Hammer Climb 1 : what rider type does it favour?

I’ve had a couple of goes at this now. Once the day after a 3 hour Zwift race so probably a bit ambitious. But also now when pretty well rested. I get about 35 minutes in and my legs can’t keep up. Knock back to 90% intensity and I can get to the end of the intense section, then back up to 100% for the last 45 minutes.

With the numbers I have I can just about do 9 Hammers and A Very Dark Place. Becuase I’m nowhere near doing this one I now really want to. So what sort of rider type does it suit? My profile thinks I’m a TT rider, with MAP noticeably better than AC and NM. What am I likely to need to work on? Who has done it, and what are your strengths?


@sheepish I have done it once. I didn’t come in completely rested and made it through two laps before having to dial things down for the 3rd lap. My strength is sustained and my weakness is VO2 but I do have a lot of experience with racing. In my opinion, this is one of toughest workouts in SYSTM. I need to try it again and will probably do so a few weeks after the TOS. I know I can make it through the whole thing at 100% as long as I bring my A game.


I’ve tried this twice. I quit the first time at just around an hour in. It was getting very hard and I was thinking that I just wasn’t having a good day.

I tried it again two days ago. I got to about 1:02 before I had to dial it down to 95%, then 90%. Twenty minutes later I was able to dial it back up to 100%. At some point the coach says “I can see that you’re cooked”. I was like “yeah, 20 minutes ago”. I got to the 2nd to last lap (15 minutes remaining in the ride) and had to quit because I felt like I was going to vomit. When I looked in the mirror I was really pale and I’m glad I made the choice to quit. Took me about half an hour to recover.

This is the hardest workout that I’ve done in the Sufferfest.

The last few laps seems like they are going to be easy relative to the first half, but at that point even maintaining 80% of FTP is a struggle.

I think next time I try it I will go at 95% the whole time and see how that treats me.

I’m an Attacker type and I’m usually pretty good at recovering from repeated hard efforts. AC is my strength and MAP my weakness. The ProRides are my favorite videos because they seem to play to my strengths.


I’ve moved the topic to ‘Pro Rides’ category.
Hopefully a coach can chip in. Let’s tag @Coach.Mac.C @Coach.Neal.H


Looks like a pretty epic ride!

I’d say this favors a rider with good endurance, and that’s likely way more important than rider type. Maybe there’s correlations there but not causal; you could be a TTer with “sustained” strength (because your tested ftp is high) but that won’t matter here if your time to exhaustion is only 35 mins / you can’t maintain a high percentage of that ftp for 2 hrs. Real test of mettle! But among riders with good endurance, I’d say it probably favors those that are well balanced and can recover quickly.

One thing to note, just like most “racing” videos, this is a kitchen-sink ride and because of its length will be quite taxing. I would not make this a bread and butter w/o. At least personally, I’d use this either (I) as a substitute for a race (and then start at 100% and try to push higher) or (II) the day after a hard workout or race, to simulate a stage race (in which case I’d try to complete at whatever % I can). But the latter I would do very judiciously, like training camp style with plenty of rest planned after.


Hey @sheepish Welcome to the SYSTM Forum! This is not a workout where you just wake up and get on your bike and go! Hammer Climb 1 has a large focus on AC and MAP. It’s a Pro Ride and Race Simulation so you will need to be firing on all cylinders. Although AC and MAP are the main focus, FTP and NM are not forgotten! So it’s a challenging workout. It’s a great opportunity to practice your pre race routine and nutrition. You are likely to need to work on your Endurance and your AC to conquer this one.

A few workouts to help get you dialed in-

14 Vise Grips- MAP and AC focus
Revolver is Easy (Mash-Up)- AC and MAP focus
Violator- AC and NM focus
The Chores- MAP and FTP focus
Threshold Over-Unders: 4 Sets of 6- FTP and MAP focus
As you mentioned, Nine Hammers and A Very Dark Place

I know know lot’s of intensity above and you can’t do them all in one week. Depending on how much time you have available to train I would recommend picking 1-2 per week as well as harder sub threshold ride such as GCN Aerobic Endurance!

You can’t forget about your Endurance though- 2-4 hrs with Tempo

If you haven’t already, I recommend you check out our Training Plans- Look for Event Prep-Online-Virtual Racing and I suggest you include Strength and Yoga!

Happy Training


@Coach.Simon.B nailed it.
You need a good combo of Anaerobic Capacity and Muscular Endurance along with being properly fueled to get through this session at 100% without being the same level of freshness you need for Full Frontal.
If you do have superior MAP/FTP you might want to see what cadence you were maintaining for the effort. Riding at a cadence that is too low will exacerbate both AC and Muscular Endurance weaknesses.
That being said with a few tweaks this is a great training session to address both of those areas. My recommendation would be to drop FTP targets by 15% and MAP targets by 5%. This allows a to hit all the AC efforts thanks to a bit of extra recovery from the ‘easier’ FTP sections and takes the edge of some of the MAP efforts. It will still be a VERY HARD session for the first 90 minutes. It also allows you to up the FTP intensity back to 100% for the final portion to really drive home the Muscular Endurance benefits.

I’ll wrap up by saying this is (currently) a unique ProRide since it’s the only one where the rider gets dropped/ falls off the pack because they hit their 100% max and simply could not do anymore. Another way of saying that, if you can get through this session and say ‘that wasn’t too bad’ you need to retest because your current 4DP settings are a bit too low.


I don’t know who it favors, if anyone, but it is on my calendar for tomorrow. I will start at 100% and see what happens. It is one of two ProRides I have not yet done. The other one, not so coincidentally, is on my calendar for the first day of ToS.


both look terrible! good luck :muscle:

Hammer Climb 1 is in the books at 100%! :face_exhaling:

Here is what I learned, or at least think helped:

  1. There is clearly something to the Endurance aspect. I think my training as a triathlete was helpful.

  2. I also spent much of the past 8 weeks working on improving my cadence. That was a big help here. I was spinning up at 105-110 for a lot of the big efforts early on. It helped saved the legs for the long haul.

  3. Learning to recover quickly is the only way to make it through this at 100%.

  4. This ride will wear you down. For the first hour of the actual ride after the warm up, I was doing OK with the high cadence/quick recovery process. But at that point the recoveries were just not as effective, so the next effort was that much harder.

  5. By the 90-100 minute mark, where the ride looks easier, don’t get your hopes up. My legs were fried. Even though much of that section was at or sub threshold, I was struggling to hold cadence at the mid 80 to low 90s.

  6. With about 9 minutes to go I really wanted to hit one of the last efforts back at the 105 cadence. It lasted maybe 20 seconds. Nothing left in the legs.

  7. Fueling is crucial. I had one 28oz bottle with about 70 carbs in it and two plain water bottles 28oz and 24 oz. I also had a stroopwafel. I nursed the carb bottle for about 75 minutes along with about 1/3rd of the bigger water bottle. I ended up with less than half of the smaller water bottle when I was done. I had the stroopwafel with about 30 minutes left.

  8. This has a VERY SHORT recovery at the end. Resist the temptation to jump off the bike right at the end. I just did an easy spin for 10 minutes.

This is a doable ride at 100% but it is tough. My legs are sore even after the spin and some stretching. So I will hit the foam rollers and just do a recovery ride tomorrow.


Excellent to know - thank you. And well done!


I am a Pursuiter and repeated efforts my weakness. I did Hammer Climb 1 yesterday without much preparation nor having read this thread first! Tough workout. Some of the Intervals tipped me into NM territory and therefore a big strain on the body. I fueled ok and managed to get through the first 4 or maybe 5 sets of intervals at 100%. By that point my legs were pretty cooked so I dropped down to 90% for a couple of intervals before going back to 95% and then 100% for the last 30 minutes or so around threshold/tempo ranges.
For the MAP/AC/NM blocks It helped me to think that although the wattage targets were really high, in several cases the intervals were short and followed by some albeit brief recoveries around 100w or so.
Coming to the workout fresh and prepared definitely recommended :slight_smile:


@sheepish Finished Hammer Climb at 100% today. I actually had not done it before - in my earlier post I was confusing it with Hammer Chase. I found it pretty intense but felt that the rest/downhill sections were well timed and let me get the recovery I needed to continue.

Most of the intensity is in the 1st hour after the 10 minute warm-up. If you can get to around 1 hour remaining then the rest becomes more of a tempo ride with lots of spinning around 65% FTP.

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