FTP Testing

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FTP Testing

Postby Xplora » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:31 pm

Finished my first test with the Quarq tonight on the trainer. Not even CLOSE to expectations, although it shows some serious issues with my calibration protocol for another ride LOL

The Allan/Coggan 3/20 minute test seems a bit difficult to judge. I did the maths and according to Friel, I needed to aim at an FTP of 300W for my weight and the funky maths for the 3 minute test got me 365W as an aim. I hit my 3 minute target, but damned if I was even CLOSE for the 20 minute test. I was waaay under their prescribed 200W for the "rest" intervals. I'm taking it with a grain of salt, and I haven't ridden much in the past 3 weeks, but golly. Looking forward to a longer race so I can just use that ;)

Alex has a brilliant article on this; what experience have others had? I feel Friel's 30 minute test might be more useful but he seems a bit rough and ready with his maths :lol:
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by BNA » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:05 am

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Re: FTP Testing

Postby march83 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:05 am

can you provide a link to the protocol that you used? I just keep it simple and do a 2x20 session (which i'm doing a few times a week anyway), hit 95% FTP for the 1st interval, empty myself into the 2nd interval and i use 95% of that value as my FTP.

it's critical that you make sure you check your zero offset prior to starting the session, after warming up and then again at any opportunity you get after that. i regularly do 2x20s on my rollers with my quarq and can see 30-40 point difference between the first and last zero.

have you got sufficient cooling in place? even on sunday afternoon when it was about 15 degrees in my garage i was pumping the fan on the highest setting just to stay comfortable.

lastly, and probably most significantly, unless you've done lots of TTs or lots of trainer time in the past, then riding steady state for 20-30 minutes is actually really really hard and a skill that needs to be developed. give it time - you'll make "newb gains" as you get better at steady state riding, responding to the static inertia of the trainer and the mental aspect of it all.

tbh, don't stress the results, just keep training and repeat the testing in a week or 2 and you'll probably do significantly better even if your fitness hasn't really changed.
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby dalai47 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:47 am

I am sure it is one of Alex's 7 deadly sins, but I have found 95% from the last 20 minutes of a TT compares well to FTP from 40km TT's I''ve done.
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby Xplora » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:20 am

It's straight out of the Allan/Coggan Training with Power book. Kurt Kinetic's website has a quick rundown. I skimped on the warmup a little bit. They prescribe 20 minutes but it's well outside my normal warmup regime (some downhill riding at 40kmh for a few hundred metres then a couple minutes of shallow climbing is the topography at my place) so I just did ten. Had a fan on me during the efforts (recovering from a minor sore throat so it wasn't going the whole time). I calibrated before the session, calibration during the session sounds like a pain. I don't think I can calibrate midsession on the Bryton. Will pedalling backwards do anything on the older Quarqs? Talking Cinqo or S975... very hard to say what's going to work according to the manual lol

I should say I'm not stressed, but rather that the PM is a waste of time if the FTP is way out (230W isn't the same as 280W, and I was way outside Friel's estmated 300W for my weight).
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby skull » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:22 am

S975 spinning backwards five rotatiins will auto zero

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Re: FTP Testing

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:29 pm

dalai47 wrote:I am sure it is one of Alex's 7 deadly sins, but I have found 95% from the last 20 minutes of a TT compares well to FTP from 40km TT's I''ve done.

They are Andy Coggan's "sins", not mine. I just wrote about them:
http://alex-cycle.blogspot.com/2008/05/ ... -sins.html

and expanded on some traps people can fall into when testing:
http://alex-cycle.blogspot.com/2009/07/ ... ftp-2.html

As for the test protocol in their book, that is Hunter Allen's protocol, not Andy Coggan's.
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby toolonglegs » Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:50 pm

BUT :mrgreen: ... you did this on the home trainer?. WHY?.
Good chance your power on the home trainer is well below what you could do in a TT outside.
You had a fan on you but not the whole time... guarantee you over heated, on the home trainer you really need to have enough fan power to make you cold once you are sweating... otherwise no way are you going to perform.
Good chance you will raise your 20 minute power by pacing yourself better... if you aren't doing regular long intervals ( and are new to training with power ) then you will probably see a 10% improvement just buy practicing your pacing.
Don't despair just yet :P .
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby Xplora » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:21 pm

TLL,
Joe Friel's test regime is 30 minutes alone, or on a trainer. You do 5% less watts on the trainer vs in the pack, and you do 5% less watts for double the time, so therefore you get your FTP from the 30 minute test. Supposed to take some guesswork out. I'm assuming that the 5+20 test I assume that has to be on a trainer because there is too much variation for it to be accurate on the road in a pack lol
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby toolonglegs » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:01 pm

I couldn't do a FTP test on a trainer period... Maybe it's my trainer but my best 20 min efforts were something like 310 watts, way below my FTP.
Personally unless the weather is bad I would go out and find a stretch of road that you can do a 20km TT, use the same stretch of road every time and same protocol. Even better find a monthly TT as competition brings out that little bit extra.
You can not do an FTP test in a group ride unless you are in the front the whole time.
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby Xplora » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:13 pm

Calga is the only TT that fits the bill. Too far away! We need more TT races......
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby Toolish » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:58 pm

Xplora wrote:Calga is the only TT that fits the bill. Too far away! We need more TT races......



Go out and do a TT on your own, on the road, not the trainer...unless you do all of your sessions on the trainer.

My road FTP and trainer FTP are about 15% different.
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby vander » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:09 pm

20min efforts on the trainer should be your bread and butter. They are great, you get good at them to the point where now there is no difference between trainer and road. Trainer gains are very transferable to road also.

If you are using the Friel estimation I think you are totally disregard it as it is a really useless estimation. My tip would be start regularly doing 2x20 sessions and you will quickly discover what your FTP is. When you first start doing these sessions (first 1-2x) go by HR and aim to hit just below (5bpm) threshold about 3 min in, it will go up as you go on. After these first few sessions you will have power numbers to work with. If you are new to the trainer/these session/cycling I would say up the power every 1-2 weeks aiming for 5-10W more and you will be flying in no time. For me testing is training and training is testing.
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby march83 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:12 am

vander wrote:20min efforts on the trainer should be your bread and butter. They are great, you get good at them to the point where now there is no difference between trainer and road. Trainer gains are very transferable to road also.

If you are using the Friel estimation I think you are totally disregard it as it is a really useless estimation. My tip would be start regularly doing 2x20 sessions and you will quickly discover what your FTP is. When you first start doing these sessions (first 1-2x) go by HR and aim to hit just below (5bpm) threshold about 3 min in, it will go up as you go on. After these first few sessions you will have power numbers to work with. If you are new to the trainer/these session/cycling I would say up the power every 1-2 weeks aiming for 5-10W more and you will be flying in no time. For me testing is training and training is testing.


exactly right. i'm pretty happy to use a slightly less accepted testing protocol (ie, 2x20 where FTP = 93% to 95% of the 2nd 20min interval) if it means i can just use my regular training session as a testing session.
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby Xplora » Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:08 am

Well my first attempt at a 2x20 was pitiful, but I did spend the first interval trying to read a textbook at the same time lol Seemed to run easy enough at the 90% sweet spot without much effort at all, and on the second more focussed interval I was able to simply focus on the cadence (much easier to get that right, each RPM seems to be worth around 8-10W) and I think I maintained around 95% of my tested FTP (as I said, the whole thing was probably poor on Monday night). I finished the second interval with 30 seconds at 200% FTP, same CAD, then finished with a final FTP 100% burst for 30 seconds. So clearly not even close to threshold for the first 39 minutes of work intervals. :roll: 2x20 definitely seems to be too "hard" to not take seriously. Your textbook gets a bit sweaty as well :lol:
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby Xplora » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:06 pm

Just a quick one, does a metronome help or hinder? I might give that a crack.
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby ausrandoman » Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:42 pm

Disclaimer: I'm not a hotshot, I'm in my late 50's!

Disclaimer: Where I live, there are no flat sections of road longer than about 2 km so most of my training is on grades of 2% to 5% from 100 m to 1 km long. This makes it *very* difficult to maintain constant power.

OK, on to the story. I use a rear hub power meter and a Garmin 800 and upload the data to the Garmin web site to analyse the figures. I find that if I do 2 x 20 intervals then estimate my FTP or if I go out and go as hard as I can for an hour, I get agreement within about 5%. I also found that my average power on the Amy Gillet Grand Fondo was within about 5% of what I expected from my FTP, based on a 5% reduction for double the interval.

One measurement I find helpful is to keep checking how my average power varies with duration. After every training ride, I find my maximum power 10 minute, 20 minute, 40 minute and 60 minute section of the ride plus my average power for the whole duration, which is usually 2, 3 or 4 hours. I keep a spreadsheet with columns for each of these time intervals then I select the highest ever power for each interval and plot a graph of power vs duration. I do this so I can extrapolate from short training rides to 300 km Audax rides :)
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby Jesmol » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:06 pm

Xplora wrote:Just a quick one, does a metronome help or hinder? I might give that a crack.

Use music with the drum beat at the same cadence you want to target :)
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby vander » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:18 pm

Yea music is all I use, you find songs that are good for you, due to the beat.

Keep doing the 2x20s you will get better, its not a surprise to do the last minute or 2 harder, I often finish off last 5min ~105% FTP but then I know my limits quite well and what I can do. Remember its meant to be your aerobic power so you should still have some anaerobic power to finish off.
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby g-boaf » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:33 am

Xplora wrote:Just a quick one, does a metronome help or hinder? I might give that a crack.


Probably hinderance. Music would be better, if only to kill the boredom. When I last tried FTP, I had a video screen in front of me showing how long I had to go and some random video and music blasting away.

It was 35min warmup and 25 minute at the end flat out, trying to push up the power at the end.
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby Xplora » Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:35 am

Unrelated... somewhat inspired by the Hunter article "Next level" where he advocates big increases in FTP level efforts. I've done a couple sessions this week bang on FTP, but only short intervals. 10 minutes then either z1 or z3 for 5 minutes, go again. Today did some softcore 2 minute on/offs after that. Intended on making them z5/z3 but I ran out of gas.

Is it better to just get the time in, at the right zones, anyway you can? I guess a view to increasing the length of time at each zone would be good, but in the meantime, am I wasting time at 100% for 10 minutes rather than 90% at 12? Will I be creating problems spinning at 85rpm for these intervals rather than 95-100? Feels much more confortable going slower.
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby Roub » Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:20 pm

Did my first FTP using the Stages power meter this week - used a fluid trainer and result was less than the estimated figure from the Trainerroad software I used up till getting aPM.

266w, which does seem about right looking at my efforts on long climbs of 30mins or more. Have done one 10min climb with an average of 330w, but was a once off on fresh legs. I also want to get to 300w (weigh 74kgs) but a long way to go for that. Will do the TT test one day on the road and compare.

Do you just take the av power over 20mins and multiply by 0.95?
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby Xplora » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:50 pm

FTP is your peak power over 1 HOUR. Some protocols for testing (like the Trainerroad one) does a 5 minute all out effort, plus a couple spinups, to eliminate your fast twitch/VO2max reserves - they have concluded this is a more easily measured test than the full 40km TT because you get a maximal effort that is "close enough" to the FTP. End of the day though, it doesn't matter what it is exactly because you are gunning for a range of effort. You'd be bouncing 230-250W for a 90% FTP interval, so if your FTP is 265 or 275, if you keep within the 20W range you'll be getting your benefits of an FTP workout. I'm trying to keep to the 100% effort, just in case I'm not getting an accurate FTP result. Interestingly, after 36 minutes today within z4, I started breathing REALLY hard quite quickly at the end. Clearly I'm at the limit for that particular workout ;)
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby Xplora » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:01 pm

Anyone found a difference in FTP with caffeine and without?

I'm struggling enormously to put out the same numbers I get at race pace (usually under the influence of 2-3 shots of coffee). To the point where I'm wondering if I just need to abandon 90% for 20 minutes and retreat to 80%... my understanding is that I should be able to 2x30 at FTP, but that's not even vaguely realistic for me. Squeezed out 2x15 at 94% normalised, I just fell to pieces.
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:22 pm

2x30m (AT) FTP is never going to be easy. That's basically two TT's in a row... Going to have to be pretty fresh to do that.
Caffeine works for me... But I try to stay away from it.
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Re: FTP Testing

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:23 pm

Saw a mates power test on Strava the other day... Middle of winter, the skinny rake ( as tall as me but 70kgs ) pumps out nearly 400w for twenty minutes indoors :lol: ... Not bad for his tempo phase!
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