Using Xert to train polarized


I’m looking at tips to use Xert to train polarised (a video from you know who about you know what app has me curious). Are there any tips available? I was planning on using the filters to pick an endurance workout for 3 days a week and a hard workout for 2 days a week. Is this the right way to do it? For the easy days should I look to keep power below LTP.

I might do a bit of a test week before and after a block to see my mad gainz.


Polarised is typically 1 in 5 rides being hard, so just 1 day per week being a hard workout and the remainder at or below your first ventilatory threshold VT1 (which may or may not be around your LTP).

Be aware that it really hard to find rides XERT that are entirely at or below LTP, so it can be easier just to do free rides below VT1. Just ride until you hit meet your desired XSS. You can mix things up by varying the power and cadence. Things like steps and pyramids.

Xert is hybrid polarized approach by default --.
Sweet Spot, Threshold and Polarized Training … By the Numbers – Xert (

I am amazed at all the you-know-what users who can’t see the forest for the trees and should learn how to use Xert instead. :smiley: Their complaints would be answered by not building a plan that sooner or later ends in burnout.


XERT isn’t polarised for me.

  • It works on the assumption that VT1 occurs at LTP, but I find that it is more like 90% of LTP.
  • Most of XERT’s Endurance rides exceed LTP on multiple occasions. Hence if I do a XERT Endurance ride I will be in Polarised Zone 2.

You’re a real sweetheart, aren’t you? By all means, alienate new users, but I’m not sure how that will help Xert improve their platform.

ALSO, these articles that you are kind enough to pass along are not easy to find. So naturally people come in hearing the science favours polarized training and run into the steep learning curve that is Xert and have questions. Xert could do a better job of having a number of basic articles up front, accessible from the Dashboard that help bring you up to speed.

What doesn’t help is having somebody really experienced mock newbies. Maybe climb off that ridge you’re riding, and help Xert out by being less of a jerk. Seriously.

Addendum: That article is very helpful. THANK YOU. And it does explain why Xert might not want to offer the ability for an athlete to choose what kind of training (Sweet spot/Pyramid/Polarized) to focus on.

Geez, do I need to insert emoticons on every post? :laughing:
I was making a commentary in reference to the Dylan Johnson video kerfuffle.
I try to be helpful to newbies of all types and when an article says it better than I can I include reference links.
Did not mean to offend anyone. :pleading_face:

Here’s another article link I found that mentions polarized –
Using Xert to Get Faster Than Ever – Xert (

1 Like

I am not finding that to be the case for me. Perhaps athlete selection is a factor?
I tend to hang at Climber and the endurance workouts definitely seem low key to me.

I don’t think we know the relationship between VT1 and LTP amongst the XERT population.

I reckon it would be possible to eek the data out though. For all users that sync with Garmin Connect and use a heart rate monitor their files will contain R-R intervals. From this data, DFA(alpha1) can be calculated. If at any point in time the DFA(alpha1) value is 0.75 or greater then the rider is in Polarised Zone 1. See here for more info:

Tend to agree that LTP is above LT1 for many. That’s based on own experience / RPE / breathing and also % HR max, and comments on this forum including from moderators. So 90% LTP is probably not far out for me, but would note that that is a ceiling, while (many) proponents of polarised suggest riding well below that ceiling on easy days, rather than right at it (which is the temptation). Would therefore agree that Xert endurance workouts are typically harder than a strict easy day in a polarised approach. But they are much easier than other programs, and easier to recover from and add significant volume with, which is ultimately important. And training recommendations are more personalised as covered many times in the forum

Re 80/20 I’ve seen different interpretations but my read of the Seiler paper is that he references session hours rather than sessions. So a 4-hour easy and a 1-hour hard combo would be polarised, which is why he and some other coaches suggest two hard sessions a week (and if you’re training less than 10 hours a week like many, you may need to either shorten the HIT sessions to less than an hour or only do one a week). Personally have been more conservative and also only doing one a week with good results, but may try two this year to see how it goes.

For info, I’ve tried the HRV approach and also been in touch with Marco Altini on it, and would say it’s very interesting and promising, but a bit early to treat those estimates as a gold standard for training. Quite protocol dependent (steady state vs ramps of sufficient length), sensitive to error correction method as well as other movements (even reaching for your phone or water bottle affects HRV), and more importantly there hasn’t been a lot of testing across a broader population to show that 0.75 is the right figure for everyone. I treat it as another data point but am sticking to HR, breathing and RPE for now

Thanks for your replies.

I’ve seen the articles and for me what they lack (unless I’m missing something) is an explanation of how to get the XATA to spit out workouts in a polarised manner. Previously I have used Xert and it wanted to drive me into the ground with repeated Higher Ground -4. I know I should mess with the fatigue slider but as an over analytical type I struggle with putting my fatigue level into a number.

I did suspect most of the endurance workouts are too hard for Polarized. When the XATA tells me a 3x20min SS session is endurance I know I must have a slightly different definition of what endurance is. For easy days i suppose could ignore XATA and keep to a sub 75% TP ride.

In the long run I dont plan on training Polarized the entire time. Just blocks here and there if I find any benefit.

Best bet for existing workouts is to use the workout filter to limit the difficulty… i.e. number of diamonds… 2 to 2.5 shouldn’t be too hard in general. Once you get to 3 and above you are close to threshold and even have efforts above threshold.

You can create your own endurance workout at e.g. 80% LTP with some variability for certain durations, and XATA will also look at your workout library in recommending workouts… those will be low difficulty… you can even use the workout filter to only look in your library, so if you only had easy workouts in there you would be sure to be recommended an easy one…

In practice I free ride my easy days and use Xert for the hard days, including hard endurance days - there is evidence that pyramidal structure I.e. riding around threshold (including sweetspot, heaven forbid) on your hard days is as effective as polarised…

Another thought: you can also just run the workouts at 90% or whatever intensity is ‘low’ e.g. if you just like the structure of the workout. Only challenge is that XATA won’t know you plan to do that… and also that you won’t accumulate the same XSS as expected

1 Like

There is some topical information in this thread: Hints for training outside

What model chart pops up when you look at your Totals for the last 3-6 months on
Mine is predominately Base model hours in Zone 1/2 using the seven zone model.
I am currently in mid-build phase and just starting to pick up higher intensity workouts.
I am not riding outdoors yet.

Yeah I was shocked at how easy after the you-know-what-app burnout experience. :smiley:
Initially on Xert you think “wait, this can’t be right” then the results (months later) speak for themselves.
I think Xert is at a disadvantage when it comes to 30 day trials. You can’t really learn their system and appreciate what it offers without diving in (signing up) and learning how to swim (over several months).
Tough sell when lots of people are looking for a quick fix. Of course “quick fix” sounds a bit like sweet spot to me. :rofl:


I’ve started using the HRVlogger when doing LT1 workouts on the turbo. My initial (n=1) observations are

  1. It put my LT1 about 30W and 7/8 bpm higher than I thought it was.
  2. Interestingly it puts it +/- 5W from where Xerts puts my LTP which I always thought was a lot higher than where I thought my Z2/z3 (5 zone model) was.
  3. It varies on a day to day basis by about +/-10W. I have no idea whether my LT1 does change or that margin is the margin of error in the way it measures it or the the different protocols of measuring it.
  4. Despite being a lot higher than I thought it was I have started doing most of my Yellow star rides at this new higher value ( as Xert has always recommended) and surprisingly I have been able to do them on multiple consecutive days with hardly any fatigue.
    To me it’s been a bit of a game changer in how I train. It’s also reinforced how scarily accurate Xert can be.

For me it’s the exact opposite using both the HRV logger app and his google colab workbook and a fit file (recorded with necessary quality HRM). They would suggest power is +/- 60w below LTP and also well below 75% of TP (as an aside I’ve also done extended periods of Xert’s LTP based endurance with no recovery issues). Even HR is quite a bit lower than I’d expect at ca. 70% of max and 77% of LTHR (other estimates from various places are 78% to 80% of max or 89% of LTHR). It’s more like the HR I’d average on a very easy ride than a ceiling for easy rides. He suggested sticking with treating ca. 78% of max HR as the ceiling, which makes sense to me.

I’ve also noticed that any change in intensity or significant position change (sitting up, standing, reaching for a bottle) means that the DFA (alpha 1) for the next two minutes is near enough random, hence my comment re: protocol and usability. Think you really need extended periods of stability.

Overall though, for your n = 1, if you can recover from rides at that higher intensity in the long run, then that’s good news :slight_smile:

Yes totally agree about the position changes. I’m also trying to get a proper handle on how if at all cadence alters it. The difficulty I have is interpreting which of the lower results are the results of these “artefacts”. Ignoring the first 2 minutes of any intensity change does make sense. I’ve yet to try it on a free ride without Erg control . It’s something I’ll have to do next week if I get the chance. Something Ignio San Milan said on one of the podcasts is that riding at LT1 for any length time is quite challenging hence it is not an easy Z1 ride.

Agree. I tend to aim around 10 to 20bpm below for a properly easy ride, and I’m hesitant to deduct that from the HRV based estimate :slightly_smiling_face:

Just a quick point. Are you using a Polar HR monitor, because when I first used the HRV logger I used a Wahoo Tickr and it gave my LT1 at about 20/30W lower than when I measured it with a Polar.

Thanks for checking and yes, have a polar h10 which is on the list of those recommended for HRV tracking