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Development Team Member
Posts: 12
I'll start this off with the background that I'm an athlete who trained with power for years but now a coach looking to learn how I can use this in my practice with athletes and am fully committed to being a guinea pig so to speak if it can help my athletes in the future. BUT don't have a background in physiology so i'm a newbie to some of this. 

Wouldn't mind some feedback on this workout. Following along with the Training guide for cycling PDF, after doing a couple ramp tests and a 5-1-5 it look like I currently have a delivery limiter. Hitting downwards of 20%. 

So I set out to use the Gradual desaturation WO protocol. I had a vague idea of where to ride power wise to achieve this and the first effort went well. The "compete rest" is VERY foreign to me and I knew it would be difficult to re-start and not feel like a sack of hammers. 

2nd effort went OK, desaturated very quickly and my power was lower, the recovery on this one took much longer for my peak Smo2 to begin to come back down(within 2%, it kept bouncing) and it didn't hit the same peak.

Attempted a 3rd but the legs felt like sacks of hammers desaturated to 40% very quickly and power was very low. I stopped this effort as I just felt there was no quality in it. (old bias perhaps) 

After a break and some steady riding, I did two more "max aerobic" intervals at a close Wattage range for 6 min each. This is based on using the new WKO4 optimized interval modeling chart released this week. (yes 6 minutes seems long for MAP but again im a guinea pig and thats what is saying) 

my questions are:
1) is active recovery a deal breaker for this workout? 
2) Should I be holding a steady Wattage (like my last two) or ramp and adjust to and ignore absolute w number? like my attempted first 3? 
3)how tight a range do you use for the peak recovery/pull back, my 2nd one bounced between 84-85 for 6 minutes before dropping to 82-83 and to re-start was dreadful after that.
4)Was I done after the 2nd interval anyway cause it didn't hit the previous peak of 90%? 10 minutes of work just doesn't feel like much 
5) are my last two (classic) intervals accomplishing the goal of gradual desaturation?

any feedback is welcome



Attached Files
csv dec13desatride.csv (136.07 KB, 12 views)


Development Team Member
Posts: 369
  • Firstly thanks for sharing your data. You might not get too much feedback on this thread, because there have been a couple of debates about the purpose of the forum being about interpretation rather than prescription of training protocols
  • It would be helpful to know what muscle this data was collected on
  • You mention that you have a delivery side limitation because you desature into low levels of Sm02. I think it is worth trying to dig deeper into the specific limitation for example whether it would be on the cardiac side, respiratory etc – as this might change what is the most effective training approach (perhaps you would consider submitting your 5-1-5 and ramp data as a case study?). It is also possible that low Sm02 values are caused by something beyond cardiac or respiratory system – there are actually a few threads going at the moment that explore this (See ramp test debate thread).
  • You might want to check out the Moxy Summit from 2016 on the Moxy Academy website – Andri did a presentation which touched on some of the workout ideas you are trying to do here.
  • Some thoughts on the data and questions (bear in mind I am far from an expert on this)
    • In the last two sets the immediate drop in Sm02 was actually generally less steep, despite it actually being a higher starting wattage than the ramp intervals – presumably this is because the delivery system was less “cold” in these ones.
    • I think the answers to your questions are largely dependent on what you are trying to achieve – for example if you trying to gradually push the delivery system, perhaps the sharp drops suggest that the immediate wattage after recovery is too sharp. If you have complete rest you are switching off utilisation (almost completely) but then delivery also starts off the next interval at a lower level than what it would have been if there was light pedalling during recovery.  So if the idea is to try have a the delivery system operating at a lower level at the start of every interval (or to give it more recovery between intervals) then naturally it would make sense that complete rest is going to achieve this to a greater extent than an active recovery would.  However this might then lead to some further questions:
      • If the goal is to start the delivery system at a lower starting point (or more recovery), then a much longer complete rest between intervals might be more effective in achieving this?
      • Does the delivery system operating at a lower starting point (or more recovered) for the interval, target delivery or does it shift some of the stimulation to utilisation (since you need to push a wattage from the start but delivery kicks in with a lag)?
    • The rebounds on the first and second interval are clearly higher than on the others – now this could be because the delivery system was fatigued by the time the latter ones were completed, or it could be because the overall delivery system was working harder in the first set of intervals, or it could be because in the last 2 intervals you continued to pedal after load (which means there is still some utilisation occurring). You could easily test the ideas, for example by just switching the order of the intervals (so doing the fixed wattage intervals first, when you are fresh) or alternating the interval recoveries between complete rest and active recovery. All of these would give you hints as to what might be going on.
    • General point, a delivery system that as a whole is working harder does not necessarily mean a more effective outcome because it is possible that it simply means that the compensator was working harder, rather than the limiter being specifically targeted. 

Development Team Member
Posts: 219
With respect to the second high load: O2Hb actually rebounded back at a higher rate compared to the first high  load, that could indicate:1)Higher CO 2)Lower O2 required to replenished spent energy ATP CP within muscle fibres 3) O2 discurve
I have marked 5 points in the graph indicating o2Hb rebound rate after each load


Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501

Some thoughts on the data and questions (bear in mind I am far from an expert on this)

You  are one of  the   great cooks on here  so  great loud  thinking  and    super interesting connections  you make.
 I hope  to get the permission today  to show  some  really in depth discussion  I  go through with a great  group in Europe  and   SORRY   if  they go  for it  I will show  the huge  dilemma  using VO2  ( VT 1  and VT 2   and   link  them  to  real live feedback. As well I will show  some  opposite ideas  tuna we  discussed  with Stuart  using  left and right leg   or   upper  and lower  body placement. It all depends  on what we like to  achieve.  Thna I hope  to show  some   directions  why HIIT  and SIT  may show a  bigger  VO2  improvement  than   LSD  workouts  but not always.  and  why  the classical idea  of   HIIT   which suppose to improve " anaerobic  ability  does  not show this at all but shows   aerobic  progress.
  The  today's   ability  to link VO2  equipment immediately and live  with NIRS like the newest generation fo VO2  equipment is perfect  to show  the   time lag  and why in the past  we  had no  VO2  reaction in a  15 - 30 seconds  load  and no lactate feedback in the same load.  That's  where we  created  the idea of  anaerobic  alacticid  and as  so many times now  mentioned    newer technology  shows  that this  is  wrong  it is highly  aerobic and highly  lacticid.

Thna  Andrew.  and if I am not mistaken it is Andrew Watson a  former  MTB  top  Canadian  riders  working out  with Steve Neal in o Ontario. He was a great  MTB  athlete  at a  time where   we had a  fun pocket of  top class   riders  here in BC  and they ahd a  rgeta group in Ontario  with Adam Morka  the  husband  and coach of  Emily  Batty , Mike Carrigan , Andre Watson  and more  and we had  here  people like Geoff Kabush , Ryder Hesjedal, Mark Sontag , Kris Sneddon, Martina Feldmann. Great  time    high  level in Canadian  MTB  and lots  of  great  new  ideas, all disappeared  in the last few  years.

Last   , Yes we do not give any training  advice  on here   as it is a interpretation website   from NIRS/ MOXY  and not a  consulting . More  later

Development Team Member
Posts: 12
Thanks for all the responses, steep learning curve for me with all this. I'll do some more reading up. 

Thanks for the kind words Juerg, working hard to bring a fun group like that together again. 


Development Team Member
Posts: 227

Hi Awatson,

This very interesting graph, I would love to know where the Moxy was on. I’m starting to design my physiological workouts as well. What I’m starting with: Clearly defining my weakness, then crafting workouts to eliminate it. I went as far as speculating what will be my next weakness after I resolve current issue, and extra workout time is spent on that “potential” weakness.

I would point on few things that draw my attention, if this is 4x6min at your MAP that is big HIIT workout, 5min at MAP is hard enough, multiply that by 4 it is a lot, when I see only 3min rest between 1 and 2nd attempt it makes me believe it is not really MAP intensity but slightly lower.

I think you were done after first workout, at list from physiological perspective, it would be interesting to see reactions from non-involved muscle during second workout. Without looking at calibration piece or current 5-1-5 all we going to say is kind of stub in the dark speculation.

If you were after gradual desaturation and that was your workout goal, first 6min was most effective, very nice gradual desaturation. The rest not so much, second was not gradual (very effective desaturation, pretty cool interval fro crit development, but not really gradual, it was probably due to initial higher power spike), and last two don’t seem to be deep enough in comparison to first workouts.

Last two intervals without context could make me think you have utilization issues on that muscle or some other muscle was compensating. Again it all depends where Moxy was during workout, and how your calibration data looks like.

I believe you could achieve the same desaturation levels with much lower power.


Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
indicate:1)Higher CO2

for a higher O2Hb  rebound ?
Not  sure  a  higher CO2 in he  system  would shift  the C O2  disscurve  to the ??? That  would mean  what is  easier loading or  deloading   and from where to where ?

Lower O2 required to replenished spent energy ATP CP within muscle fibres
After  second load. That is a  super interesting point  and for a possible answer   search  back on the forum as we covered this  with the reaction of sprint   after 1   or more sprints. 

So lower  O2Hb redound  at rest  could mean  ( O2  disscurve   where   and  why ?)
Now   add  some more feedback   like tHb. If   O2  disscurve   creates a lower  O2Hb rebound  due to the shift  to  the ??? than we  would  often see what  kind  of a tHb reaction.
 If  the tHb  does no react  like   we  assume  than  it could be   what other  situation  at the rest period  if it was a complete rest   or   if it had a  certain intensity. ? Besides  the   load if  availbel  we have another  bio feedback often handy  , which tells  us the load  ( physiological)  in the  rest period  ?  

I am looking at the moment on some  very different reactions   ,  the  reaction of tHb   during the load ?
 Now  one interesting part is :  What is desatruation and  what  do I like to achieve. 
 Do I like to  stimulate  desaturation  or  do I like to overload   the delivery system  and so on.
 In  HIIT  all out   or hard  loads  , what  system  do you really overload  and why do you desatruate?.
 . The idea is  to desaturate perhaps  ,because  I kill or overload  the delivery system.  or  I simply like to stimulate desaturation  without   really overloading  any other systems.
 So as  once mentioned before.  If  I like  to stimulate  utilization I  can simply   reduce  delivery or  if I like to  stimulate delivery I can reduce  utilization.
. Now  the question as well is  whether I like to stimulate  the use  of  O2  or  whether I like to stimulate  the us  of   Cr.P  only . So different ways  to look at the idea and all depends  on  the sport  you  do and the time you have available  for a race ro   an important  event.  Do  you  create a  functional  reaction or a  structural adaptation  which  will last longer.  Example of this in the destauration question.
 Functional possible  reaction. Increase 2.3  BPG
Structural adaptation , increase  mitochondria  volumina.


Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
Seboo  hallo master  chef  
 I believe you could achieve the same desaturation levels with much lower power.

 In  fact the  laids are  very ineffective  to achieve  a conted reactions  as  the  whole team is   screwed.
 You can achieve    much higher desatruation with a  small  % of this load .

Development Team Member
Posts: 219
Juerg sorry for confusion but point 1) should read higher Cardiac Output

So lower  O2Hb rebound  at rest  could mean  ( O2  disscurve   where   and  why ?) 

If diss-curve shifts to the right then O2 will move from blood to muscle easier but it will make the blood absorption of O2 (in the lungs) more difficult.  

What shifts diss-curve to the right:
  1. Increased Temperature
  2. Increased CO2 
  3. H+ concentration lower pH
  4. 2,3 Diphosphoglycerate concentration .... but I'm not really sure about this

THb trend:
  1. Increase in Cardiac Output/Blood Pressure = Tends to increase THb
  2. Increase in Muscle compression = Tends to decrease THb
  3. Vasodilation chemicals: CO2, low pH and others = Tends to increase THb
  4. Vasoconstrictor chemicals: O2, and others = Tends to decrease THb

Now   add  some more feedback   like tHb. If   O2  disscurve   creates a lower  O2Hb rebound  due to the shift  to  the ??? than we  would  often see what  kind  of a tHb reaction.

If the load stimulates the release + build up of Vasodilation chemical it would increase THb and would also shift diss-curve to the right, during the start of a full rest period we may see THb raising before SMO2.  


Development Team Member
Posts: 12
For those interested a little more info and data, a ramp and a 5 -1 -5, ramp I did more or less to failure. The 5-1-5 app crashed so there is limited data there. I will muster up the motivation to do another one. 

And the moxy was on R VL for all of my workouts so far. 

Appreciate all the feedback so far, given me a lot to think about. 

Hope to be back soon with another example and bounce some interpretation ideas around. 


Attached Files
csv awramp.csv (64.99 KB, 10 views)
csv AW515.csv (136.72 KB, 13 views)


Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
Bobby  good  cooking  great  feedback  YES

Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
In  good  cyclists ,like  you, the VL is not  an optimal  place to fix  moxy  you  get more out of  RF  and a  non priority muscle or on VL and RF  to see the intermuscular  coordination pattern. As well RF is a bi articular muscle, so you can see   more  the integration of  hip flexion ( pulling on pedals )  compared  just  with  pushing  the pedals .  For  optimal  and simple   assessments  the peripedal   software is the easiest  to use  ( up  to  8 MOXYs live possible )and the best way to get fast  feedback's without   overloading the screens  . As well you can get rid  of  all  information's like wattage  or other feedback's  you really  do no need  for   NIRS  interpretations.
There is a new  software  soon on the market for live workout feedbacks and more including interpretations of   5 1 5  ideas  or 5  min step test ideas

Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
 Andrew  here some start  thought, but   may get back with some more on your  " desatruation " attempt.

after doing a couple ramp tests and a 5-1-5 it look like I currently have a delivery limiter. Hitting downwards of 20%. 

Knowing your   initial  coach ( steve  [wink]  an what  you did  I  would be not surprised  that you  look at  delivery limitation.
Not  that the training  was  not good , but  it  was really focusing  at that time on  vascularisation ( angiogenssis based on the physical idea [wink]  and mitochondrial development  and very limited  to no  focus on delivery systems. Now  that  makes often sense in the junior  age groups  but  tuna  the next step is  to  focus as well on deliver  development. You know better tuna most readers on here  how our  group  from the  west coats   was developed in hat direction as the in ital  step of physiological  training  and  how  successful we where not just   in Canada, but world wide.

So  after this initial   development into structural stability    the next step  than is  the same in cardiac  and respiratory systems.
  The problem is   that  again i needs  some time.
 So  as you know there was  one  athlete  who was not patient  enough  and had a  very dominant utilization and  muscular  developed  system.  but not yet   the  delivery we can create. So  the  next step is  unfortunately    chemical  support  (  some  will call it  with right  cheating ). So  he  changed  to  a famous  Pro  group  and the   staff there  and the  athlete very  fast recognized the  delivery limitation, but  had  and still have no clue  how  to  develop delivery ability   in a legal  way. So  with some small  ( big  help )  they   created  an easy  way  to deliver  much more  O2  to the   extremely well developed utilization system  and   the  performance shows  that very fast. The rest is history. 

Physiological  assessments   the way  we  promote it with NIRS  can help  coaches  to recognize  at the right time  when to focus  on   utilization  workouts   and when on delivery workouts. 
 There is  (  sorry ) no such thing like  periodization based on   weeks and month  but there is  such a  thing like physiological  development , which than creates a natural  " periodization " based on the  persons   individual ability   to  either work  functionally or structurally.
 True there  are  " guidelines"  but as we have in rehabilitation, one bone  fracture in one person may heal much faster than the  6 weeks  and in another person much slower than  the  6 weeks  so you   guide with   but you assess  individual when you can start more load or less load . This is  with any physiological  reaction  from   post surgery  to  any sport injury  and so on. 
 Training in sport is  a more or less a planned  " injury "  to help to stimulate a  better situation, so   the " healing "  depends  on  many    points  from nutrition  to age  to    hormones  and so on.

are my last two (classic) intervals accomplishing the goal of gradual desaturation?

A drop in SmO2  seem to  argue  yes  you  desaturated. 
  the goal cannot be just to desatruate. You have to look, whether you like to  stimulate  desaturation by inhibiting  the delivery  or  you  desatruate  by  " burning " out   the  delivery.
 In the first case  you avoid  a  load  on delivery system to give them a break or   as  in some sports  they can  not deliver  anyway  during a load  just during  rest.
In the second  case, you like to push the delivery to each limit  so  you have to compensate  with  desaturation. Both may end up  with a  low SmO2  ,  but   both  have very different ideas on what you like to stimulate.
  Summary .
In your  workout  you " desaturated"  in  at least the first 3  cases,  but you  had very different  stimmulis  set   so three different workouts   to achieve  a desaturation. If  that was the plan great , if no  well you  did three different ideas in one workout    without knowing it  but you may have  had similar  wattage  levels,  which again shows  you hat  wattage  as a  way  of  controlling stimulation has its limitation. 

Development Team Member
Posts: 227

5-1-5 has only first 2 steps, I can only say you were most likely recovered.

Ramp is interesting, only in the last load we can see quite big tHb increase, Since moxy was on VL muscle compression was probably not letting tHb to increase earlier, in the last load a lot of CO2 accumulated causing vasodilation, it would be interesting to see confirmation from noninvolved muscle eg. deltoid.

As expected small SmO2 dip at each load increase (last 3). Nice and steady HR increase, it does not have the same trend as tHb increase due to probably Moxy placement on VL.

 Up to about 900-930 (I guess seconds) you are in Oxy zone, Smo2 and tHb increases, then muscle compression suppresses tHb a bit, and SmO2 is slightly in the down trend. Increased tHb trend from 1850 could be also caused by position change or help form compensators, “all the muscles on board” reading from Deltoid would confirm/deny. (I have similar curve on my left leg.) Smo2 curve is much steeper in last load in comparison to the load before.

At the end nice SmO2 and tHb rebound.

I would try to confirm tHb increase in last step, that might bring some light on to the limiter type, just to be 100% sure.


Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
I like to  add to seboos  great  thoughts  some additional  information to  think through.

Below the  first three loads   Andrew  started out  for the  " desaturation idea."

He  dropped as you can see down to  about  40 %  SmO2 in all three cases.

three loads  thb  smo2  wiht circles..jpg

o if  you look in the circles  just  the  lowest  SmO2  we  could argue  yes he desaturated three times  to the same level. Is  it low . Well you  decide   form 80 - 85  to  40  means  about  have  of the  O2  he  has on Hb and Mb  he  could activate   the rest  was still sitting there . More interesting is  the tHb reaction in comparison  to the SmO2  trend\You can easy see three different  trends in tHb  which often can be used  as a feedback  not just of  blood  flow or volume but as we discus  before as well  as a part of  muscle activation trend.
 Below  an example  we discussed as a review
Semg  and tHb  can have very similar trends  That is because a higher SEMG  can mean a higher muscle compression  to tHb changes  and a lower  SEMG can mean a  lower  compresssion.
Now important
 no cook book!!!.  why?.
If  we reach a  certain high  SEMG  so we create  an occlusion(outflow problem) than  we see the opposite,  a  higher SEMG  will create a higher tHb, if  it  is in the occlusion level and than it drops  together with  the  tHb if  we release  the occlusion so will  the SEMG. To  verify  whether we have an occlusion or  not  we cna combine  therefor  SEMG  and tHB  or  we can use  just NIRS alone .  So below is a the example.
What doe sit show   Occlusion trend or not .

semg  and  thb hiit.jpg

bove  SmO2  and SEMG  trend  and below  tHb  and SEMG tend  on the VL  during a  HIIT  load. Why  could the  wattage still be maintain  and what  happened in the VL in this case. ?

Now  back  to the  three  circles .
Did  he desaturate ?. Sure
Did  he desaturate  far  ?
Did he  reached  the desaturation  all three times  with the same physiological stimulation ?
Could he use   thee power as a guide   in this cases.
Below  an overlap graph of power, tHb  and SmO2 

all wiht  circles.jpg

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