11 Zwift Structured Workouts to Improve your FTP This Winter

It’s indoor season! There used to be a time when indoor season meant riders in the harsh climates would spend hours on the trainer longing for better weather and the start of race season in spring.

Not anymore! Many Zwifters are choosing to stay indoors year round and some even focus the bulk of their fitness goals around Zwift racing. We’ve put together a series of Zwift structured workouts that will to a variety of different fitness goals. Check them out below!

Need help getting .ZWO into Zwift? Make sure to right click and choose “Download Linked File” and then check this link: https://zwiftinsider.com/load-custom-workouts/

Prepping for a Fondo or looking to improve fitness in hard group rides?

Use these Zwift structured workouts to develop your ability to ride long and go hard. Mix it up with some free riding at Zone 2 for 2+ hours. 

Build the Endurance Engine

Start by building your aerobic engine. This is a great starting point for those working to build up time and distance on the bike or those on a time crunched scheduled.

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Prepare for Power

Get the legs legs prepped for harder efforts at higher resistance. Don't be fooled by this Zwift workout, the ups and downs wear on the legs. Those Zone 2 spots in the middle will feel a bit hurty.

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Myth Busting!

Many coaches and athletes are doing away with LSD style training. It's true that if you cant do long endurance rides of 3-5 hours on the regular LSD might not be the best option. But it doesn't mean you can replace it with a single 60min ride. Try compounding your endurance rides. 60min in the morning, 90min in the evening. Or 90min in the evening, and another 90min first thing the next morning.

Consistency is Key

The best way to improve fitness is sitting at a prescribed effort for a prescribed time. But real riding, be it free riding Zwift or getting outside, requires you to be able to kick and surge without needing to back off.

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Build Up to It

Time crunched? Try this one. Short recovery periods followed by a gradual build through Zone 3.

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Surge & Scrub

Surging is another important skill to have. Kick up the leg speed during the short surge intervals. This Zwift workout also helps to scrub some of the glycogen making your sustained tempo effort a little more aerobic.. and a little more difficult!

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Time to Race?

Use these workouts to develop your top-end ability and improve your ability to maintain a hard effort in chaotic situations. We haven’t included any sprint workouts as these are best done during free ride sessions. 

New School SST

It's not really 'new school'. It just isn't as boring for some as the classic SST intervals.

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Old School SST

Boring to some but extremely effective. There's not much to be said about SST. It's a great way to improve FTP. It does generate a lot of residual fatigue so use this workout sparingly!

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Classic VO2 Max

This is a 5x3min version of the classic 5x5min. If you could only do two rides per week, one would be this workout, and the other would be a long endurance ride. This workout has been responsible for many podium finishes through the years..

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Myth Busting!

When it comes to racing, it's easy to think that in order to hang with the group you need to 'practice' the efforts you encounter in a race. Crit racers do 30s and 60s efforts to practice surging out of corners. In reality, spending time developing your aerobic ability will go along way in a race. If you have to surge up to 600w on punchy climbs, you'll survive longer if a greater percentage of that energy comes from your aerobic system. Your anaerobic engine is important but it cant make up for a poorly developed aerobic engine!

Breaking Away

It's one thing to escape the pack, it's another altogether to stay away. Build up to it. Punch and then hammer.

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Dont Die

20/40s. Ideally this Zwift workout is done as 20s at 10w/kg and 20s of absolute rest. But it takes time to work up to that. Have a bucket ready if you've never done a workout like this.

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Resist!

Riding steady is great for eliciting adaptation. But if you want to develop the ability to punch, surge, and recover, try this one.

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Remember!

Training isn't about practicing efforts. It's important to have a well rounded power profile and have experienced racing and riding conditions during training. But real physiological improvement is about causing adaptation. Your race effort might not be the effort that elicits the improvements you need to improve on your race efforts. It's easy to fall into the trap where if you do a lot of 350w 2min efforts in a race, you should do 350w 2min efforts in training. You'll just get good at riding 350w for 2min. That's not improvement, it's practice. Train your body to produce better efforts.

Disclaimer

These workouts are to be done at your own risk. If you have any medical conditions that prevent you from doing moderate to high intensity exercise, consult your doctor before attempting to start any of these workouts. Always take proper precautions with your health when engaging in any physical activity.