MMP vs FTP training zones

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by skinnyrider891, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. skinnyrider891

    skinnyrider891 New Member

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    Was curious as to which training zone is better MMP based off of a ramp test as made popular by watt bike and British cycling Or Ftp power zones as used by Allen and Coggan based off of a 20min power And reasons why one is better or simply the pros and cons of each
     
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  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    You are correct that there are two (or more) training schemas and that they are different in many ways, including the performance metric on which they are based. Here is a good discussion and graphical representation of the differences:
    http://alex-cycle.blogspot.com/2008/01/graphical-representation-of-training.html

    Apart from the fact that both schemas have seven levels (well, technically the Stern schema has eight), there are significant differences when you dig into the details beyond from the power targets. The Coggan schema has minimum durations for levels 4-7, whereas the Stern schema has only power targets. Minimum durations are key to adaptations, so this is not trivial. The other major difference is that when you use the MAP basis for power targets you are using a performance metric close to your VO2MAX whereas the Coggan schema is based on your sustainable aerobic power. The consequences of this difference depend on whether you have a high or low anaerobic work capacity compared with your aerobic capacity. I do think the MAP test is easier to perform consistently after you get comfortable doing a ride to exhaustion. Finally, I think the Coggan schema is better documented than the Stern schema (or others). Personally, I use the Coggan schema, but I use something similar to the MAP testing protocol to do my performance benchmark testing (go figure).
     
  3. skinnyrider891

    skinnyrider891 New Member

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    Thank you that is very helpful. Would you know any reading material I could pick up to learn more about the Stern system similar to training with a power meter by Allen and Coggan? What test is it you preform to find your ftp and how come you don't preform the standard 20min exhaustion test?
     
  4. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    For the Stern schema, I would suggest Alex Simmons' website or Ric Stern's website. As to testing for FTP, the standard test is an hour at constant power. Many people use the 20min test and then take a percentage of that (e.g., 95%), but that is a shortcut and not the actual test. When I do performance tests, I do several tests (e.g., 3min, 8min, 30min and 60min) at a constant power to exhaustion and use the Monod-Scherrer Critical Power Model to estimate my power at any duration (although the further out you go past 1hr the estimate will likely be somewhat overstated). Note that with tests to exhaustion you pick the power target (you guess based on recent performance) and then hold the target power as long as you can. It's not important to hit your target duration precisely because the Monod-Scherrer CP Model can use any duration in seconds. So, when I say 3min, 8min, etc., I just want to pick a power target that gets me in the vicinity of my duration target, but I don't care if I miss it. Every test produces a valid result (power/duration), regardless of what the result is.
     
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  5. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    Just to add to this:

    In description documents we provide along with RST training levels, we also provide an indication of typical durations for each training level, although that's not how we prescribe training.

    Keep in mind that training levels are descriptive, not prescriptive.

    Another difference is that some of the levels we use are not discrete, but overlap, which is a way of saying that impact of intensity is on a continuum, and to provide a reasonable scope for an athlete to adapt training that might be prescribed for a given day to suit how they might be feeling that day. Coggan's level are a little broader, which in effect achieves the same thing but in a different way.

    In terms of training prescription, we don't prescribe training at a given power level (e.g. "do a 3-hour Level 2 ride"), but rather describe the nature of the ride and what training levels are typically associated with performing such a ride (which for instance will vary depending on whether you're riding on the flat or going up hill, and any other characteristics on the ride). Layered on that may well be specific efforts for which we may specify a target power range to aim for.

    For those interested, you can calculate your power levels using MAP here:
    http://www.rstsport.com/event-training-feature-zones.htm


    Also, while we use the RST Sport training levels, I don't always use a MAP test to set the levels. The means used depend on the individual circumstance, as occasionally a MAP test isn't suitable for some people, or they don't have suitable set up to reliably perform one. Sometimes I'll use an alternative marker of aerobic capability, but the ratios are adjusted accordingly such that they align in the manner shown in the chart on my blog item referenced earlier.

    In any case, whether one uses Coggan's levels or RST levels isn't massively important - as what matters is the training you do, and less what you call the levels, no matter how they are split up. Really training levels are more about convenience in communicating intent between coach and athlete, and to give a clue as to the primary nature of adaptations being targeted.
     
  6. jcm01

    jcm01 New Member

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    RD - do you know where I can find a list of these minimum durations? Thanks!
     
  7. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    The best place is Andy Coggan's book (with Hunter Allen), Training and Racing with a Power Meter. They are also at this link on the TrainingPeaks website: http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/power-training-levels
     
  8. jcm01

    jcm01 New Member

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    Ok, thanks. I own the book, just need to read it now! :)
     
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