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FTP & 5-min power relationship

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
After doing a 5 minute test (meaning I did it today), I have come to a question about the relationship btwn. FTP & VO2max power. Sorry if I am taking liberties with these words, but I mean the relationship btwn. 60min pwr & 5 min pwr.

What is the expected range?

Right now I am looking at a 5-min power = 135% of 60-min Power. Conversely, FTP is = 74% of 5-min pwr.

Does that sound reasonable? Is FTP being underestimated? Is VO2Max higher than expected, suggesting I am nowhere near FTP plateau?

My FTP estimation is based on method 6 from Mr. Alex Simmons cycle blog and is "6) from the power that you can routinely generate during long intervals done in training. " For me that means the power I generate from regular weekly 2-3 x 20 min indoor trainer workouts and from 2 x 30 min outdoor training. No '2 x 20 olympics' (or 3 x 20) for me, I do these with high rpe but not quite were I am killing myself like during a full-blown test.

I read comments here often that vo2max power is kinda like your potential or full aerobic fuel tank but that FTP is what % you can actually use. That makes sense.

Going forward, I am adopting a mix of SST, L4, and L5 (a little L7 maybe too) training a couple of times per week to keep working on building FT. I know some people do all L4 & SST but I like a bit more variety to keep things lively so including L5 also is enjoyable for me.
post #2 of 21

Re: FTP & 5-min power relationship

Quote:
Originally Posted by DancenMacabre View Post
Right now I am looking at a 5-min power = 135% of 60-min Power.

Does that sound reasonable?
Yep. That's purdy darn close to mine.
post #3 of 21

Re: FTP & 5-min power relationship

Quote:
Originally Posted by DancenMacabre View Post
After doing a 5 minute test (meaning I did it today), I have come to a question about the relationship btwn. FTP & VO2max power. Sorry if I am taking liberties with these words, but I mean the relationship btwn. 60min pwr & 5 min pwr.

What is the expected range?

Right now I am looking at a 5-min power = 135% of 60-min Power. Conversely, FTP is = 74% of 5-min pwr.

Does that sound reasonable? Is FTP being underestimated? Is VO2Max higher than expected, suggesting I am nowhere near FTP plateau?
Even 5 min power correlates quite well with VO2Max and has a large VO2Max component it still isn't VO2Max or minimum power to elicit it. Depending on your training and personal properties it has quite a sizeable anaerobic component which increases the spread between FTP and 5MMP (in addition to VO2Max itself).

If you feel that your FTP is underestimated, perhaps now that you have your 5 min test done you could next do a 10-20 min test and put those numbers in Monod-calculator!
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

Re: FTP & 5-min power relationship

Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchyge View Post
Yep. That's purdy darn close to mine.
Hmmm. So not some rare and wonderful condition? Too bad.

With these numbers then, how to best structure training for this level (5)?

I have read of a coupla'ways of doing these L5 intervals here:

#1 - is by using 90% of power for that duration. I have my 5MMP number so I would do 4-6 x 5 @ 90% of 5MMP.

For 5MMP = 135% FTP then 90% of 5MMP = 121.5% FTP.

#2 - the way that the Andrew Coggan/Hunter Allen levels are shown in the book and power profile sections: 106-120% of FTP. Not sure about this one because if I go under 115% of FTP, then my duration will be > 8 minutes. Supposedly not ideal duration for L5?

#3 - some combo or variant of 1/2 above, but including heart rate number so that it is within 10 beats of max during the 5 minute intervals
post #5 of 21

Re: FTP & 5-min power relationship

Quote:
Originally Posted by DancenMacabre View Post
Hmmm. So not some rare and wonderful condition? Too bad.

With these numbers then, how to best structure training for this level (5)?

I have read of a coupla'ways of doing these L5 intervals here:

#1 - is by using 90% of power for that duration. I have my 5MMP number so I would do 4-6 x 5 @ 90% of 5MMP.

For 5MMP = 135% FTP then 90% of 5MMP = 121.5% FTP.

#2 - the way that the Andrew Coggan/Hunter Allen levels are shown in the book and power profile sections: 106-120% of FTP. Not sure about this one because if I go under 115% of FTP, then my duration will be > 8 minutes. Supposedly not ideal duration for L5?

#3 - some combo or variant of 1/2 above, but including heart rate number so that it is within 10 beats of max during the 5 minute intervals
The basic setting: choose any of the starting points above. Adjust based on the workout if needed. If you cannot complete your target workout (eg. 5x5) lower the power. If you complete and last two intervals do not feel like struggling, up the power for the next workout.
post #6 of 21

Re: FTP & 5-min power relationship

Quote:
Originally Posted by DancenMacabre View Post
Hmmm. So not some rare and wonderful condition? Too bad.
Hey, if you want to tell people you're rare and wonderful because of that.... I'll back you up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DancenMacabre View Post
With these numbers then, how to best structure training for this level (5)?

I have read of a coupla'ways of doing these L5 intervals here:

#1 - is by using 90% of power for that duration. I have my 5MMP number so I would do 4-6 x 5 @ 90% of 5MMP.

For 5MMP = 135% FTP then 90% of 5MMP = 121.5% FTP.
That workout would most likely fall between Herculean and impossible on the intensity scale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DancenMacabre View Post
#2 - the way that the Andrew Coggan/Hunter Allen levels are shown in the book and power profile sections: 106-120% of FTP. Not sure about this one because if I go under 115% of FTP, then my duration will be > 8 minutes. Supposedly not ideal duration for L5?

#3 - some combo or variant of 1/2 above, but including heart rate number so that it is within 10 beats of max during the 5 minute intervals
Try #3 to start with. Our rare and wonderful condition can be caused by either 1) a high anaerobic capacity and average FTP, as in my case, or 2) an FTP which is not fully developed yet (ie, relatively few years of training) and a good VO2max or anaerobic capacity, which I'm guessing is your case. In either case, a workout which is ~50 min long is going to end up around the FTP wattage for normalized power, because of the duration. Bottom line is that you'd like to actually be able to finish the workout, and you might have to tweak the interval levels, durations, and rests in order to find what works best.

Working at ~115% of FTP for 5 minutes might feel pretty doable at first, but by the rep 5 or 6 it'll feel very challenging (if you even make it that far). I'd say that's a good target at first, and you'll probably want to tweak a little to suit your taste and/or stamina.
post #7 of 21

Re: FTP & 5-min power relationship

Quote:
Originally Posted by DancenMacabre View Post
Hmmm. So not some rare and wonderful condition? Too bad.

With these numbers then, how to best structure training for this level (5)?

I have read of a coupla'ways of doing these L5 intervals here:

#1 - is by using 90% of power for that duration. I have my 5MMP number so I would do 4-6 x 5 @ 90% of 5MMP.

For 5MMP = 135% FTP then 90% of 5MMP = 121.5% FTP.

#2 - the way that the Andrew Coggan/Hunter Allen levels are shown in the book and power profile sections: 106-120% of FTP. Not sure about this one because if I go under 115% of FTP, then my duration will be > 8 minutes. Supposedly not ideal duration for L5?

#3 - some combo or variant of 1/2 above, but including heart rate number so that it is within 10 beats of max during the 5 minute intervals
again... don't fall into the trap of over thinking this.. this is rocket science... an exact science... all those above methods do is get you in the ball park... all you really want to do is go as hard as you can or as makes sense for 5mins given the number of repeats you are doing and given you goals for the day, week, month etc.

people seem the think that there is some magic switch that turns on at power x and now i'm working VO2max.. it doesn't work like that.. everything is on a continuum.. an adaptation is just more or less at certain powers.. as long as you're in and around the zone you are making good use of your time for that adaptation... that's how you should think about it..

imho... you are actually better off looking at the typical durations for different adaptations and then figuring out what kind of power you can do for that duration, given reps., training load before and after etc.. again the above are just meant as a rough guide for some average joe cyclist and sticking to them as gospel will likely result in you over cooking intervals (resulting in you not being able to complete your workout) or under cooking them and selling your self short given your power profile... in either case you want to do workouts based on YOUR abilities and power profile not some average joe user. after a few sessions you will quickly learn what kind of power you can do for certain durations.. ever so often you knotch it up to see if you can be doing more..
post #8 of 21

Re: FTP & 5-min power relationship

I think spoc is on the money. Just go as fast as you can such that you can complete the set of intervals, and don't die at the end. The exact ratio will be different for everyone. Just do a few any you will find out pretty quickly what is doable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorSpoc View Post
again... don't fall into the trap of over thinking this.. this is rocket science... an exact science... all those above methods do is get you in the ball park... all you really want to do is go as hard as you can or as makes sense for 5mins given the number of repeats you are doing and given you goals for the day, week, month etc.

people seem the think that there is some magic switch that turns on at power x and now i'm working VO2max.. it doesn't work like that.. everything is on a continuum.. an adaptation is just more or less at certain powers.. as long as you're in and around the zone you are making good use of your time for that adaptation... that's how you should think about it..

imho... you are actually better off looking at the typical durations for different adaptations and then figuring out what kind of power you can do for that duration, given reps., training load before and after etc.. again the above are just meant as a rough guide for some average joe cyclist and sticking to them as gospel will likely result in you over cooking intervals (resulting in you not being able to complete your workout) or under cooking them and selling your self short given your power profile... in either case you want to do workouts based on YOUR abilities and power profile not some average joe user. after a few sessions you will quickly learn what kind of power you can do for certain durations.. ever so often you knotch it up to see if you can be doing more..
post #9 of 21

Re: FTP & 5-min power relationship

Danser, the topic of VO2max and L5 training got a pretty good treatment in the thread here. The thread starts conceptually, but transitions to workout planning somewhere around this point.
post #10 of 21

Re: FTP & 5-min power relationship

let me just add that you can safely throw out your #3 option.. you have a power meter and the sooner you stop worrying about HR the better off you'll be.. HR is completely useless for intervals this short in any case and will only confuse the matter.. the interval is about the length of time it takes for your HR to flatten out so pretty useless..

also VO2max intervals can be anywhere from 3min to 5mins.. min 3mins since it takes about 2mins for you to step into the interval and then after that point you're into the business end of the interval.. 3mins gives you 1mins of very intense interval and 5mins gives you an extra 3mins of a less intense but longer interval.. it's just a matter of picking your poison really..
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

Re: FTP & 5-min power relationship

Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorSpoc View Post
again... don't fall into the trap of over thinking this.. this is rocket science... an exact science... all those above methods do is get you in the ball park... all you really want to do is go as hard as you can or as makes sense for 5mins given the number of repeats you are doing and given you goals for the day, week, month etc.

people seem the think that there is some magic switch that turns on at power x and now i'm working VO2max.. it doesn't work like that.. everything is on a continuum.. an adaptation is just more or less at certain powers.. as long as you're in and around the zone you are making good use of your time for that adaptation... that's how you should think about it..

imho... you are actually better off looking at the typical durations for different adaptations and then figuring out what kind of power you can do for that duration, given reps., training load before and after etc.. again the above are just meant as a rough guide for some average joe cyclist and sticking to them as gospel will likely result in you over cooking intervals (resulting in you not being able to complete your workout) or under cooking them and selling your self short given your power profile... in either case you want to do workouts based on YOUR abilities and power profile not some average joe user. after a few sessions you will quickly learn what kind of power you can do for certain durations.. ever so often you knotch it up to see if you can be doing more..
I agree with you there. I try to not think of these power levels as being different floors or stages. Instead I think they flow and have a kind of continuum.

All that said, I want to get the most bang for my physical/emotional training buck and getting the right adaptations, so that was what motivated me to ask.

The feedback from all of you here is helpful. I do not even try the craziness of attempting to set PB's during weekly interval sessions. Maybe if I was more advanced but being a newbie I try to pay a lot of attention to RPE. I know they like to say power is power but for me, if RPE is a lot higher than expected, I may back off some. If lower, then I might try a bit harder to see what I can do. Kinda like RPE & Power are tools you use. So for these workouts, if they are too hard then I will adjust the intensity so I can finish them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorSpoc View Post
let me just add that you can safely throw out your #3 option.. you have a power meter and the sooner you stop worrying about HR the better off you'll be.. HR is completely useless for intervals this short in any case and will only confuse the matter.. the interval is about the length of time it takes for your HR to flatten out so pretty useless..

also VO2max intervals can be anywhere from 3min to 5mins.. min 3mins since it takes about 2mins for you to step into the interval and then after that point you're into the business end of the interval.. 3mins gives you 1mins of very intense interval and 5mins gives you an extra 3mins of a less intense but longer interval.. it's just a matter of picking your poison really..
About the HR stuff. I do not even own one of those gadgets. I only have the power meter. The reason I asked about it however was because of this comment that I found from Andrew Coggan. He goes on to say that HR within 10 beats of maxHR is not enough by itself, but when reached + power at the specified level, that it might work. I could be misunderstanding so if I am, then apologies in advance.


Quote:
Originally Posted by acoggan View Post
The simple rule-of-thumb that I've used in lab-based training studies is that, during 5 min intervals aimed at increasing VO2max, heart rate should get w/in 10 beats/min of maximum (although this goal may in fact not be achievable during the first effort or two, at least not w/o creating undue fatigue). Using this approach (and with such sessions performed 2-3x/wk), the VO2max of previously untrained young men and women has typically increased by ~10% in 10 d and 25-30% in 12 wk.
*****

Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchyge View Post
Hey, if you want to tell people you're rare and wonderful because of that.... I'll back you up.
Perfect. Now I can go back to thinking I am special or unique or.......nevermind :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchyge View Post
That workout would most likely fall between Herculean and impossible on the intensity scale.
Did I misread though about the interval suggestion of 90% of MMP for a given duration? It was mentioned in the killing me thread about how those intervals should be done in such a manner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchyge View Post
Try #3 to start with. Our rare and wonderful condition can be caused by either 1) a high anaerobic capacity and average FTP, as in my case, or 2) an FTP which is not fully developed yet (ie, relatively few years of training) and a good VO2max or anaerobic capacity, which I'm guessing is your case. In either case, a workout which is ~50 min long is going to end up around the FTP wattage for normalized power, because of the duration. Bottom line is that you'd like to actually be able to finish the workout, and you might have to tweak the interval levels, durations, and rests in order to find what works best.

Working at ~115% of FTP for 5 minutes might feel pretty doable at first, but by the rep 5 or 6 it'll feel very challenging (if you even make it that far). I'd say that's a good target at first, and you'll probably want to tweak a little to suit your taste and/or stamina.
I am mere months, not years, into my cycling training

So being the astute reader, I am gonna say my FTP-5MMP numbers are due to choice 2 like you suggested.

Thanks to all of you for this feedback.
post #12 of 21

Re: FTP & 5-min power relationship

Quote:
Originally Posted by DancenMacabre View Post
Perfect. Now I can go back to thinking I am special or unique or.......nevermind :-)
Well.... not unique anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DancenMacabre View Post
Did I misread though about the interval suggestion of 90% of MMP for a given duration? It was mentioned in the killing me thread about how those intervals should be done in such a manner.
You didn't misread that, but it's also not a hard and fast rule. Also, I don't think it should really be applied for shorter intervals because of the depleting nature of the anaerobic intensity efforts. The 5min MMP test contains a large anaerobic contribution, and as your anaerobic capacity is depleted during the first few L5 reps, eventually you won't be able to sustain the 90% of 5min MMP output for later reps.

It's better to dial down the first couple reps and complete the workout, rather than blow up in the middle and have to quit.
post #13 of 21

Re: FTP & 5-min power relationship

Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchyge View Post
Well.... not unique anyway.



You didn't misread that, but it's also not a hard and fast rule. Also, I don't think it should really be applied for shorter intervals because of the depleting nature of the anaerobic intensity efforts. The 5min MMP test contains a large anaerobic contribution, and as your anaerobic capacity is depleted during the first few L5 reps, eventually you won't be able to sustain the 90% of 5min MMP output for later reps.

It's better to dial down the first couple reps and complete the workout, rather than blow up in the middle and have to quit.
Yes, very important to get the work done. Many new PM users go out way too hard and end up doing 2 good sets (possibly TOO good) and then miss the next rep but continue to push on.
If you miss on the 3rd or 4th rep, you'll know you set your power levels too high. If you miss your numbers, stop the workout, re-calibrate for next time and DONT be discouraged.

I prefer to aim 10 watts low and then if I still have some juice on the last rep, hit it hard. A standard 4' vo2 max interval session can go like this, for me:
1- 420w, AP
2-422
3-419
4-421
5-434

so good luck and dont beat yourself up if you dont get the numbers/pacing right the first time.

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Re: FTP & 5-min power relationship

Glad to read all of these tips. I have carefully noted all of the comments on the vo2max workouts.

Caveat: Decided to shelve working in Level 5 right now.

Reason: My 60 min pwr is a full 3 rows lower than my 5 min pwr. That, from what I read in these forums, makes me believe that I can surely raise my 60 min pwr by at least 10-15% without any level 5 work at all.

No sense raising the *aerobic* ceiling when I am still far from using the potential I already have. Hence I will continue with L3/L4/SST style training until my FT goes up 3-4 rows. Yes it may be more diverse, eclectic, and entertaining to do a variety of training all at once, including level 5 & 6, but it is an aerobic sport and I am rather under-trained in that department.
post #15 of 21

Re: FTP & 5-min power relationship

Quote:
Originally Posted by DancenMacabre View Post
No sense raising the *aerobic* ceiling when I am still far from using the potential I already have. Hence I will continue with L3/L4/SST style training until my FT goes up 3-4 rows. Yes it may be more diverse, eclectic, and entertaining to do a variety of training all at once, including level 5 & 6, but it is an aerobic sport and I am rather under-trained in that department.
L5 work is still almost entirely aerobic, and there's lots of overlap with L4 across the physiological adaptations (see chart attached). All those L5 benefits will help your threshold power as well.



I think the biggest danger for newbies who read the many threads on certain topics is to hear the same message so many times that they get the impression that there should be too much focus on one thing, to the exclusion of others, for the sake of "optimizing." You'll hear the same message so many times because so many people are asking nearly the same question, so keep that perspective.

IMO, most newbs will see the most benefit simply from increasing their overall volume at beneficial intensities, then secondly (distant) from optimizing their intensity mix. Do what keeps you motivated and enjoying training and improving. If that's a mix, then mix it up.
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