Nerd Lab: FTP, VO2max, and Sprints within LSD

I got lost in the details and too many numbers / combinations of the " Interval Protocols and Time Near VO2max" section.

The summary notes for Fast Talk Episode 188 Nerd Lab: FTP, VO2max, and Sprints within LSD - Fast Talk Laboratories say “The findings suggest the 2:1 ratios tended to result in more time near VO2max”. I got lost in the details but understood from the podcast that it was specifically one of the 4min intervals sets that resulted in greatest time at VO2Max.

Can anyone who digested it:

  • summarise the different interval sets they were talking about
  • confirm which one resulted in most time at VO2max
  • explain “The assumption is that time at VO2max is better for adaptations. Does this assumption drive bad training practices?”

I listened twice but got lost in the details. If someone can summarise that would be much appreciated.


If you open the study, it’s all there:

1. Types or workouts
There were 4 self-paced workouts, in random order.

  • a. 4x4 minutes with 1 minute (4/1) of active recovery;
  • b. 4x4 minutes with 2 minutes (4/2) of active recovery;
  • c. 4x8 minutes with 2 minutes (8/2) of active recovery;
  • d. 4x8 minutes with 4 minutes (8/4) of active recovery.

2. Results

  • tVO2max means 90-100% VO2max
  • t90VO2max means 90-94% VO2max
  • t95VO2max means >= 95% VO2max

The 8/4 session (d) provided higher absolute tVO2max and t95VO2max than the 4/1 (a, above).
The 4/2 protocol (b) elicited higher relative tVO2max and t95VO2max than 4/1 (a, above) and 8/2 (c, above).
The 4/2 session (b) elicited more mean power output than the other three sessions.

The conclusion was:
Self-paced interval training composed of 4-minute and 8-minute work periods efficiently elicit tVO2max, but protocols with a work–recovery ratio of 2:1 (ie, 4/2 and 8/4) could be prioritized to maximize tVO2max.


Hey thanks so much - that makes it simple and clear. Appreciate you taking the time

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