Ultimate Guide To The Best Zwift Training Plans

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Although Zwift may be the go-to cycling app for cyclists looking for a fun distraction to break up the boredom of miles and miles on your indoor trainer, there’s a lot more to Zwift than just the entertainment its virtual cycling world provides.

The platform offers a large library of Zwift training plans and workouts too.

But, what are the best Zwift training plans? What types of Zwift workout plans and stand-alone workouts are available on the app?

In this article, we’ll share our picks for the best Zwift training plans for cyclists of different fitness levels and goals, and tips for following Zwift workout plans. We’ll be covering: 

  • What Are Zwift Training Plans?
  • The 9 Best Zwift Training Plans
  • How do Zwift Training Plans Work?
  • Tips for Following Zwift Workout Plans

Let’s dive in! 

Best Zwift Training Plans: Title Image

What Are Zwift Training Plans?

Zwift currently offers about 14 cycling training plans, seven running training plans, and one multisport training plan.

Within the Zwift cycling training plans, there are plans for riders of different levels and cycling goals.

The 9 Best Zwift Training Plans

Zwift categorizes the training plans into three different tiers: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

A flat, forested road on Zwift.
Credit: Zwift

Best Zwift Training Plans: Beginner Level

The beginner Zwift training plans are ideal for new cyclists or those who are getting back on the bike after an extended time off.

Here are some of the best Zwift training plans for beginners:

#1. Zwift 101

Time Commitment: 1 Week; 2 Hours per Week.

The Zwift 101 plan is the ultimate beginner-friendly introduction to Zwift and structured interval training.

There are a couple of quick introductory workouts to help familiarize yourself with the Zwift interface and then just two of the most popular short workouts.

This plan is great if you are totally new to Zwift. There is a ramp test in the middle of the week that will help you estimate your FTP, which you will need for basically every other Zwift training plan.

#2. FTP Builder

Time Commitment: 4-6 Weeks; 5 Hours per Week

One of the most popular training plans on Zwift is the FTP Builder.

This plan is aimed at increasing your sustainable aerobic power, so most of the workouts are endurance rides and tempo intervals.

Most rides are under an hour, and if you haven’t done much structured interval training before, this is a great Zwift training plan to get started with.

#3. Fondo

Time Commitment: 3-4 Weeks; 3 Hours per Week

If you are training for a specific event or a long ride, the Fondo Plan will help build your endurance while also interspersing tempo and threshold work to improve your overall fitness.

#4. Back to Fitness

Time Commitment: 0-12 Weeks; 1 Hour per Week

The Back to Fitness plan was designed by former pro racers and Olympic gold medalists Kristin Armstrong and Dani Rowe to help cyclists build back fitness after time off.

There are only two short workouts every week. Many riders supplement the plan with other endurance rides after the first couple of weeks to help progress their fitness even faster.

A cyclist rides her Zwift bike in her living room.
Credit: Zwift

Best Zwift Training Plans: Intermediate Level

#1. Active Offseason

Time Commitment: 8-12 Weeks; 9 Hours per Week

The Active Offseason plan is designed to provide structure to winter training. The plan requires about nine hours of training per week, combining endurance, tempo, and threshold efforts.

There are some pretty hefty workouts in the plan, so it is not necessarily a great training plan for beginners.

#2. Build Me Up

Time Commitment: 10-12 Weeks; 5 Hours per Week

The Build Me Up plan focuses heavily on tempo, threshold, and Vo2 max intervals to help boost your fitness in a time-efficient way.

#3. Zwift Racing

Time Commitment: 4-6 Weeks; 4 Hours per Week

The Zwift Racing training plan is designed to help you either begin your foray into Zwift racing or improve your times in the competitive circuit.

Hairpin on a steep mountain road on Zwift.
Credit: Zwift

Best Zwift Training Plans: Advanced Level

#1. Crit Crusher

Time Commitment: 4-8 Weeks; 4 Hours per Week

The Crit Crusher is designed to be used as a race tune-up for criterium races, cyclocross races, or other short events.

It is all about short, fast, hard efforts to get you tuned up for your race, rather than building base fitness.

#2. TT Tune-Up

Time Commitment: 5-8 Weeks; 7 Hours per Week

The Zwift TT Tune-Up training plan is one of the most time-intensive training plans on offer. There are six workouts per week.

The goal is – unsurprisingly – to help prepare you for time trials.

A cyclist rides on Zwift in a blue-painted garage.
Credit: Zwift

How do Zwift Training Plans Work?

All of the Zwift training plans are included with your membership and do not cost any additional money.

You can sign up for a training plan on any day of the week; however, all of the training plans officially start on a Monday.

This means that you can either wait until the next Monday to begin the plan if you are signing up on a day other than Monday, or you are given the option to do suggested pre-plan workouts prior to the next Monday when your training plan officially kicks off.

If you decide to do one of your scheduled workouts outdoors, you can tap the “I did it!” in the bottom right corner of the workout screen. 

Your workout will automatically appear on your Zwift Start screen when you log into the app or online platform, but if you decide that you want to skip the scheduled workout to join an event, group ride, or just a free ride, you can tap “Clear.”

Then, the scheduled workout will disappear and you can navigate Zwift as you normally would and choose whatever type of ride you want to do instead.

When you complete one of the training plans, you get a badge. You can see the badge on the screen in the tab with all of the training plans.

Also, when you have completed 80% of your training plan, a special pair of socks is unlocked as a reward. It’s the little things, eh?

Gameplay shot of a race in Zwift.
Credit: Zwift

Tips for Following Zwift Workout Plans

Do an FTP Test First

One of the best tips for maximizing the effectiveness of whatever Zwift training plan you take on is to do an FTP (Functional Threshold Power) test prior to beginning the plan.

You want to have the most up-to-date FTP data because this will help ensure that your intervals are actually tailored to your current level of fitness and on target for your goals.

If you believe you have a good FTP test result that reflects your current level of fitness, you should consider taking on the Zwift zone benchmarking test as one of your pre-plan workouts.

Essentially, the zone benchmarking test helps you make sure that your zones are set properly and that your FTP indeed matches your current fitness level.

If you do not have an up-to-date FTP, definitely consider getting one of those in before your training plan kicks off the following Monday.

There is also a pre-plan workout that includes a ramp test to estimate your FTP. This can be a good option if you don’t want to do another FTP test.

Then, you can try the zone benchmarking test after you have done the ramp test to see how accurate your training zones seem to be during an actual workout.

The peloton in the virtual Tour de Zwift.
Credit: Zwift

Get to Know Stress Points

All of the workouts found on the Zwift training plans get rated in terms of difficulty, using “stress points.”

The longer and/or more intense a workout is, the higher the stress points score, while shorter rides or recovery workouts will have a lower stress point score.

The maximum stress score that a cyclist can generate in one hour is 100.

This stress score would represent the effort level equivalent to riding for the entire hour at exactly your FTP.

The benefit of stress point scores is that they are all relative, meaning that riders of different levels will still see the same stress points score for a workout, but fitter cyclists will be riding at a higher power level relative to a novice.

Additionally, the stress points metric helps quantify the relative physiological demand of the workout. This can help you be mindful of how much recovery you need to take after the session.

Although there are some exceptions, in general, you will find that the stress points scores for Zwift training plans are lower for the “beginner” training plans, slightly higher for the “intermediate” training plans, and highest for the workouts for the “advanced” training plans.

Download the Zwift Companion App

The Zwift Companion App is a mobile app that can be quite helpful when you are following one of the training plans in Zwift, it can prompt you with workout reminders to keep you on track with your training.

You can also view upcoming events and see all of your training in one place.

Ready to try a training plan on Zwift? You can sign up for Zwift here!

Found this guide helpful? Check out more from the BikeTips experts below!

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With over a decade of experience as a certified personal trainer, two Masters degrees (Exercise Science and Prosthetics and Orthotics), and as a UESCA-certified endurance nutrition and triathlon coach, Amber is as well-qualified as they come when it comes to handling sports science topics for BikeTips. Amber's experience as a triathlon coach demonstrates her broad and deep knowledge of performance cycling.

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