4DP FTP seems below my true FTP

Hi,

I’m new in cycling training and bought a smart trainer few weeks ago.
I started the sufferfest with the week prep plan for the 4DP test, did the test, spent a week playing with the other apps (Tacx, Rouvy, Zwift), then started the training plan “All purpose” (novice) for 12 weeks.

My 4DP (sprinter):

  • FTP 201
  • MAP 257
  • AC 342
  • NM 882

I have already done a complete week of the plan, 4 workouts (not counting yoga & other sports), and I feel the training is not hard enough. My HR is most of the time around 120bpm - way below the zone shown in the workout. I can breathe through the nose, speak easily and I’m trying to occupy myself by working on my form and pedal stroke to not get bored.
I’m a regular rower so I’m used to suffer in interval and endurance training where my HR is between 160 and 185bpm for long periods of time (this year my max HR is 192, I’m 34).

I’m a bit skeptical about my FTP value. I did 2 climbs last week in Rouvy (2 & 3 days after the 4DP test) and my data:

  • 1st climb: in 57min, 199W avg, 213W NP, 220W in max FTP
  • 2nd climb: in 1h24, 209W avg, 214w NP, 219W in max FTP.

And it was not max effort.

I’m used to do strength training where you start at very low percentages, so I know perfectly we need to start too easy. But as the FTP value is a strong parameter, I’m wondering what to do because I have elements that let me think that my FTP is higher than the one I produced in the 4DP test. I might have “failed” the test, but you can ask my wife and my neighbors, they heard me very well screaming like a maniac while doing it. I was totally destroyed after so I’m sure I was close to max effort.

I’m not the guy arguing the workout plan, but as I just started a 12 weeks plan I think it’s worth discussing the data used to calculate everything. I saw 3 options: stick with it, bump the FTP to 219/220, do a full/half monty test.

I saw this topic (Unexpected 4DP result: MAP effort affecting FTP) and I think I’m in a similar situation.

Given that you averaged 209W over 84 mins, by definition your FTP is higher than 201W and at least 209W, if not higher. I have an FTP of 273W and I would really struggle to hit that for a full 60 mins. My 60 min climbs are usually at around 250W sitting fractionally below threshold to avoid blowing up. I find Sufferfest workouts achievable, but they certainly do make me suffer and I easily hit the target HR zones.

I’m not familiar enough with the Sufferfest training plans yet, but maybe the novice plan has the workout intensity turned down too much for you? That combined with an under-estimated true FTP could be the issue. If you are only hitting 120 bpm when your max is 192 then you are training in recovery ride zone at the moment! Something is wrong for sure.

It takes time to properly test FF. I’ve done it close to 2 dozen times and I still sometimes get it wrong. New users of the Suf will see exponential gains. Thus, testing more frequently may be needed to keep you in the right loads. When I first started Suf, I tested every 4-6 weeks. I still try to test every 8-12 now depending on what I’m doing plan-wise.

My suggestion: Do the Half Monty to get the levels a bit higher.
Don’t waste too much time sticking with the lower numbers.

Tip for the actual 4DP test: Keep the laptop / keyboard / tablet close to you whilst on the bike, then adjust the resistance for every segment. So if you do the 5 sec sprints then smash it on L9 or your highest then adjust the level down to 1 again during the recovery. Once the 5 min rolls around you can then go to L5-7 and get a feel for the effort :+1:. This way you can get maximum power for every effort. Good luck

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Hi sorry to bump in there but u mentioned to change the levels of the smart-trainer during the ff. What exactly does this change? I did my ff on level 3…

To the TO: My FTP was way lower than usual. My Garmin auto detected 216 prior FF und 220 after FF. SUF calculated 195 FTP and decreased the MAP because my MAP was higher than 142% of my FTP… Like someone said before me, finding the right pace for each effort during the FF, especially if new, is really hard. I would say to trust ur gut and maybe increase the FTP in SUF a bit or do the HM test. Apart form that, i personally think that a difference from like 10-20W in terms of FTP (SUF/Garmin/Strava/…) is not critical. I think you would increase the ftp over time anyway due to structured Training. But thats just my personal opinion!

Cheers,
Chimpy

Hi @arthur. Welcome!

I agree with the suggestion to try Half Monty to get another estimate of your FTP. From that you can then redo FF later with some revised numbers as targets. Pacing the 5 minute and 20 minute efforts in FF does take some practice, and it helps to have some sort of idea of what power to aim for.

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It ties into the pacing your effort. To give you an idea of what I do here’s my set-up:

I have a 26er mtb on a Kickr Snap 2 with a 2x10 gear ratio. In the front I keep it on the big chain ring (48T) and on the rear I jump between the lowest 3-4 depending on the cadence I am trying to get.
With the 48T in the front I struggle to get my avg cadence higher than 58-62 depending on the session.
So, during the ff session I will start on a L1 and in 7th gear for the warm up.
For the 5 sec I will go to gear 9 after getting my cadence above 70 then I will jump to L8-9 and try to max my effort. This all has to happen within a few seconds so my 5 sec effort is always low. I know that I need to get this sorted but for the moment let’s go to the longer efforts.
On the 5min efforts I usually go for a L6-7 on the trainer and shift to lighter gears if the resistance becomes too much.
During the 20 min effort I go for L5 and also play with the gears and lastly during the 1min I go with L9 and increase the resistance on the bike gradually.

It sounds like a lot of switching and playing around but the ff is about maximum effort for each individual section as well as the relationship between the various efforts. So you can not ride at the same level for each session. If you do that then some efforts will automatically be done at a much higher or lower level than you will be able to manage.

Have a look at Dan’s effort during this session: https://youtu.be/YvemLgLpO3c - notice that Sir Neal is adjusting the levels for each effort

Thanks for all the replies, so I was not crazy. I just did Half Monty, and it goes with the feeling I had:

MAP from 257 to 295
FTP from 201 to 242
LTHR from 171 to 165 (the new value seems more believable to me).

I think I just toasted myself on the 4DP and didn’t pace myself well. It’s written on the test description, it’s for advanced riders so you have to know yourself to get through it.

At least now I have an updated FTP and I’ll redo half monty in few weeks if needed. But I’m pretty sure my new FTP setting will get my training “slightly” harder :slight_smile:

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That sounds better. If you do the Sufferfest workouts at 100% intensity I’m sure you will be suffering like everyone else!

Great video of Dan’s training. If I see even half of those improvements I’ll be stoked. Having done a couple of weeks I’m pretty confident of making significant gains.

You’ll definitely see some proper gains if you stick with the new values. I did a 4DP this morning again as I’ve bought a new trainer two weeks ago. The new trainer nearly killed me (Tacx flow - old with 850W max resistance) compared to a Wahoo Kickr Snap 2 with 1500W max resistance. The trainers are completely different, my values actually dropped this morning. Some massive drops on the FTP and 5min, this leads me to the question of just how accurate the various brands are and which one to believe :roll_eyes: I will do the HM in a few weeks to get my values up again :grin:

I almost regret having retested my FTP, because now I really SUFFER in the workouts, like wanting to stop & uninstall the SF immediately.
I guess my my problem is solved!

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Sounds like you’re on the path of proper Suffering, @Arthur! Don’t let the Laser Goats catch you slacking :stuck_out_tongue:

How dare you think about un-installing? Flogging Station #3, double time! :see_no_evil: :hear_no_evil: :speak_no_evil:

Seriously, though: I’m happy to read that Half Monty helped you out. Keep up the good work and crush your goals!

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They do say to be careful what you wish for. But it’s good to hear that you’re now suffering correctly!

And uninstall Sufferfest? How GvA must’ve laughed at that one. You know you can never leave right?

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Best way to get used to FF is just throw it in as a regular workout. Like at least once a month to start with. Desensitizes you to the test jitters and helps you figure out test pacing and all about yourself.

Do it often enough and you’ll be able to gauge your FTP on any given ride whether you’re fresh or fatigued.

Know thyself!

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^^ this ^^
I was doing this this year until June and it worked really well.
Though having let it slide into with any resemblance of ability, the jitters return fast. So keep doing it is def a good approach.

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