet Spot Training produces more benefits than lower intensity aerobic training 6 physiological ways:

Increased Plasma Volume

Increased Mitochondrial Enzymes

Increased Lactate Threshold

Increased muscle glycogen stores

Increased Stroke Volume

Increased VO2 Max

Listen to our Physiological Benefits of Sweet Spot Training Podcast:

The proportion of sweet spot training to stimulate those 6 physiological benefits above to the rest of your training hours is described in a "How Much Sweet Spot Should Your Do" training tip and podcast

That's why¬†a well design aerobic endurance building training plan has plenty of zone 2 in addition to sweet spot (see example training calendarūüĎá ) This is the Pyramidal Training Approach as opposed to the Polarized Approach. And why Sweet Spot versus Polarized is a false debate as Coach Christian discussed in his August 2021 podcast.

 A 2 week training plan example with both sweet spot and zone 2 (and tempo in the middle): 

In this 2-week training plan example the athlete rides sweet spot 2 - 3 times per week and zone 2 twice weekly at the end of a workout block when they are tired.  This is what we call fatigue dependent training plan design.

Incorporate sweet spot training into your base training to build a bigger aerobic engine that's capable of generating higher threshold power.  Build a big base for 12-16 weeks but don't forget to do your intervals after!  That's what we call Switching From Base to Race. 

Read more about sweet spot training:

Sweet Spot Training - the original, 2005

Sweet Spot part Deux: How to Sweet Spot 2008

How Much Sweet Spot Should You Do, 2014

How to Sweet Spot on a Group Ride, Jan 2017

Sweet Spot Training Plan Design, June 2020

Copyright 2022, FasCat Coaching

Frank Overton is the owner, founder and head coach at FasCat Coaching, a cycling coaching company in Boulder, CO. To talk with Frank or a FasCat Coach about sweet spot and fatigue dependent training plan design fill out a New Athlete Questionnaire to set up a Coaching Consultation. Additionally, check out the Sweet Spot Plans starting at $49 that Frank designed!

About Frank Overton

Frank founded FasCat Coaching in 2002 and has been a full time cycling coach since 2004. His educational background includes a Masters degree in Physiology from North Carolina State University, pre-med from Hampden-Sydney College. Frank raced at a professional level on the road and mountain bike and currently competes as a "masters" level gravel and cyclocrosser. Professionally Frank comes from medical school spinal cord research and molecular biotechnology. However, to this day it is a dream come true for Frank to be able to help cyclists as a coach.

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