Tests ~ Which & How?
We're now entering our seventh year of carrying out physiological testing for athletes and have amassed
data from over 300 tests and 80 different athletes.
Our tests are described in
detail on the individual test pages on the left so here I'll just cover
the basics of the top two
The most popular tests we
undertake are the wVO2max, the dreaded 6
minute test; and the VO2max test, commonly
known as the Ramp Test.
The end of season run-in has
seen some excellent tests and some dramatic improvements from individual's
early and mid-season sessions.
As always, you know I never
give out identifiable client details. So below I've cut-off loads of
data from the files given to athletes in their post-test information pack.
The screen shots below are to give a minimum information, pictorial
indication of what a test consists. Obviously the warm up and cool
down are also removed!
There are many possible strategies available
when undertaking a test. Some people have one, others don't; riding
as hard as you can until you blow isn't always the best. Below are
six profiles from athletes who undertook exactly the same test. How
different could they be?
In the following profiles the
colour codes used are: Green ~ Power;
Brown ~ Heart Rate;
Pink ~ Cadence;
Blue ~ Speed.
The profile above shows a
measured approach to the test. This is an indication of a rider
that's gone straight to their 6 minute threshold and held it for the
duration of the test. This rider knows their body and capabilities
This profile shows a
structured strategy and continued assessment of what the rider
believes is available in the time left to completion. This is a
perfect time trial! This ride brought an all time high power output.
This rider had the same idea
as the rider above but chose a seamless transition across the whole
six minutes. Another perfect test. As they all are.
Because they all brought valuable training and pacing information to the
Now for the
This one was mine!
Nice and measured start, a big mid test push and an even bigger back
end collapse. Went for a big one and blew it. Not my best
work! It did, however, show me exactly where my ultimate power
threshold lies. We all have a genetic ceiling to our capabilities.
I know exactly where mine is. It's the lump in the middle.
This one was undertaken by
the same person that provided the perfect time trial output in the second
graph above. Massive early test push, struggle to hold on as
lactate strangles progress and pride forcing a kick up at the end.
Sad thing was, this was when they were really on song and at their peak,
which led to a little over-confidence at the beginning! Still, you
can see they learnt from it, a test is never wasted.
This rider never found
their rhythm. Constant gear changes (pink spikes and troughs)
while fighting lactate build up, heat generation and increasing fatigue
finally took their toll. Once more pride kicked in at the end but
proved unsustainable. Notice the heart rate through all of this,
Massive drop off in power but no change in heart rate. Again, a
valuable lesson learned.
hard can it be?
I'll be honest with you, six minutes at threshold is a lot longer than you
would believe and not the most pleasant of experiences. It's like a
three lap attack at Les Quennevais. (The local crit circuit for our
All Ramp Tests look exactly the same. The only thing that changes is
the point at which the graph stops climbing!
Every minute wattage is added
while the athlete keeps their cadence constant. At some point along
the way it stops. It doesn't fade or dissipate, it stops and it
stops with a vengeance. I'd rather watch one than do one that's for
sure. But again, the information it gives is crucial in helping you
understand your body and your limits and putting you on the right path to