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Joe Friel

NoHillsNearby - Yes, not having hills and trying to do this indoors is not quite as effective. You can also just do it into a head wind in a big gear. Not quite as good but better than nothing.


Hi Joe,

In the same line as Mikkel's question: I am a novice cyclist too and considering I have to loop base 3 as much as possible, which is the best way to tapper for a race?

This is what I have in mind but not sure if it is correct :
race (only a race week without any peak weeks before?)


Joe Friel

Alex--I apologize but I don't understand the question. What does 'loop base 3' mean? And I don't understand why you want to do base 3 before a race. Sorry for the confusion on my part.


Hi Joe,

Sorry for the confusion. I asked this question because I got confused by the following question and your answer:

Mikkel's question
I know you recommend concentrating on Base periods for your first couple of years, but how would I structure them? Would I go Base 1 - Base 1 - Base 2 - Base 2, etc. where I repeat each base or do I go through all three Base periods and then repeat, starting over at Base 1?

Your answer:
Mikkel--Once you build up to base 3 just stay there.

So basically, my question is: should I skip the build phase when I am still a novice?

Joe Friel

Alex--If you are a novice I'd suggest omitting the build period.


Thanks Joe. In that case, should I plan to have only the race week after build 3 or should I also peak and then race?

Joe Friel



Hi Joe,

I was very excited to do this force rep on the bike because I have no access to do strength training in the gym. I'm now at Base 2 and doing force rep for the first time. I just did the force rep on the bike just now!

Problem is, my Keo Polar power pedal will not record power readings if my cadence goes below 30 rpm. I would want to enter the TSS into my training peaks calendar because it just doesn't makes sense if I choose not to correct the TSS score into into trainingpeaks calendar when my thighs are feeling the ache now!

I want a more corrected TSS to be reflected into my performance chart so that I have a sense of and idea how stressed my body is this week.

I got a score of 11 for TSS and 0.26 for IF for a 1hr 35mins session. The power meter only records the power during the recovery when I was at power zone 1 or less(less than 100W, just spinning). I did 3 sets of 3*6 maximal pedals per leg with recoveries in between as stated by you in this blog post. My FTP is 240W and my LTHR is at 164 bpm.

Any idea what TSS score and IF score would be a closer estimation?

Thank you! read your training book! my first post to you! :)

PS: Starting my first structured ATP now but I don't consider myself a novice. Just completed a 2 day stage race 150km and 107km hilly route 2 weeks ago


Do you have any idea w


Finish off my last sentence:

Do you have any idea what TSS and IF scores will be a better approximation for this work out?


Joe Friel

D--TSS for the high intensity/low cadence portion of the force workout hardly shows up in the score as the duration is so brief. So while it certainly has the potential to improve your power and performance, the workout doesn't show up as having much effect on your CTL. Mathematical training models that predict performance are not perfect, I'm afraid.


Thanks for sharing your expertise. It's an honor to be able to interact with you.

Question about force reps- should one pull up on the back side of the pedal stroke, or push down only?

Joe Friel

Daren--use every muscle you can recruit.

Tomasz Spaleniak

I started prepreation to the next season by the plan from 'The power meter handbook' for triathletes. Outside is winter in my country, and force reps are not so effective doing on in-door trainer. Could You suggest alternative workout for force reps on in-door trainer (for example 10 x 10" on 150%FTP?)

Joe Friel

Tomasz Spaleniak-- Force reps are easy to do on a trainer. What you suggested is fine. 10x10sec @ 150% FTP. Long recoveries such as 50 sec. When power begins to fade by ~5% on reps it's time to stop.


Hi Joe,
your bike force reps sound a lot like SFR training, but I can't find any mentions of them in the 3rd edition of the Cyclist's Training Bible. All I see is the F1, F2 and F3 workouts. How do they relate to the force reps you described in this post?
Besides I've read in one of your comments that you've been deliberately vague in the description of the F1 workout and that the number of hills to climb pretty much depends on when one does the workout and his/her level of fitness. What about recovery time though? Should it be at least the same time it took to climb (approx 3 min)? In each strength workout you suggest a minimum cadence, what do I do if my cadence on hills is usually much higher than the minimum you suggest? Shall I try to lower it during these workouts and stick around the minimum?

Thanks :)

Joe Friel

Maurizio - I just started having riders do these about 4-5 years ago and the book has not been revised since then. These being more intense (and therefore briefer) so I believe are they are most effective than longer, less intense intervals. How great the dose and density when doing anything that is highly risky like this (but therefore highly rewarding) is a very individualized matter. So I can't give a blanket statement that covers everyone when it comes to how many to do. Initially, I believe, cadence should be low when working on the development of force. It's much like doing heavy load squats.


Mr. Joe
I am reading your precious (for me) Cyclist's Training Bible book and now I am at "Unique Needs" part.
For force training, when I kept my cadance lower than 50 rpm, I felt it is more effective than the one which has around 60 rpm cadance as you mentioned above. For total amount of sets, I do 4-5 sets. However, a set includes 3 minutes force interval with cadance of lower than 50 rpm and 2-3 minutes recovery. I felt very powerful especially when I did this bike on strength workout instantly after leg weight training in gym. Would you recommend this type of "bridge-ish" workout? Are my total sets and times enough or should be increased?
Note that, normally, the day after maximum strenght workout in gym, I feel pure lactic acid in my legs. However, when I did this bridge workout, I recovered perfectly and felt only that raw strength during pedaling

Joe Friel

Cyclist999--Yes, that works. However, the shorter you make each rep, the greater the load will be, and the more force/strength you'll develop. Just must be careful with stress on knees.

Patrik Hast

Hi Joe,

Ive been doing longer force reps during base as this has been one of my weakness. Should I continue this during build up or will I maintain what Ive build up by doing shorter ones or with allround build up training?

Best regards

Joe Friel

Patrik Hast-- In the build period I'd suggest maintaining your muscular farce gains. That means, typically, to do the workouts half as often or, in some cases when the workouts were already widely spaced, to reduce the workout dose (how many reps you do) by about half. Good luck!


Joe, thanks for great posts
regarding these force workout. In Training Bible in maximal strength phase you tell about 3-6 squats. And it corresponds with what you wrote here - 6 per leg. but what about SM phase. should it be done. 1 set only on 1 set with more than 6 revolutions? I tried this workout on running and it looked too easy for me. hill was 6m height for 12 steps. what am I doing wrong? thanks a lot

Joe Friel

Nariman--Yes, strength training should continue into the SM phase on the bike/run also. That workout can be done half as often as in MS phase. If it isn't hard enough do 2 sets or use a steeper hill or greater effort.

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