Sweet Spot Training – to develop Mitochondria Density

Dani Rowe Sweet Spot Training

Sweet Spot Training – to develop Mitochondria Density

 

Sweet Spot Training is likely something that you have heard other cyclists talk about, or have read a little about online. Without doubt, Sweet Spot Training has its place in all cyclists training plans, but why?

What does Sweet Spot Training do for you? The scientist would tell you Sweet Spot Training increases your Mitochondria Density, whilst the athlete would tell you it increases your fitness. Let’s explore a little more…

 

Mitochondria are small structures found in almost all human cells, whose main job is to perform cellular respiration – taking in nutrients from the cell, breaking them down, and turning those nutrients into energy. Mitochondria are often referred to as ‘the powerhouse’ of the cell. The more mitochondria present, the greater the ability to produce energy (in to ATP). In real terms, a greater mitochondrial density allows you to train or compete faster and longer.

Sweet Spot Training Zone
Sweet Spot Training Zone

Exercise around your Threshold or just below (Sweet Spot Training) is the most efficient way to increase your mitochondrial density as found by many sports scientists, including Dr. Andy Coggan, Ph.D ‘Training and racing using a power meter: an introduction’.

Sweet Spot Training Physical Adaptions
Sweet Spot Training Physical Adaptions

Off the bike, you can supplement mitochondrial density development by eating foods like dark green vegetables, meat and nuts. Vitamin C, vitamin E, B vitamins, iron and selenium are also required nutrients which can all be found in vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans/lentils, dairy products, fish and meat which are ‘fuel’ for the mitochondria.

If there is one thing you take away from this short article, it should be that training at threshold and SweetSpot will increase your ‘engine size’, threshold and ability to produce energy. The net result out on the road is that you will be able to produce more power and travel faster for longer before producing lactic acid.

Give the following Sweet Spot Training Session a go, which is fairly standard introduction in to Sweet Spot Training;

  • 10 Minute Progressive Warm up – working up to 100% of your FTP
  • 15 Minutes Sweet Spot (88-93% of FTP) @ chosen cadence, circa 90rpm
  • 5 Minutes Zone 1 Recovery
  • 15 Minutes Sweet Spot (88-93% of FTP) @ chosen cadence, circa 90rpm
  • 5 Minutes Cool Down

For a slight twist, try completing a block at a low cadence (55-60rpm) to give the session a strength focus.

Article written by Rowe & King Head Coach, Courtney Rowe.