How Zwift training plans work (duration, type, cost)

Wishing to improve your cycling fitness? You can either take a coach or follow a training plan for a few weeks to do some structured workouts. If you enjoy riding in Zwift, or plan to do it, you probably wonder if you can find training plans on the platform and how good they are.

Let’s see in detail all about Zwift cycling training plans.

Does Zwift have training plans?

Zwift has 15 training plans available in the game for cycling. You will find beginner, intermediate and advanced plans which last between 3 and 12 weeks. Some focus on strength (FTP for instance), others on speed or endurance.

Don’t forget that you need to be properly equipped to perform your training plan in the best way possible. To do that, why not read my article about the best accessories you need with a smart trainer?

How do Zwift training plans work?

Zwift defines a specific number of workouts to perform per week, as specified in the training plan selected. The workouts get unlocked one by one and you are given a couple of days to complete them. You earn experience points and stars as you successfully complete workouts.

Zwift training plans are flexible. All plans start on Monday but you can join at any time. Your first week of training will start the following Monday. In the meantime, you will be given the opportunity to do a few workouts to prepare and “warm-up”. But these are optional.

A number of training plans can be adjusted in duration. When selecting the training plan, you will have to choose the duration of the plan. Select cautiously as it is not possible to modify afterward.

Example of Zwift training plan duration adjustment (8 weeks here)
Example of Zwift training plan duration adjustment (4 weeks here)

The workouts get unlocked one by one during the week. Zwift really wants you to follow the plan, especially the rest days. This is why you can’t start a week by doing the entire week workouts in a row, or even completing them on the first days of the week. To prevent the overload and stress on your body, Zwift will delay the start of some workouts to make sure you take the necessary rest times between workouts.

Finally, once you finish a training plan you get a new badge in your collection 🙂

Also doing a training plan will help you level up faster: every time you complete correctly a workout block you get extra xp in the game, leading to increasing levels faster than just riding in the worlds.

What Zwift training plan should I choose?

You should choose a training plan based on your objective. For a start, as a beginner, I would recommend the ‘FTP builder‘ and for intermediate riders, ‘Build Me Up‘ training plan. This one is particularly challenging and well thought to improve your fitness level!

In the picture below, you will find the entire list of cycling training plans available on Zwift. You can see they are categorized under beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. They vary in length and workload.

Zwift cycling training plans

Beginner training plans

First, if you wish to have an introduction to the world of training plans on Zwift, there is a training plan available specifically for that. Indeed, “Zwift 101: cycling” training plan is intended to show you how it works on a very short example: 1 week-long training plan with 2 hours of training during the week.

Of course, this plan is not meant to improve your fitness level. But it’s a good introduction and it’s never a bad thing to perform a workout.

As a first training plan, I find ‘FTP builder‘ as a good beginner plan. It’s not too long but challenging enough to have to keep strong and organised to complete it till the end. It’s actually the first plan I did and I increased my FTP by 20W. It’s perfect to get used to the structured workouts. It’s not too difficult and easy to understand.

If you are new to Zwift, I have written a complete article about how FTP is handled by Zwift:

After it depends on your objectives:

  • Fondo‘ is good to build up endurance and spend more time on the saddle.
  • Peddle Pounder‘ is more for gravel-focused cycling: meaning it includes plenty of workouts just below your FTP.
  • Back to Fitness‘ is a long training plan with not many workouts per week. The idea is to ease you into doing some sport more often, get used to exercising regularly. It’s perfect for people back from injuries or after long break without sport.

Intermediate training plans

The best intermediate training plan on Zwift is ‘Build Me Up‘. This one is quite challenging but you really get to see the results. I have increased my FTP by 40W with this training plan. There is a mix of endurance, tempo, threshold, and Vo2max workouts inside the plan. There is a great variety from one workout to another. I must admit I struggled a bit but I really enjoyed this plan.

Workout example from Build Me Up training plan

Other intermediate training plans are:

  • Active Off Season‘: this one is about building endurance during the winter month. This plan includes some long workouts and will have some weeks with a high load of cycling. So you definitely need to have time in your calendar to do it.
  • Zwift Racing‘: this one is about improving your racing fitness, especially in Zwift where the start of a race is like the final sprint of a pro race.
  • Dirt Destroyer‘: this plan will help you power your bike at low cadence, like going up-hill with a mountain bike. The workouts will ask you to vary a lot your cadence from one block to another.

Advanced training plans

Crit Crusher‘ is probably the most known advanced plan on Zwift. It’s not the most difficult one but it focuses on sprinting. This is tough for most people and generally something we don’t practice too much. So it’s about hard efforts in short periods of time.

Other advanced training plans are:

  • SingleTrack Slayer‘ is about pedalling drills and high intensity workouts. It’s tough and demanding.
  • TT Tune up‘ is intended to get better at time trials. The particularity of this one is that you have to perform 6 workouts a week. That’s little rest and lots of hard work.

List of Zwift training plans

Zwift training planLevelDurationTime/weekStress points
Zwift 101: cyclingEveryone1 week2h/week130 per week
FTP builderBeginner4-6 weeks5h/week255 per week
FondoBeginner3-4 weeks3h/week177 per week
Peddle PounderBeginner5-6 weeks3h/week199 per week
Back to FitnessBeginner10-12 weeks1h/week84 per week
Build Me UpIntermediate10-12 weeks5h/week318 per week
Active Off SeasonIntermediate8-12 weeks8h/week446 per week
Zwift RacingIntermediate4-6 weeks4h/week246 per week
Dirt DestroyerIntermediate4-6 weeks5h/week273 per week
Crit CrusherAdvanced4-8 weeks4h/week223 per week
SingleTrack SlayerAdvanced7-10 weeks7h/week366 per week
TT Tune UpAdvanced5-8 weeks6h/week391 per week
Gran FondoIntermediate5-8 weeks5h/week290 per week
Gravel GrinderIntermediate7-12 weeks5h/week283 per week
Multi-sport MixerEveryone4-6 weeks27km/week733 per week

Do Zwift training plan cost money?

Zwift training plans are free for everyone. It’s part of the membership fee to access the game. In other words, you don’t have to pay anything other than the Zwift monthly subscription of 14.99$/month.

Are Zwift training plans good?

Zwift training plans are not the best but are decent. They mix and match exercises a lot during a workout to keep you interested and motivated but this is not ideal in terms of training choice. Overall they work great for beginner cyclists but maybe not worth it for really sporty people.

Can you pause Zwift training plan?

It is not possible to pause your Zwift training plan once started. Whether you are sick or injured, it’s not possible to delay the next workout. You either have to skip it (or as many as needed) or stop the training plan and restart it from the beginning.

Things you need with your smart tra...
Things you need with your smart trainer

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