1. What are Cycling Zones?
Are created for athletes base on power or heart rate and describe a specific level of intensity. Duration should be customized for everyone individually.
2. Cycling Heart Rate Zones
Cycling Heart rate zones are not based on 220 – age rule anymore. Thanks to people like Joe Friel we have much more precise methods for setting up training zones. The best way is to set up zones base on your Functional Threshold Heart Rate or Functional Threshold Power. Those methods describing your “form” in the best way. Below you can find a table with the zone’s ranges and time of typical intervals or continues training in each of them.
I got great pleasure to meet Joe Friel in person and learn more about cycling training zones.
Cycling Heart Rate Zones
1 - Recovery: 0 - [item-117_price]
2 - Endurance: [item-118_price] - [item-119_price]
3 - Tempo: [item-120_price] - [item-121_price]
4 - Sweet Spot: [item-122_price] - [item-123_price]
5 - Threshold: [item-124_price] - [item-125_price]
6 - VO2 max: [item-126_price] - [item-127_price]
7 - Anaerobic Capacity: [item-128_price] - [item-129_price]
8 - Anaerobic Capacity: Max
3. Cycling Power Zones
The best investment for every cyclist is Power Meter. Swimmers or runners don’t have the possibility to be as precise as a cyclist can be with the power meter and power zones. It was total “game changer” in cycling training, I strongly recommended the article about Functional Threshold Power (FTP)how to rest it and increase it for those of you who want to dig deeper into setting their own FTP. Below you can find ranges of power zones.
1 - Recovery: 0 - [item-100_price]
2 - Endurance: [item-101_price] - [item-102_price]
3 - Tempo: [item-103_price] - [item-104_price]
4 - Sweet Spot: [item-105_price] - [item-106_price]
5 - Threshold: [item-107_price] - [item-108_price]
6 - VO2 max: [item-109_price] - [item-110_price]
7 - Anaerobic: [item-111_price] - [item-112_price]
8 - Neuromuscular Power: [item-113_price] - >
4. Cycling Zones Description
Intensity: < 81% of your FTHR, < 55% of your FTP. Duration: 30 – 90 min.
“Easiest” zone, workout at this zone, we could colloquially call “coffee ride”. The main goal is to recover your body after hard efforts like intervals, increase blood flow in your legs to let oxygen “clean” your muscle from fatigue. Workout in this zone should be done at least once a week.
• Zone 2 – Endurance
Intensity: 82% – 88% of your FTHR, 56% – 75% of your FTP. Duration: 60 – 300 min.
The relatively easy zone where you increase your aerobic capacity and learn your body to use fats like a source of energy. You should be spending time in this zone but remember to move to zone 1 if you need recovery or to zone 3 if you need to get ready for racing and group rides. Workouts time in this zone can get up to 6 hours.
• Zone 3 – Tempo
Intensity: 89% – 93% of your FTHR, 76% – 90% of your FTP. Duration: 60 – 120 min.
This zone is very good preparation for racing and more intensive intervals like sweet spots and threshold workouts. It is necessary to spend time in this zone during the Base period.
• Zone 4 – Sweet Spot
Intensity: 94% – 97% of your FTHR, 91% – 97% of your FTP. Duration: 20 – 60 min.
Sweet Spot zone is a very good place to be to increase your FTP, get ready for time trials and long climbs. Do at least 6-8 sweet spot workouts before moving to the next zone.
• Zone 5 – Threshold
Intensity: 98% – 102% of your FTHR, 98% – 105% of your FTP. Duration: 8 – 20 min.
Most important zone with zone 4 where we “push” our Functional Threshold Power and you are going over it to prepare our body to really high-intensity workouts.
• Zone 6 – VO2 Max
Intensity: 103% – 105% of your FTHR, 106% – 120% of your FTP. Duration: 3 – 8 min.
The very hard zone where you can’t stay longer than a few minutes in the row. Very good for shorter uphills or long finishes. Intervals up to 8 minutes.
• Zone 7 – Anaerobic
Intensity: 106% – 110% of your FTHR, 121% – 150% of your FTP. Duration: 30 sec. – 3 min.
Your ability for long finishes, short uphills. Hard to breathe.
• Zone 8 – Neuromuscular Power
Intensity: N/A – N/A of your FTHR, 151% – Max of your FTP. Duration: 8 sec. – 12 sec.
In this zone, you can spend only about 8-12 sec. It takes about 2-3 min. to recover. The most important part of intervals in this zone is to go as hard as possible for about 8-12 sec. and then go as easy as possible for about 2-3 min. Zone 8 improves your maximum power, very useful at finishes and short fast accelerations.