Please find below the 8 Training Levels we use for categorising the intensity spectrum for cycling. You will find percentages of Functional Threshold Power (FTP), percentages of Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR), Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE), and a descriptive phrase of how each intensity should feel.
You will notice that there are 2 sub-levels within Level 6. Whilst the adaptations you receive from the adjacent sub-level will be very similar, I believe they warrant being distinguishable from one another, due to the significant differences they typically produce in workout prescription. I am very aware the terms 'VO2max' and 'Maximum Aerobic Power' are frequently used interchangeably in literature. They are simply convenient names that I have used to distinguish between two intensities that will illicit VO2max. I could equally have named them Aerobic Capacity-1 and Aerobic Capacity-2.
Please note, the Power to Heart Rate relationship is far from precise, and will often vary greatly. This occurs not only between individuals, but also from day to day within the same individual. It will also drift within the same particular training session. Although heart rate can be extremely useful for ensuring the intensity of an easy session remains low enough, it simply isn't practical to be used for higher intensity workouts. For any intensity above your Aerobic Threshold, it becomes quite problematic to use as a guide to monitor exertion. For intensities above your Anaerobic Threshold - it becomes completely redundant.
Power trumps Heart Rate in the majority of instances, but neither should ever be followed blindly. Metrics such as these should only be used as an approximate guide to inform your perceived exertion. How you are actually 'feeling' during any given workout, should always take precedence.
LEVEL 8 - SPRINT
LEVEL 7 - ANAEROBIC CAPACITY
LEVEL 6b - MAXIMUM AEROBIC POWER
LEVEL 6a - VO2MAX
'Very Hard to Extremely Hard'
LEVEL 5 - SUPER-THRESHOLD
'Hard to Very Hard'
LEVEL 4/5 - ANAEROBIC THRESHOLD
'Comfortably Hard to Hard'
LEVEL 4 - SUB-THRESHOLD
LEVEL 3 - TEMPO
'Moderate to Comfortably Hard'
LEVEL 2/3 - AEROBIC THRESHOLD
'Easy to Moderate'
LEVEL 2 - ENDURANCE
LEVEL 1 - ACTIVE RECOVERY
To calculate your own specific Training Levels that are used within the THP system - use our Training Level Calculator