Over/Under Efforts


I did my first 6-hour spin yesterday in a long-long time, certainly my first in Ireland since I was full time.

Absolutely bolloxed I am – although the sensations are good and so are the legs…

Well based off Anthony they are anyway so it’s up for debate.

During the last hour of yesterday’s ride Anthony and I lashed out some over/under efforts or criss-cross efforts as they’re sometimes known.

Over under intervals aim to replicate the physiological demands racing.

So, what are they?

Over under efforts are normally zone 3 efforts (the under part) with prescribed periods of time over your threshold.

So essentially, it’s time over and under your FTP within an interval.

Makes sense really if think about it…

When you’re riding in a group through and off are you always at your FTP?

No, certainly not.

When you’re on the front you normally must push well over Your FTP before returning to the back where you’ll normally sit back into zone 3 again.

There’s loads of examples – little steep hills, responding to surges in the group they all force you to push over that tempo pace for a period of time.

Over under intervals are zone 3 or tempo intervals with a surge up in zones for 1 or 2 minutes, every 1-5 minutes for the duration of the interval – which normally lasts 10-20 minutes.

Once the ‘over’ is finished comes the most important part of the interval – that is returning to zone 3.

No less and forcing yourself to recover there.

Example over under session

2 x 24 minutes.

2 minutes 30 watts above threshold.

1 minutes 30 watts below threshold.

Repeat the above x 8 = 24 minutes.

Repeat this twice!

We give these sessions to clients on a regular basis to closer mimic the demands of racing and it also delivers a larger stress score than a more traditional Sweet Spot or tempo session thus delivering a greater stimulus to adapt – faster.

Asides from all the jargon they’re are much more fun to do as well.

If they’re not part of your training programme they certainly should be!

Particularly for anyone racing road and MTB – while still useful for triathlon tri events tend to be a lot less erratic than road, MTB or track.



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