Threshold Session (suprathreshold) questions

Hi All,

Im very curious as to the reasoning and evidence behind a threshold workout that was in my program, every week. It consists of 10 intervals of 4min at 107% with 2min of rest. It’s a pretty hardcore way to work threshold that contrasts with the traditional 100% or slightly below, with longer intervals looking to extend time in zone.

Wonder if @Prof or the other coaches can speak about the use of this workout 4 months out from event and tradeoffs in terms of gains, fatigue with the traditional 95-100% intensity but longer intervals 10-20min


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Hey @oldandfast!

That’s very interesting. In my cycling plan, the threshold work is prescribed at an L4 intensity. L4 represents a range that is just below to just over threshold. If you do them in resistance mode indoors, then you are free to ride anywhere in that range that feels good for the day, up to 107% if you like.

Follow up thought. Early in the program I’ll probably ride them at 97-100% and a few weeks in I’ll venture over to 100-107% since my fitness is improving and so is my threshold.

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As we always say @oldandfast there’s loads of ways to skin the cat. This one at 107% of L4 is really going to be the lower bound of L5, so we’re talking a VO2 long interval here, which makes up the bulk of most good cycle training program in terms of the HIIT content. That being said, if you need to lower the intensity, listen to that little man in your head and do so… Screenshot is chapter 15 HIIT Science written by Grand Tour cycling coach/trainer Marc Quod.


In the thresholds settings I specified:

20min outdoor 270w
20min indoor 265w

The ranges it gives me for L4 are 259w-289w, so the middle of the range is 274w.

For next week it has adapted to 8 intervals which is 32 minutes of work.

If I was doing traditional 3 x 10min. I would do them at 265w - 250w depending on how I feel that day.

This workout is interesting because it’s only 4m and you get your 2m break, but the intensity is higher.

Definitely in that weird Suprathreshold zone

The jury is out on what is more efficient!

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I have those, I’ve got 6 intervals next week, and 10 intervals the week after. I find they are quite doable, though I do do them on a quiet road where I’m not staring at a timer counting down. I know the start / end points on the road that will give me the 4 minutes.

Like @Jesse says, it usually offers a range below and above your Threshold and where you choose to work in that range can depend on how you feel on the day and how the first few intervals go.

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Not for me, the low of the range is at threshold

Hello Old and Fast!
I assign these to my athletes throughout the base block, especially if FTP and/or power at threshold is a limiter. With my Athletica athletes, these come up weekly right now as well, I’m doing them too! I tell my athletes to utilize the full range of the zone 4, so in your case, 259-289.

But I also tell them that these intervals, while challenging, should feel doable. You’ll be breathing hard, but still able to speak words, not complete sentences. So if they’re too hard, simply do them at a lower pace. We often start a block at below the low end, and gradually move up each week as our fitness improves.

The goal is two-fold: build your cardiovascular system, and train both your fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers to be more fatigue resistant. There’s also a huge benefit in your body’s learning to process lactate as a fuel.

So threshold intervals are really important and really useful. Just remember to recover fully and eat well before and after these to keep your glycogen supply topped off!

Thanks! Let me know if you have further questions. Glad to talk about this stuff!