Full Frontal vs WKO5

Let me preface this by saying that I think Full Frontal is the best FTP calculation method currently available outside of a formal testing laboratory, and I’ve read through the Xert thread on here as well, but I use WKO5 to track my performance and have found in the past that Full Frontal typically overestimates my FTP, whilst if I regularly test my Mean Maximal Power (MMP) curve in WKO5 on a 28 day cycle and aim for getting my Time To Exhaustion (TTE) above 40-45 mins, then the modelled FTP (mFTP) in WKO5 is around 8-10W lower than Full Frontal

Based on this approach, I keep my Four Dimensional Power Profile (1s, 1min, 5min & 20min) updated with the corresponding values from my 42 day MMP curve in WKO5

Just after everyone’s thoughts on this as a valid way of optimising my efforts in the SUF app

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Interesting approach. With your WKO numbers, are you consistently able to complete some of the key videos, like Nine Hammers, Hell Hath No Fury, Blender, etc.?

Provided you periodically give the MMP curve some hard efforts, this seems perfectly legit, subject to two areas of caution:

  1. The sprint, gotta make sure you’re not using an outdoor max (I don’t know about you, but my outdoor is a lot higher)

  2. The one minute, there’s a reason it comes at the end of Full Frontal, a “true” one minute max may not be appropriate for that in-app metric

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The one minute max at the end of the FF is also a measurement of your ability to recover from repeated efforts, so it probably does not correspond to the WKO5 power curve. For example, my Xert 1 minute power curve number is higher than my AC number.

When you say FF overestimates your FTP, are you comparing it to your one hour WKO5 number, or the 20 minute number?

For myself, I trust an actual measurement rather than a calculated one. After all you did get a higher number on FF probably because you did a maximum effort as opposed to the numbers used for your MMP curve. If you use the lower number from the MMP, you many not get the proper training effect.

As someone else noted, outdoor power numbers are often higher than indoor power numbers.

Sessions like HHNF and 9H are right at my limit :grimacing:. Blender is one of my Go To sessions so its a struggle but doable :relaxed:

I regularly set aside time to test the Normalised Residuals in my power curve, and I exclusively ride indoors (long story) so all my data is ‘consistent’. Point taken on the one minute effort so may look at the values for 90 days, 42 days and 28 days and make an assessment from there, but my one minute efforts are typically at the end of a Zwift race (no hating please :joy:)

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Some very good points there … thanks, and I’m comparing my ~1 hour number on WKO5 as the TTE is 59m 02 s for 42 days and 57 min 44 s fro 28 days. The 20 min value is +/-2W from FF result (so 20 min)

Before I commit any values to my SUF profile I ensure that there’s good compliance between my power curve and the predicted curve

I regularly ‘test’ on Zwift’s Alpe as for me, on a good day is a ~57min full gas effort … I no longer ride outdoors (long story)

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I was going to say, if you’re concerned just with accuracy of FTP value, I don’t think you can beat a long test. Once you get to know the protocol, it really lets you dial in pretty closely teh value above which your minutes are numbered.

But i see you do Alp du Zwift tests so you may approach it the same way :slight_smile:

In the early season when i’m spending a lot of time grinding tempo, all i really care about is FTP, so i do a long FTP test (often on ADZ)

Before I start adding intensity, i do a Full Frontal.

For periodic retests, I do one or the other of the above, depending on what i’m trying to get data about.

Then once a season starts and i move outdoors, i use WKO5 to take over

A good approach :+1:

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One thing to keep in mind, is that we developed the 4DP test in Full Frontal to be an effective single-session test to evaluate an entire power profile without having the need for multiple days of testing. WKO requires a significant data stream to be effective. And even as such, I find errors of between + AND - 20% for FTP values for the athletes that I coach…with all of them having accurate test and race data at least every 8-12 weeks. My experience with WKO5 is that it sometimes works, and sometimes is an absolute disaster. If it works for you, great. If it doesn’t, don’t worry - it’s also completely wrong for 3 out of 4 World Tour/Olympic riders that I work with. If I used either TTE or FTP to set targets for TTs in 75% of my athletes, they would have spectacular failures on both ends of the spectrum. Using their power values from Full Frontal or an outdoor single session power profile, though, we’re within a 5% variation of their actual in race performances.
That being said, all of our workouts do use our 4DP calculations to build them. That being said, if you aren’t as motivated, fit or rested/fresh when you complete a workout like Nine Hammers as you were during your Full Frontal, there’s a good chance that workout might not be possible to complete at 100% intensity. That’s okay - just dial it down a few percent and do what you can do. Also, as mentioned - the 1-minute AC effort in Full Frontal reveals more about repeating high intensity effort in the AC realm than it does exclusively what your rested 1-minute power, or even 30s max power, would indicate. Also, you mentioned that you update your numbers in the app - but I would caution against using 20-minute and 1-minute values from anything other than a Full Frontal session as those targets will become unobtainable. Also, never ever mix indoor and outdoor achieved power values (I know you said you only ride indoors, but want to make that point clear for everyone). Hope that helps and let me know if there’s anything more specific that I didn’t answer.

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Hi Neal … really appreciate you chiming in on this as your input is both valued and respected.
I’ve been ‘away’ from Sufferfest for a little while and am gently easing myself back in, and trust me, there is a FF session in my future, sooner rather than later :wink:
Point(s) duly noted about WKO5 and I don’t enter my 20 min value from WKO5 as my FTP but rather my 60 min value and the few SUF sessions I’ve done so far feel ‘about right’ … coincidentally my 20 min power x 0.95 is roughly equal to my 20 min power :rofl:
Will be interesting to compare my FF numbers with the data I have now, and as I said in my original post, I have a lot of faith in the FF process
Again, many thanks for adding to the conversation

A really helpful conversation. I had been trying to formalize some questions on this very subject, having just returned to wko after a long absence, but you have all saved me the trouble​:grin::pray:

And I thought I was doing pretty good to have a grasp on the PMC. NP, TSS, CTL and TSB are easy enough, and I get the idea behind the power duration curve, TTE and mFTP.

I guess I’m a bit shocked to hear that the physiological modeling in WKO5 isn’t a reliable predictor of race day performance. Isn’t that kind of the whole point of recording all of that data. That begs the question of what alternatives do we have?

How do you gauge the effects of training over time without a reliable analysis tool?

Always happy to help out :wink:

I think the takeaway point is that it takes a learned, experienced coach, such as Sir Neal/Sir Mac etc to interpret that data and see how it applies to each athlete as we’re all different.
I find that the 90 day data in WKO5 to be worthless (for me at least) and focus more on 42 day and 28 day data … case in point is that WKO5 has my 90 day mFTP at 263W and there is no way I could do any of the SUF sessions at that level, however my 42 and 28 day data is around 247W (so a substantial difference) and I can struggle through most of the sessions
I’m confident my data is accurate/repeatable as I haven’t ridden outdoors for well over 12 months and am still using the same Kickr18 and calibrate every couple of weeks
Will create another thread when I (finally … maybe in another 3-4 weeks, maybe sooner) do FF and how it tallies with WKO5 estimates

Without knowing the characteristics of the underlying data, and the physiological and statistical modeling being used, there is no way that we can judge the general accuracy of any of these platforms. You also have to understand the assumptions that are made, and how well you match the athletes in the data set. For example, Xert critically depends on you doing “breakthrough” workouts often, and can penalize you if you just miss. Suf depends on doing a FF for maximal benefit.

Given the current primitive state of the technology (although it is far better than it was even several years ago), you have to find what works for you. There are people who swear by Xert, just as others swear by Suf. There is no guarantee that a coach and an athlete will know how to work together.

To give a personal example, what made me decide to use Suf after deciding not to use it before? I was doing VO2 max workouts at the traditional 120% FTP, and not seeing real gains. After doing a FF on my trial, it became clear that I was one of those people whose MAP was over 130% of FTP. Doing Suf workouts based on those numbers, I began to see improvements.

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Some valid points there, and I have found Xert to be ‘not the best’ and as I’m typing this I’m planning a FF effort at the end of next week

Thanks for contributing

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I guess this is not that surprising. I got Wko4 originally after getting stuck in some of the pitfalls of the 20mins x .95 method of finding FTP. It would overestimate to the tune of like 20 watts.

I eventually realized it didn’t quite make sense, as it’s almost like saying, here run a 5K and we’ll use that to guess at your 10K and half marathon time. Well, I used to run track in high school and there was one dude who was a 10K runner and I was a 1600 and 5K runner, and i would beat him in the 5K every day whereas he would toast me in the 10K, so it’s clear that relationship didn’t hold. I liked the idea that the PDC at least accounted for this type of variation.

But since then i’ve seen some of the problems myself as it’s never really been a reliable indicator of what is my FTP. For that, i’d always either have to use a test like 4DP or a long-form, hour of power type FTP test. (Although I do like some of the other charts).

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OK people, just a bit of an update as I did FF yesterday (not the usual taper week but I did have a rest day the day before) and quite happy to share the results, and keep in mind that I’m 65 yo :wink:

5 sec - 703W (WKO5 42 day best) up to 831W (FF test) so a 128W increase
1 min - 374W (WKO5 42 day best) up to 402W (FF test) so a 28W increase
5 min - 270W (WKO5 42 day best) up to 296W (FF test) so a 26W increase

Now this is where it gets ‘interesting’ :slightly_smiling_face:

WKO5 had my 42 day FTP at 247W (+/- 2W) so realistically 245 - 249W. WKO5 42 day for 20 mins has me at 254W and for 60 mins at 246W

The 20 min FF effort was 238W, and given a proper taper week, I may have gone a few W higher, but yesterday’s effort towards the end of the 20 mins my HR was ~ 174 bpm so fairly close to maximum (screenshot attached)

Putting this all into context based on Neal’s comments/feedback it would ‘appear’ that I hadn’t been feeding the WKO5 model properly and it was way, way off in its calculations for my FTP

With my FTP from FF at 238W I can look at the SUF sessions and think ‘yeah, this will be tough but I’ve got a shot at doing it at 100%’ rather than ‘hell, I think I’ll need to start off at ~95% and see how I go’ with my FTP set from WKO5

Bottom line, for me moving forward, its FF all the way and WKO5 purely for interest’s sake

Thanks again to everyone that offered advice and commentary etc … greatly appreciated

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Age 65 means you’ve had teh advantage of much more time to train :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

seriously, great job!

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