This is an observation not a criticism of Xert.
Whenever I start a mini plan and do the recommended Xert workouts for more than a few days I am always struck by the type of intervals I see compared to other apps. This is through most periods of a plan, base, build etc.
Xert, to my mind has a lot of workouts which contain many short, sharp intervals, mostly of between 30s and 2 minutes.
TrainerRoad for example has a lot of its workouts with longer intervals, generally 2-6 minutes.
Has anybody else thought this? I know I could find different intervals if I wished but as I stated at the beginning it is not a problem.
On a personal note I do find the frequent, short ones much harder on my body than a longer interval.
Xert’s workout designs are about creating a balance of strain, difficulty and focus (specificity to a lesser extent). They are not about adopting some training philosophy or belief that some workouts are better than others that isn’t explained by these key metrics.
Short, harder intervals create fatigue that accelerate strain (XSS) when the “rest” intervals are performed. In Xert, rest intervals play a very important part of the training and are not designed to just provide sufficient rest in order to do the next interval. Many times the rest intervals form a key part of the workout itself. Look at Bangarang, for example, the rest intervals are essentially sweetspot under fatigue. Only with Xert will these types of workouts become part of a training program since old-school workouts are more always about the “on” intervals and rest intervals are just designed to provide “rest-in-between”.
Fast start intervals are becoming in fashion since recent research has suggested they are more effective than regular flat intervals. We’ve had fast start intervals since the beginning since they create fatigue under which the remaining intervals will be performed. This results in more XSS and doesn’t increase the Difficulty as much as flat intervals.
So always keep in mind that it’s not the interval patterns themselves that make you stronger. It’s the overall strain that gets applied and shorter, harder intervals create more strain that you benefit from during more than just the interval itself. Same can be said of longer, or more repetitive less intense intervals as in Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, Uprising or Song 2.
Very comprehensive and understandable response.
Thanks very much for taking the time to comment.
Also likely explains why I can complete the vast majority of Xert curated workouts at 100%.
More importantly I’ve gotten better results than following plans in the past packed with long straight blocks anchored in SS, threshold or VO2max intervals beyond my means.
No matter what other platforms are attempting with AT they don’t have SMART workouts.
That has made all the difference in the world to me as an aging cyclist.
Perhaps younger folks are better able to handle the cityscape, Tetris blocks, and symmetrical cookie-cutter workouts common to other platforms. I’d rather ride SMART.