3 minute threshold test?

So I happened across this study, which describes a three minute test to approximate your FTP. The TL;DR is (assuming I’ve understood correctly) you go full gas from the start, depleting your various other energy systems so the last 30 seconds or so are almost exclusively aerobic and estimate your maximal stay state power.

I’d be interested in other’s opinions on this.

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It hurts. It hurts big time.


I can imagine. There’s a really steep climb here which takes about 3min. I’ve turned it into an all-out effort by being overly enthusiastic a couple of times now and it’s pretty awful.

I just got a power meter for riding outdoors, so now I’m tempted to go and do it again for comparison…

:point_up: very much this. I’ve cried a little during…

It’s also possible to over-estimate by pacing it too much, meaning you can suffer for naught. You really do need to go all-out from the start. Like full gas sprint trying to hit a new all-time PR at every second from 1 through 180 sec. You ride like the finish line is perpetually 1 meter in front of you and you just need to go as hard as possible for one more pedal stroke. Also note you’re blinded to time and power - you just go until you hear the blessed beeps.

There is literature suggesting 3min all-out CP test overestimates actual maximal steady state (max lactate or max VO2 steady state) although there is just as much saying it is valid. So your results may vary. Don’t take this as fact, but I hypothesize that some of the over-estimation could be the result of too much pacing during the effort, or inexperience with the protocol.

My most accurate result tested against MLSS was around the third time I did it, when I ended up crying a little :sob:. Hit new all-time peak power from like 50sec through 1:30, then was just cross-eyed pedalling bricks for the final 2min. Fun times.

It’s an interesting feeling to be essentially at VO2max and all that’s coming out is critical power.


I don’t see how this can work. If you go out “full gas” without trying to pace the effort, you would blow up after about 10 seconds. That is, going out truly “full gas” would mean going out at your max sprint power, which you could hold for 10 seconds? 20 seconds? At which point your power would drop to useless.

And if you don’t go out at our sprint power, then you are pacing the effort to complete 3 minutes. So I don’t see how you pace an effort so you can complete 3 minutes, but go out “full gas”.

What am I missing?

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You’re not missing anything. You try and blow yourself up in 1 second every second for 180 seconds. Have fun.


22 second warmup and then all out for 3 minutes!!! 5 second kick at the end. You’ll thank me later.

Don’t. Stop. Until. You. Reach. A. Higher. Ground.


Shouldn’t be able to see when the end is coming, and shouldn’t have a kick left anyway!

As intended!


Death kick :skull: lol

Maybe I didn’t go hard enough at the start? Lungs complaining for days, felt pretty hard, but kept upright at the end. So I guess it wasn’t hard enough? :flushed:

This is pretty much what Xert does🤷‍♂️

I have a friend who’s indoor cycling class does this at the start of every ride. Definitely a HIIT sort of effort for the 45 minute class. He’s a throw everything into it sort of guy, so it suits him. Gold medalist Kristen Armstrong developed the sessions and runs the studio.

Awful lot of pain for a pretty crude estimate. Even the lab that developed can’t always get it to work as claimed.

If these threshold tests get any shorter I should be able to perform one whilst stood next to my bike :rofl: I don’t believe for one second a 3 minute test can give you a reliable result.


Correct, unfortunately. That looks like a max paced 3min. But that’s not what all-out means.

It will look something more like this

When we’re saying you reach peak sprint power and keep going as hard as you can for 3min… we really do mean it! :laughing:

[edit: I know ‘all-out’ is colloquially used synonymous with ‘max’ or ‘full-gas’ etc. But in this context it does have a specific meaning for pacing strategy]


Indeed, mine was clearly an overpaced effort. It definitely hurt, but I understand your point and agree.

intervals.icu will estimate your FTP based on short power (3 minutes or longer, if that’s how you set it up), perhaps combined with heart rate, but I’m not sure. That eFTP is typically just a few watts from my most recent ramp test result. Try it, it’s free, it has the key features that you’d have to pay for in Trainingpeaks, and you just need a (free) Strava account to hook your intervals.icu account to.


What was your average hear rate? If the red line is your heart rate… you reached maximum heart rate already after about 20-30 seconds and it stayed there? Man… that’s is brutal.

Wanna vouch for intervals.icu. It’s amazing. I use it for everything.

I guess a big factor that would be interesting to see is the results based around the different athletes FRC…do the big FRC riders get a higher estimate than true FTP?!

I doubt people are doing it “properly”. This protocol is basically a 3 minute wingate test. It’s absolutely brutal if you do it like the protocol requires. You’d be pretty much worthless for the rest of the class.