End of block testing

Each block begins with a FTP test, ie, Ramp, 8 or 20 minute test. I was wondering if that implies that no matter what the focus of each block within your training plans, that their success always improves FTP? Eg, say, Aerobic or Anaerobic Endurance, or any of the other target aspects of fitness you discuss during a workout? Are there other more specific tests at the end of a block, that might indicate more specific block focused improvement?

No to improvement every time.
The FTP test is just indication where your physical ability is at that time.
Things might not have gone so well, so of life stresses getting the way.
A New FTP will mean the next training block should be at the right intensity for you.

You can do more test that give you a power curve. 5 sec power, 1 minute power, 5 minute, these can be used to indicate where your strength and areas for improvement are.

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I don’t think that’s necessarily implied but it’s what a lot of users would hope to see.

The test simply sets a number for you to work off in that phase, regardless of previous training experience.

Some workouts (for example, I think Lamarck at the end of Sweet Spot Base 2) in the workout text actually state that achieving a certain level within this workout will normally predict an increase in FTP at your next test. I don’t know of any more specific tests than that.

To gauge improvement of things other than FTP, you could consider RPE or HR, to see if you’re coping more easily with a certain power/block of intervals.

Lastly, the plans are progressive. So largely, I would say that if you’re completing each workout successfully then you are improving, because the workouts are getting harder.

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You’ll be knackered by the end of a block and any test would reflect this.

One the recovery/adaptation week (if it is 7 days), then that’s when you should see the bump.

I’m not trying to overcomplicate things here, but another thing to remember is that a ramp test doesn’t test your FTP. Rather it tests the highest power you achieve in the ramp test, and then assumes a linear (and population-consistent) relationship between that power and FTP.

Example of how this plays out is, there’s this lore on this board that doing a TR base phase doesn’t increase your FTP, or at least that gains are bigger in build vs. base. Well base should increase your FTP, and it probably does–sweet spot sessions have been demonstrated as a way to get individuals who are relatively untrained into shape quickly–but it probably doesn’t improve your ramp test very much. Reason is clear, right? Ramp test depends strongly on the high-end power, and SSB generally doesn’t train that very much. So you wouldn’t expect to see an improvement, unless the thing holding back your performance the last time you tested was that you fatigued before you got to the business end of the test. And if the ramp test is well desigend and executed, that shouldn’t have happened.

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I’m not sure I’m familiar with this. I’d characterise it more like:

“TR says that base isn’t aimed at improving your FTP, but most users find that it does”

Again, my experience of this forum is quite the contrary. A lot of people I read about are seeing FTP improvements in the base phase using the ramp test, myself included. No doubt a decent number of these people are simply new to structured training so it’s probably the volume and the structure that contribute more than the “base” nature of the workouts. but they are still seeing an improvement.

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okay fine fair, but there seems to be a lot that don’t, or don’t see much. i think to the extent that someone doesn’t, and they have complied with the plan and rested, and assuming they were not already very fit, the reason would be limitations of the test, not of the training.

I’d be interested to know of cases where someone has completed Sweet Spot Base with 100% compliance and then not seen an increase in FTP.

Using your argument that the ramp test “depends strongly pm the high-end power”. Whilst this may be partly true, there’s also an argument to be made that delivering yourself to that “high power” of the ramp test, in a more comfortable, manageable and aerobic manner than previously, will set you up to be in a better position for achieving a new FTP

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I would imagine there’s quite a few. If fractional utilisation is pushing up against VO2, it’s very difficult to increase FTP (past 85-90% depending on physiology). I’ve been there - slogging away at SS/Z4 for months with no increase. 8 week VO2 block did the trick, allowing me to then further raise the “ceiling”.

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Is there a test that I can do that will tell me whether I’m pushing up against that ceiling, whether it’s time for a vo2 block or just go ahead on the threshold work?

Even in combination with the ramp test or another test…

I think the discussion here so far demonstrates many aspects of the purpose of Testing. The underlying theme of my question.

We test at the end of a Block to see if the designed workouts during that block achieved their purpose and by how much. This can guide what is required in the following block.

Is FTP testing the ‘be all and end all’ of all testing? I suspect not. Yet it is the only testing TR does at the transition between each pair of training blocks.

Clearly the comments here to date, reflect my gut feeling, that the FTP tests are not the most appropriate for all the TR block plans, and hence your subsequent choice of block.

Also picking up the comment about when to test; at the end of the adaption week is the best time, ie, the last workout of the current block, rather than the first workout of the next?

Interesting stuff isn’t it. :slight_smile:

Wko5 has the metric, which tracks pretty well with lab numbers (for me at least).

Could also look at 5 min power and ftp. But the error here is probably considerable.