Derek Rush's Pain Cave Challenge

These workouts, which range in intensity from difficult to downright brutal, are designed specifically for cyclists who already possess a high level of fitness, those pedal pushing savages that aren't truly having fun unless they're storming the fiery trenches. So if you think you're beast enough and up for the challenge, let's fuel up the tank, prime those legs, and prepare to enter the Pain Cave.


Select a workout, or scroll down to view all workouts.

Workout overview

Duration: 1h 39m 10s

Stress points: 149

Zone distribution

Z1: 42m

Z2: 4m

Z3: 3m

Z4: 1m

Z5: 19m

Z6: 30m

42%
4%
3%
1%
19%
30%

Author: D.Rush [DRAFT]

VO2MAX/AC Intervals of decreasing duration but increasing power. As the power ramps up so should your cadence. By the time you hit the 30/15s you really want to be going for max rpms. This is one that takes you way outside your comfort zone, and keeps you there for the duration. After all, what better way to improve your functional threshold power than to train above it?

Download workout View workout More workouts like this

FAQ: How to use custom workouts in Zwift?

Workout overview

Duration: 1h 52m

Stress points: 151

Zone distribution

Z1: 41m

Z2: 8m

Z3: 40m

Z4: -

Z5: -

Z6: 22m

37%
7%
36%
0%
0%
20%

Author: Derek Rush

2 x 20 30/30 Strength Reps @ 140%. Target cadence for these is 70-75 rpm. All movement from the hips down; push with the glutes, pull with the hammies. Concentrate on smooth pedaling form. Stay seated and grind it out. After a short break, we move on to 8 consecutive sets of 5 minute Tempo Zone Waves, each ramp culminating with a 15 second out-of-saddle effort at 175%. Again, maintain a controlled cadence, focusing on smooth transitions from seated to standing and back again. This one will hurt!

Download workout View workout More workouts like this

FAQ: How to use custom workouts in Zwift?

Workout overview

Duration: 1h 14m 30s

Stress points: 160

Zone distribution

Z1: 35m

Z2: 4m

Z3: 3m

Z4: 1m

Z5: -

Z6: 32m

47%
5%
4%
1%
0%
42%

Author: Derek Rush

These One ON’s / One OFF’s are an effective way to train your body to produce an all-out effort over and over again. We're going to target 150% of your FTP for the ONs, while the OFFs will be a minute of soft pedaling to recover as quickly as possible. I like to be out of saddle for these to practice my standing form, but feel free to alternate, or just stay seated and grind out all 30 reps. The choice is yours. Just do what you can to survive.

Download workout View workout More workouts like this

FAQ: How to use custom workouts in Zwift?

Workout overview

Duration: 1h 49m 40s

Stress points: 124

Zone distribution

Z1: 46m

Z2: 47m

Z3: 2m

Z4: 1m

Z5: -

Z6: 14m

42%
43%
2%
1%
0%
13%

Author: Derek Rush

The focus of this one is leg speed. Stay seated and wind out that cadence on each rep. We've got 3 sets of 20 micro bursts. Each rep is a short 10 seconds in length, set at 200%, and you want to be shooting for a cadence of 120+rpm. Soft pedal for 20 seconds between each. Follow this up with 45 minutes of endurance zone with 15 second bursts, seated or standing, your choice.

Download workout View workout More workouts like this

FAQ: How to use custom workouts in Zwift?

Workout overview

Duration: 1h 50m

Stress points: 163

Zone distribution

Z1: 56m

Z2: 3m

Z3: 3m

Z4: 40m

Z5: -

Z6: 8m

51%
3%
3%
36%
0%
7%

Author: Derek Rush

4 x 10 minute Sweet Spot Muscle Tension Intervals @ 60-70rpm with 2' breathers. Once fatigued, you'll be going into 10 x 15/45 Maximal Seated Power Reps right into 10 x 30" Standing Form Drills. Dig deep! This one is going to hurt.

Download workout View workout More workouts like this

FAQ: How to use custom workouts in Zwift?

Workout overview

Duration: 1h 10m 30s

Stress points: 107

Zone distribution

Z1: 32m

Z2: 4m

Z3: 3m

Z4: -

Z5: 25m

Z6: 7m

46%
5%
4%
0%
35%
9%

Author: Derek Rush

Zwift's Gorby, AKA "The Quitter," is a challenging workout indeed. With five rounds of five minutes at 110% of your FTP, some may not be able to finish. But if you're one to push beyond that torture, then the Pain Cave's Extreme version is right up your alley. Where the Gorby Extreme differs from the original is in the final two minutes of each interval. Here we have 6 x 5 minute blocks, each consisting of 3 min @ 110%, 1 min @ 115%, and 1 min @ 130%. If you find the original workout a challenge, this isn't going to be a walk in the park. More like a descent into Hell.

Download workout View workout More workouts like this

FAQ: How to use custom workouts in Zwift?

Workout overview

Duration: 1h 39m

Stress points: 140

Zone distribution

Z1: 34m

Z2: 7m

Z3: 4m

Z4: 40m

Z5: -

Z6: 13m

35%
7%
4%
40%
0%
13%

Author: Derek Rush

4 x 10' blocks at 100% of FTP, each followed up with Russian Steps of 20/40, 30/30, 40/20, 50/10 and 1 minute at 130%. Five minute rest between sets.

Download workout View workout More workouts like this

FAQ: How to use custom workouts in Zwift?

Workout overview

Duration: 57m 30s

Stress points: 97

Zone distribution

Z1: 22m

Z2: 4m

Z3: 3m

Z4: -

Z5: 1m

Z6: 28m

37%
7%
6%
0%
2%
48%

Author: Derek Rush

The shortest of the Pain Cave Challenge workouts. Three sets of 3 minute top end Zone 5 efforts on 1 minute rest. Cool down and head for the shower when complete, or follow these blocks up with some tempo or endurance work.

Download workout View workout More workouts like this

FAQ: How to use custom workouts in Zwift?

Workout overview

Duration: 1h 30m 30s

Stress points: 148

Zone distribution

Z1: 31m

Z2: 4m

Z3: 3m

Z4: 1m

Z5: 1m

Z6: 51m

35%
4%
3%
1%
1%
56%

Author: Derek Rush

A relentless VO2Max interval session of 50 x 1 minute reps at 120% of FTP on a limited 30 seconds rest. Don't feel bad if you throw in the sweat soaked towel. Not everyone can endure this degree of brutality.

Download workout View workout More workouts like this

FAQ: How to use custom workouts in Zwift?