5min power - strength on TrainingPeaks power profile, weakness in 4DP


Been using Sufferfest for a while and have done multiple FF’s over last few years. One thing I have noticed is that while my 4DP suggests that my 5min power is a weakness, if I compare that against the power profiles in TrainingPeaks’ it would be my relative strength against other cyclists, and that my 5second and 1 min power are “strengths” in 4DP but weaknesses in power profiles.

Training Peaks Power profile for last 2 years here (5min power relative strength)

4DP results show that 5min power is my relative weakness - this is consistent with all 8 previous FFs (can only upload 1 image per post so will put the 4DP results in subsequent post, but basically it says relatively 5min is weakest then 20min power then 5sec and 1 min are stronger.

Rider profile type is Attacker - which I don’t disagree with, but wonder why my 1 min power is so poor in the TrainingPeaks profile

Question is out of curiosity as pretty committed to FTP building for some long distance races, but bugs me every time I open TrainingPeak so thought I would see if somebody far better qualified could shed some light.

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Here is my latest 4DP profile showing the 5min power as a weakness

Hi @RichS and welcome. The 4DP power profile “is not meant to show how you compare to other cyclists, but rather how the different ways of producing power ranks in the context of your sustained power”. Quoting this article there Learn More About Your Four-Dimensional Power Profile – The Sufferfest

I’ll leave it to those better qualified than me to comment further but if you’re looking to build FTP then you may want to look at raising your MAP first as that acts as a ceiling for FTP. FTP at 85% of MAP means you’re really close to head butting (in non-qualified non-technical terms) that ceiling.

As for the Training Peaks power profiling… going with no comment.


Thanks James,

Yes from a training POV I am working on MAP to raise the ceiling so I can get my FTP up, have done that before and seems to make me much faster on the road, but also seems to be where I loose fitness quickest.

My question was probably a bit more academic. The TP profiles are to my understanding based on a lot of testing down by Allan / Cougan of different cyclists, I wasn’t that interested in my comparison against them but that by that measure MAP was relatively my strength, but by 4DP my weakness.

Agree with @JamesT but one more thing to consider regarding your 1 min power. And this, may answer your follow-up question.

If you read Allan/cougan’s book, specifically their testing protocol, their 1 min test is before the 20 min test. Now, the coaches would need to weigh in, but I would guess that doing the 1min power before versus after the 20 min effort would result in different, likely higher, value. Their table of w/kg is, I believe based in their testing protocol.

So in a sense you are comparing oranges to mandarins… or something like that.

But I am not a coach and not sure if my thinking is right.

Complete agree about difference in testing protocol, which maybe where my confusion lies. My understanding is that the TP chart is taking the peak power for that duration in the time period, so I could do a 10 min warm up smash a 1 min interval and head home and that would show up as the peak.
The ratings in the power profile had been generated from taking lots of ride data to generate the bands, but outside of Full Frontal I have probably never done a full out 1 min interval.

If I wasn’t mid plan I would try to replicate the Allan / Cougan test and see what happens.

The 4DP profile seems more sensible to me as my MAP is barely 115% of my FTP so creating a ceiling, but it bugs me every time I look at TrainingPeaks.

I remember having similar ponderings on my 1 min power, and the different message I was getting from TP and SUF. Then I did the Trick, and it made more sense. From your post above, I am guessing you perhaps haven’t done the Trick, where you get to do 4 x 1 min full gas efforts. For the first effort you are fresh, and that is where I have set my 1 min PBs. As the efforts go on my average power tends towards my AC from Full Frontal, with the first effort being ~15-25% higher than the last. As noted above, you are not comparing like for like.

@RichS , Just as James mentioned, the big difference in the 4DP is that it compares you to you vs. you to others. Also, the peaks chart that you put up shows ALL peaks, not just from tests. So, if you have a 5 second best one day and a 20 min best another day it is going to look at that info. The 4DP protocol is meant to help you understand yourself as a rider, so that you can make accurate training decisions based on your relative strengths and weaknesses rather than have you hit your (independent) peak numbers for any of the time values. The big metric that is in the 4DP numbers is ‘how well do you recover’? That is why the recovery periods are limited and the 1 min comes last. There is no data in the TP graph that will give you that. However, if you want to max out the different time segments in the TP chart you should target each one fresh. A good place to hit those 1 minute efforts is The Trick. In the end, I would certainly not judge who you are as a rider (or racer) by the TP’s power profiling chart.
Hope this helps.


Thanks for the reply on this. I had exactly the same question as Rich, with my MAP effort flagged as my weakness in the 4DP (significantly/disappointingly so relative to the others) yet my TP chart shows it as my ‘best’ attribute. I’ve looked at the TP plot many times and also Coggan’s original chart (Zwiftinsiders refer to this also when they discuss determining your racing category, though I don’t zwift anyway).

The ‘you vs you’ / ‘you vs others’ argument is important. It’s actually more subtle than an apples vs apples/apples v oranges relationship typically important in comparing stats. What I find quite interesting in all of this is what is ‘typical’, as that’s the baseline you’re using if you use TP/Coggan’s comparison method. If people typically have a very, VERY poor MAP relative to their other metrics then I guess l’ll look good if I am ‘only’ very poor (again ignoring that 4Dp is based on single-session metrics and not best-of across its full data set).

I’m a bit of a numbers nerd so I find this stuff very interesting.

Hi Lee,

I did a bit more reading on this and found this article by Coggan, which was interesting Power Profiling | TrainingPeaks

Basically the Coggan profiles are based on the best performances of the best riders in each category so only let you compare against them not against a generic rider across all the different power segments.

Given I am not a track sprinter the low 5 and 1 min scores on Coggan make sense, and the 5 min “weakness” in 4DP is probably my limiting factor as that is what will put a ceiling on my FTP.

Thanks Rich, good spot. That makes sense.

The 5min limiting the the FTP definitely seems to be the case for me too. I guess that just menas plenty of 5minute suffering rather than 20minute suffering. Hurrah!

For those who are finding the 20 min as (relative) strength in 4DP but weakness in TP, as coach Jeff said, it s looking at your maxes. I would bet you if you were to do a fresh, rested, full-gas 20 minute effort—which sucks, btw, it is a tough duration—you will find that TP may see it as more of a strength. The fact it comes after the 5 in the 4DP means you’re not really showing what you can do.

This is kind of the point of why 4DP is the way it is. It means you can’t use glycolitic contribution to “fake” a higher FTP in your 20 min test

I trust the SUF 4DP estimates above what TP says. I just go based on my observed results in races. 4DP shows that my relative weakness is MAP, and sure enough, every single time–except for once when I crashed–that I’ve been dropped out of a race, it was because I blew up three or four minutes into a five-minute hammer. When 4DP pegged me alternately as a sprinter or an attacker, at first, I just thought it got my rider type wrong, because I’ve always seen myself as strictly an endurance athlete. That was before I had done many group-start races. Then I started noticing that nobody ever snaps me off their wheel with an attack, and if I get a clear shot at the finish line, my sprint makes most of the other riders go backwards in a hurry. So SUF 4DP detected a very important aspect of my racing ability that I originally had no clue about.