Dr. Michele Ferrari Training Method

I want to do an overview into Dr. Ferrari’s coaching method. I am not covering anything to do with performance enhancing drugs, this is simply an overview into the way Dr. Ferrari coaches.

Ferrari’s Zones

Dr. Ferrari uses five training zones that are created with regular lab and field testing of lactate, power output, VAM and heart rate. His zones are:

  • Lento Rigenerativo (Very Slow) – just how it sounds, nice and slow.
  • Lento (Slow) – Lento is done at a slow pace/speed and is simply miles in the legs.
  • Medio (Medium) – This is more challenging effort. The majority of high spinning sessions are done at this level.
  • Soglia (Threshold) – Soglia is very close and fluctuates around threshold.
  • Super Soglia (Super threshold) – This is very close to maximum effort.

Translating Ferrarie’s zones to FTP

So looking at a couple of athlete’s files that Dr. Ferrarie coached and or consulted, translating MF zone list to a FTP test would look something like

  • Lento Rigenerativo < – 72% of FTP
  • Lento – 72% – 82% of FTP
  • Medio – 82% -91% of FTP
  • Soglia – 91% – 101% of FTP
  • Super Soglia – 101% > of FTP

Training Principle

Dr. Ferrarie’s training method is “threshold method” and he made augments that this method received better results than “polarized training” with regards to performance.

Medio would be between 20-40% of the total volume however it could be higher in the off season and lower during the race season. Dr. Ferrarie uses Medio to build the base fitness for his athletes. Soglia sessions would generally be given twice per week and the rest of the training in the week was done mostly at Lento.

One part that I struggled to fine was apart from short 20-30 second surges, there was no finding of VO2 max work. most of the intervals/efforts were done at or hovering just under threshold. All up, He gives very little Super Soglia. This is inline with an interview Lance Armstrong gave earlier 2020 that Ferrarie’s philosophy “We never, ever, ever, ever, ever trained above threshold” Armstrong said, “The only time you would get efforts above lactate threshold was in races.”

Weight Loss

Dr. Ferrarie is well known for telling his athletes that they are too fat even if they are bordering on being anorexic. He would get athletes to weigh food so they consumed the right amount of nutrition and not to consume any more or any less.

When it would come to weight loss and calorie deficiency, he wouldn’t let his athletes go more than two weeks in a row. If the athlete had a good amount of weight to lose, he would get them to be calorie deficit in two week blocks as the quality of the training was more effective with performance improvements.

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