Zwift Academy 2020


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Workout overview

Duration: 1h

Stress points: 68

Zone distribution

Z1: 20m

Z2: 12m

Z3: 13m

Z4: 10m

Z5: 4m

Z6: 1m

33%
20%
22%
17%
7%
2%

Welcome to Zwift Academy 2020! Training begins by building your endurance, an essential skill for every level rider–from the recreational to the elite pro. Plan on hard efforts for durations lasting 5-8min. These are considered long intervals, so pacing is critical to complete it to the best of your ability. Longer intervals help develop your threshold power.

We want to push your FTP (Functional Threshold Power) to its limit today, bringing you to a level just above your Threshold effort and ask you to ride at this power for a total of 18min. This session will take the focus and effort of a Time Trial to push your aerobic power to a sustained limit.

To make sure we use as much of the aerobic pathways as possible for your energy production, depletion efforts at the start will reduce the reliance on any anaerobic contribution.

We then move into 2x5min efforts just above your FTP with minimal recovery. This is followed by an 8min all-out effort, which will require adequate pacing if you are to reach your potential. Anyone with a solid aerobic engine will be aiming for 100% FTP. Those with excellent lactate clearance capabilities will be close to 105% of FTP, and elite riders are expected to be riding between 105-110%. The priority is pacing your last 8min to a sustained effort, where you'll want to give it EVERYTHING you have.

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Workout overview

Duration: 51m 10s

Stress points: 34

Zone distribution

Z1: 40m

Z2: 6m

Z3: 2m

Z4: 2m

Z5: 1m

Z6: -

78%
12%
5%
4%
2%
0%

A good sprint is the icing on the cake. You could be an excellent climber or a strong Time Trialist, but you'll find it hard to win without a good sprint. This workout tests how strong your sprint is, and what PEAK power you can do over 10 and 20 seconds.

Having a powerful sprint is about hitting that 10sec or 20sec effort to the best of your ability– leaving nothing behind as you empty the tank. With an effort so short, there's no room for mistakes.

Today we'll make sure your muscles are PRIMED for you to hit PEAK powers in this session. 3x sub-maximal 6sec sprints begin this process of neuromuscular activation, followed by a maximal 6sec sprint. All sprints should be performed seated in the saddle. We then move onto a MAXIMAL 10sec sprint, which can be done either in or out of the saddle, followed by a maximal 20sec sprint.

5min recovery between maximal sprints to allow for maximal rest, allowing for replenishment of your phosphocreatine and recharge of your anaerobic system, which is also used in the longer sprints.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h

Stress points: 61

Zone distribution

Z1: 37m

Z2: 5m

Z3: 8m

Z4: 2m

Z5: 9m

Z6: -

62%
8%
14%
3%
14%
0%

If you want to push the limits of your aerobic ability and see how strong your system is, this workout is for you. Discover your 4min max power, a time scale widely seen as a benchmark of effort.

We all know the feeling when we tackle the Volcano KOM at a FULL GAS or follow an attack on Box Hill– our heart rate surges with breathing rate close to maximum. Today's workout tests how deep you can go for 4min, followed by how well you can recover from such efforts.

This workout gives you a look at two key performance metrics. First, your 4min maximal power. We want you to go ALL OUT during this effort and hold nothing back. Avoid going too far into the red zone at the start of this interval by controlling your pacing.

Second, we stress your ability to clear the high lactate concentrations generated during the 4min all-out effort. You have 11min to recover before producing 4x 2min efforts at 115%, which is near the limit of your VO2 power.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 3m 45s

Stress points: 56

Zone distribution

Z1: 45m

Z2: 6m

Z3: 8m

Z4: 1m

Z5: -

Z6: 3m

71%
9%
13%
2%
1%
4%

Anaerobic power is what you need for short explosive efforts up a hill or when attacking a group. In this workout, we find out how strong your system is, and whether you can repeat these high-intensity efforts.

Some riders have naturally good short-term power capabilities, and some need to focus on it if they want to improve that EXPLOSIVE power. If you want to attack on the Innsbruckring' Leg-Snapper' climb with the style of Philippe Gilbert, then we need to work on these high power sessions.

We are stressing your maximal glycolytic system today with some BIG anaerobic power efforts. We start with a solid warm-up, incorporating high-force efforts that require lots of muscular strength. These short efforts will have you primed and ready for action.

The session starts with a maximal 1min FULL GAS effort to allow you to set a peak power effort and set a benchmark to guide you for the rest of the Academy. In this effort, start close to maximal capacity, which is just about sustainable for 30sec and then hold your power as high as possible during the last 10-20sec.

The last three anaerobic efforts are aimed at stressing your anaerobic endurance. We do this by starting at a high power output in the first rep and gradually increasing the duration of efforts while decreasing the wattage target. All these efforts will max out your anaerobic energy pathways with high lactate concentrations.

We finish the ride with a 6min aerobic effort. This will not be as easy! You may have depleted all of your anaerobic energy, plus the high power efforts will have impacted your muscular strength by now. Both components combined will leave this sub-threshold effort feeling harder than normal.

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Workout overview

Duration: 55m 30s

Stress points: 65

Zone distribution

Z1: 27m

Z2: 3m

Z3: -

Z4: 23m

Z5: 1m

Z6: 2m

48%
6%
0%
42%
1%
3%

Improving your Threshold capabilities is essential for every aspect of cycling and endurance sports. Improving your threshold will increase endurance, develop a higher cruising speed, and reduce fatigue. In this workout, we prioritize building this key area of performance.

Improving your FTP is not always about doing long intervals that are mentally and physically draining. In this workout, we cheat the system by doing shorter efforts to make big gains.

Improving your ability to perform prolonged intensities around your FTP can be done in several ways. One of the best ways to enhance this is to perform sustained Threshold efforts with an elevated lactate level.

In this session, we prime your lactate system at the start of each interval by doing a short anaerobic effort, followed by 5min at your FTP.

We start the workout with a 6min effort below your threshold, which helps you engage the larger muscle groups needed for higher Threshold efforts later in the workout.

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Workout overview

Duration: 58m 50s

Stress points: 43

Zone distribution

Z1: 44m

Z2: 6m

Z3: 2m

Z4: 6m

Z5: -

Z6: 1m

75%
11%
3%
9%
0%
2%

A good sprint is not purely about raw power. Confidence and technique are key. In this workout, we gradually build your peak powers for durations up to 20sec, with an added twist of more sprints after you've built up some fatigue.

Beyond fast-twitch muscle fibers, a solid sprint means using maximal power in the most efficient way. At the start of this session, we help you improve your technique with seated sprints; then we hit some peak power efforts later. At the end of the session, we do real-world sprint replications, building into a maximal sprint seen in every Zwift race.

The workout is broken into 3 sets, with different durations to target different energy pathways.

First, we do 3x 6 sec sprints seated in the saddle. These develop efficient neuromuscular signaling through in saddle power production and ready the pathways for the longer 20sec efforts. These sprints use your phosphate energy system for the full 6sec.

The next set includes 3x 20sec sprints, riding in or out of the saddle to generate maximal power. These intervals will be powered by your creatine phosphate system and anaerobic glycolytic system; longer recovery is needed to clear the high lactate levels generated.

We end the workout with 2x building sprints to simulate race finishes. Races do not typically demand a short sprint–we need to build up our energy to unleash a sustained high-powered effort.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 9m

Stress points: 82

Zone distribution

Z1: 35m

Z2: 15m

Z3: 1m

Z4: 2m

Z5: 3m

Z6: 13m

50%
22%
2%
3%
5%
18%

This workout is a gradual burner. You will build fatigue over the duration of the session, which will raise your heart rate and require a higher breathing rate as you progress into the ride. Developing your VO2 max requires working at a high level–so be prepared for a hard session!

Being able to ride at a percentage of your VO2 max is crucial in competitive events, especially in the virtual racing world as the 45min to 1hr races require lots of accumulated time spent close to your maximal aerobic limit. This session stresses this system and helps you develop stronger as we push your heart rate and oxygen consumption rates to a high level.

VO2 max is not a single power number but a physiological state that equates to the amount of oxygen a person can utilize during intense exercise. There are several ways to enhance your max.

In this session, we focus on an incremental rise of VO2 uptake. This progression allows us to sustain prolonged levels closer to our VO2 max, versus shorter/higher-powered efforts.

We do 3x 8min ON/OFF blocks, increasing from 20, 30, to 40sec 'On' while reducing the 'Off' durations. The 'Off' intensity is not a full recovery, so oxygen uptake is always being stimulated throughout the 8min blocks.

We finish the session with a 4min build. For most athletes, you'll find yourself near your VO2 max within the last minute of this interval. Get ready for a solid workout!

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Workout overview

Duration: 59m

Stress points: 53

Zone distribution

Z1: 45m

Z2: 5m

Z3: 4m

Z4: 3m

Z5: -

Z6: 3m

77%
8%
6%
4%
0%
5%

If we plan to "attack," either by dropping friends on a hill during a group ride or going for victory in a road race, your anaerobic power needs to be strong. This session helps build your attacking power level for a solid punch. Short efforts all under 1min will make you feel the burn.

Attacking a group in a race or holding onto a fast peloton in Watopia calls for high anaerobic power. Today we hit some high peak efforts at the start–by the end, you will be fighting to keep the power high.

This session is broken up into two sections. After the warm-up, we complete 4x 30sec high powered maximal anaerobic efforts aiming for 170% of your FTP. To allow you to hit each effort with optimal anaerobic power, we have 5min full recovery between each.

At the end of the workout, we move into 1min build efforts. These are high power and high force efforts that will also be heart pumping. The recovery time gradually shortens– by the end, we'll have maxed out all energy pathways, forcing us to rely on our aerobic system.

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