power profile question



acoggan

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Jul 4, 2003
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whoawhoa said:
On the Power Profiling table created by Andy Coggan (http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/images/powerprofile_v3.gif) what is the point (# of spaces between 5-min power and ft) that we can safely assume ft is being limited by v02max?

Well, technically speaking functional threshold power is always going to be limited by VO2max...but you're looking for a practical answer, not a discussion of the physiological deteminants of endurance exercise performance. ;)

Joking aside, what I would say is that "it depends", in this case on the individual. That's because:

1) individuals vary in their innate characteristics, such that one person (somebody with more fast twitch fibers, say) may have to work hard just to pull their LT up to 65-70% of their VO2max, whereas somebody else's LT may already be at 75-80% of VO2max even on minimal training, and

2) 5 min power and functional threshold power are not entirely "pure" indicators of the respective physiological traits they are meant to reflect, i.e., VO2max and LT. This is especially true for 5 min power and VO2max, where an individual with a very high anaerobic capacity will likely have an
"artificially" high 5 min power relative to their functional threshold power.

To give an example of how such individual differences can affect your power profile, consider the woman whose data are shown here:

http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/powerprofile-pursuiter.xls

Due to her high anaerobic capacity, this athlete can maintain a power requiring ~110% of VO2max for 5 min, whereas I, with a much lower anaerobic capacity, can only maintain a power eliciting ~100% of my VO2max for the same duration. However, for both of us functional threshold (maximal lactate steady state) power occurs at ~85% of VO2max. Consequently, when plotted on the power profiling chart her 5 min power and functional threshold power are only one row apart, whereas my 5 min power is four rows below my functional threshold power. This makes it appear that she may need to, or may benefit from, more attention paid to increasing her functional threshold power, but if you consider her 1 min power data (or additional information, e.g., her VO2max) this seems much less likely.

From a practical perspective, what I would suggest is that if 1) somebody's functional threshold power is four or more rows above their 5 min power, OR 2) they've been focussing on raising their functional threshold power for an extended period and have stopped making progress, then this might be an indication that their bumping up against their upper limit, and it's time to focus on raising the ceiling (i.e., VO2max). OTOH, you also need to keep competition goals/event specificity in mind as well - for example, somebody going after the hour record may want to still keep pounding away trying to raise functional threshold power, because even a small percentage gain could be critical to them.
 

rmur17

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Oct 5, 2004
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acoggan said:
Well, technically speaking functional threshold power is always going to be limited by VO2max...but you're looking for a practical answer, not a discussion of the physiological deteminants of endurance exercise performance. ;)

Joking aside, what I would say is that "it depends", in this case on the individual. That's because:

1) individuals vary in their innate characteristics, such that one person (somebody with more fast twitch fibers, say) may have to work hard just to pull their LT up to 65-70% of their VO2max, whereas somebody else's LT may already be at 75-80% of VO2max even on minimal training, and

2) 5 min power and functional threshold power are not entirely "pure" indicators of the respective physiological traits they are meant to reflect, i.e., VO2max and LT. This is especially true for 5 min power and VO2max, where an individual with a very high anaerobic capacity will likely have an
"artificially" high 5 min power relative to their functional threshold power.

To give an example of how such individual differences can affect your power profile, consider the woman whose data are shown here:

http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/powerprofile-pursuiter.xls

Due to her high anaerobic capacity, this athlete can maintain a power requiring ~110% of VO2max for 5 min, whereas I, with a much lower anaerobic capacity, can only maintain a power eliciting ~100% of my VO2max for the same duration. However, for both of us functional threshold (maximal lactate steady state) power occurs at ~85% of VO2max. Consequently, when plotted on the power profiling chart her 5 min power and functional threshold power are only one row apart, whereas my 5 min power is four rows below my functional threshold power. This makes it appear that she may need to, or may benefit from, more attention paid to increasing her functional threshold power, but if you consider her 1 min power data (or additional information, e.g., her VO2max) this seems much less likely.

From a practical perspective, what I would suggest is that if 1) somebody's functional threshold power is four or more rows above their 5 min power, OR 2) they've been focussing on raising their functional threshold power for an extended period and have stopped making progress, then this might be an indication that their bumping up against their upper limit, and it's time to focus on raising the ceiling (i.e., VO2max). OTOH, you also need to keep competition goals/event specificity in mind as well - for example, somebody going after the hour record may want to still keep pounding away trying to raise functional threshold power, because even a small percentage gain could be critical to them.
What would you infer and suggest for a rider who's current form is shown by the White highlighted cells and PB's by the Orange cell's? Hopefully the attachment shows up.

This rider is primarily interested in TT's - and perhaps not so hilly RR's ;)

rick
 

acoggan

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rmur17 said:
What would you infer and suggest for a rider who's current form is shown by the White highlighted cells and PB's by the Orange cell's? Hopefully the attachment shows up.

This rider is primarily interested in TT's - and perhaps not so hilly RR's ;)

rick


That's a bit of a trick question, since 1) I know it's you, and 2) there's more at play here than just fitness, or relative lack thereof. That said, the difference in your 1 min powers is the most striking, which in the absence of other factors would suggest that part of the reason that your 5 min is down is due to reduced anaerobic capacity. Even so, given that at peak fitness your functional threshold power was still a couple of rows below your 5 min power, I don't think you're going to be able to get the latter up to where it used to be (as you'll need to match your prior TT performances) unless you are also able to at least mostly restore the aerobic portion of your 5 min power, i.e., your VO2max. Keep training hard, though...I'm sure you'll get there!
 

rmur17

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Oct 5, 2004
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acoggan said:
That's a bit of a trick question, since 1) I know it's you, and 2) there's more at play here than just fitness, or relative lack thereof. That said, the difference in your 1 min powers is the most striking, which in the absence of other factors would suggest that part of the reason that your 5 min is down is due to reduced anaerobic capacity. Even so, given that at peak fitness your functional threshold power was still a couple of rows below your 5 min power, I don't think you're going to be able to get the latter up to where it used to be (as you'll need to match your prior TT performances) unless you are also able to at least mostly restore the aerobic portion of your 5 min power, i.e., your VO2max. Keep training hard, though...I'm sure you'll get there!
thanks for your vote of confidence :) But I should also advise/admit that I have not done a really hard 1-min effort in a while. It's likely that it's up a couple of rows just from regular training - not from L6 work now! 5-sec has always been a lost cause with me. Anything over 1000W is a good day.

I've done one whole entire L5 workout since last May although have ridden a few hills pretty hard unstructured. I hope I can get my 5-min power back up with a focus block perhaps in late Feb & March.

One funny thing is that if there was a column for 'endurance': perhaps 4hr power that I'm within 3% of PB's out there ~3.5W/kg versus 3.6W/kg all-time best. Gizmo powers are a little higher of course but indoors my Gizmo to 'approved' power ratio (VI) is quite low :)

rick (apologies for codespeak)
 

whoawhoa

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Oct 28, 2004
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acoggan said:
Well, technically speaking functional threshold power is always going to be limited by VO2max...but you're looking for a practical answer, not a discussion of the physiological deteminants of endurance exercise performance. ;)

Joking aside, what I would say is that "it depends", in this case on the individual. That's because:

1) individuals vary in their innate characteristics, such that one person (somebody with more fast twitch fibers, say) may have to work hard just to pull their LT up to 65-70% of their VO2max, whereas somebody else's LT may already be at 75-80% of VO2max even on minimal training, and

2) 5 min power and functional threshold power are not entirely "pure" indicators of the respective physiological traits they are meant to reflect, i.e., VO2max and LT. This is especially true for 5 min power and VO2max, where an individual with a very high anaerobic capacity will likely have an
"artificially" high 5 min power relative to their functional threshold power.

To give an example of how such individual differences can affect your power profile, consider the woman whose data are shown here:

http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/powerprofile-pursuiter.xls

Due to her high anaerobic capacity, this athlete can maintain a power requiring ~110% of VO2max for 5 min, whereas I, with a much lower anaerobic capacity, can only maintain a power eliciting ~100% of my VO2max for the same duration. However, for both of us functional threshold (maximal lactate steady state) power occurs at ~85% of VO2max. Consequently, when plotted on the power profiling chart her 5 min power and functional threshold power are only one row apart, whereas my 5 min power is four rows below my functional threshold power. This makes it appear that she may need to, or may benefit from, more attention paid to increasing her functional threshold power, but if you consider her 1 min power data (or additional information, e.g., her VO2max) this seems much less likely.

From a practical perspective, what I would suggest is that if 1) somebody's functional threshold power is four or more rows above their 5 min power, OR 2) they've been focussing on raising their functional threshold power for an extended period and have stopped making progress, then this might be an indication that their bumping up against their upper limit, and it's time to focus on raising the ceiling (i.e., VO2max). OTOH, you also need to keep competition goals/event specificity in mind as well - for example, somebody going after the hour record may want to still keep pounding away trying to raise functional threshold power, because even a small percentage gain could be critical to them.
Wow! Thanks for the answer. BTW, does functional threshold power as a % of v02max stay static when v02max is raised (causing ftp to rise) or vice versa?
 

acoggan

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whoawhoa said:
does functional threshold power as a % of v02max stay static when v02max is raised (causing ftp to rise) or vice versa?

That would depend in part on what's causing the increase in VO2max. Blood doping, for example, results in a greater increase in VO2max than in LT, such that the latter actually occurs at a lower relative (but still higher absolute) exercise intensity compared to the control condition.
 

kmavm

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May 16, 2005
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acoggan said:
That would depend in part on what's causing the increase in VO2max. Blood doping, for example, results in a greater increase in VO2max than in LT, such that the latter actually occurs at a lower relative (but still higher absolute) exercise intensity compared to the control condition.
Wow. I find that fascinating. Do you have a cite lying around for whatever demonstrates this? How about different training protocols; does, e.g., Z5 work raise, lower, or leave unaltered FT as a percentage of VO2max?

As a random aside, if you had access to an athlete's longitudinal performance data (say, all their .wko files over a long enough period), do you think this effect (unnaturally large VO2Max improvement relative to threshold improvement) would be noticeable that an expert could diagnose blood doping with any certainty?