Does 4DP results auto suggest training plans to follow?

Newbie question… I completed my 14 day intro plan and am almost done with the pre full frontal plan. I’m going to take my Full Frontal to learn 4DP results this Sunday.

I love the structured training and was wondering if the app suggests similar training plans based on those 4DP results? Going forward will it suggest plans for certain cycling drills, yoga, strength, mental, etc. Or do I need to figure all that out ala carte trial and error style using building blocks training developing my own?


What plan you select, and whether strength, yoga and mental training, depends on you and what you want to achieve.

The app doesn’t (yet) have any method of taking your goals AND 4DP results to spit out a suggested plan.

So, the question is: what are your cycling goals?

There are a large number of plans available but the app won’t suggest a Gravel Grinder plan if your goal is to produce a PB on your local club’s 10 mile TT.


My understanding is that the 4DP results are used to customize any plan you choose from the menu—my All Purpose Road plan will look different than someone who has a real aerobic system, for instance, not just in terms of the absolute target numbers, but also in terms of relative efforts. Perhaps someone who knows more could give a better answer here, though.

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Thank you for the response! I was curious because I know that with structured more focused training there are reasons why it’s structured the way it is.

The reason I’m asking, is because I used to workout at the gym (stretching, free body, weights, machines and cardio), 4 times per week plus ride outdoors the remainder of the week. That riding usually consisted of crit training, group and solo rides, centuries or further, (all typically full gas for many miles and hours). With that in mind and full disclaimer, I wasn’t speed racer, lucky to place decently in a sanctioned crit race in CAT5 or time trial, and it’s usually a struggle to keep up with the group on a 50+ mile ride that they do in about 2 hours pushing 250+ watts. They’re averaging 20+ miles per hour, while I’m doing about 17-19 (off the back or in front on my turn), and averaging 200’ish watts with sprints and hills over 500 watts. I was always striving for it, but never obtaining it.

I’m a muscular build and my lowest cycling weight was 185, although I usually did better at about 190-200 lbs. I had endurance and power on tap, but had a ton of trouble with with the group’s surges, faster than I could bare hill climbs etc. I’m 55 years old and running at 190+ bpm to catch those guys isn’t smart. The older riders that were masters somehow accomplish these feats while maintaining 135-145 bpm. My threshold is like 155 so I’m constantly blowing up and recovering on these rides.

In shape 2019 (I’m the taller guy)…

Don’t even want to share a photo now lol.

Currently after a season off, working from home and recovering from Covid, I’m 30 lbs over ideal and trying to recapture lost fitness, not just for me personally, but so I can hang with the club this season.

However, if I was overtraining then I want to end that and focus on being a better cyclist using 4DP.

I’m tempted to add all the training Sufferfest has to offer, but not if it’s going to be counter productive.

I know that was a long answer, just trying to figure out how to use all the features to benefit the greatest.

Ah, I read your original post again, and will add that you have the option with most training plans from the menu to include or not include strength training, yoga, and mental training. The workouts for those cross-training activities are done within the SUF app (though I suppose you could sub a gym workout for a strength video), and I don’t think those cross-training parts are dependent on the 4DP results, but someone who knows more should confirm/deny. I applaud your group riding efforts—those sound like intense rides! I think different things work for different people in terms of gaining fitness, so it’s worth trying something new if you feel like you’ve plateaued or just want something fresh. Another thing to consider is purchasing a call with an SUF coach, who will definitely be better qualified to help you understand optimal training loads for your specific goals.

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I do get the general impression that you may have been over-training in the past. It sounds like you were smashing yourself hanging onto group rides with faster guys, while doing a lot of gym work on top. Sounds like a harsh regime to me!

After your FF test, how about starting off with something like the 12 week All-Purpose Road plan + strength and yoga? Your 4DP results will automatically customise the plan to your strengths and weaknesses and at the end you should see some good gains across the board. Then you can go again with whatever plan fits your riding goals for the season. The various plans are self-explanatory in their goals and will always be customised to your current 4DP rider profile.

SUF doesn’t choose training plans for you, but it will suggest a few specific workouts to target your strengths and weaknesses from your 4DP results. But if you choose to follow any of the plans then you don’t really have to worry about choosing individual workouts as they will all be incorporated in the plan as appropriate to your 4DP profile.

Best of luck with your training, I’m sure you will soon be right back in the action!

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@toddsdonald I agree with the points that @Peteski makes and would also suggest listening to the Breakfast with Boz podcasts on aging and how it affects your training. Basically you need to schedule in more recovery which means you are on the right track to find a plan that keeps you within the lines. I also had a weight lifting background before SUF and tried to maintain some of that intensity while doing the SUF plans. It didn’t work. If you do go that route I would suggest starting slowly and letting yourself adapt to the workload - something I learned the hard way.

Thank you Peteski, I think the all purpose road plus strength and yoga sounds like a good plan! And what you mentioned about choosing any plans is comforting as well. I like just opening up the calendar and doing whatever it says. Takes three guesswork out of it and I can already tell the difference between doing structured training even if it feels too easy sometimes, but way better than smashing myself trying to hang on with faster guys, (and some girls too).

I appreciate the feedback, thanks!

Thanks jsampson! I love podcasts and I’ll look that up. I’m currently reading Joe Friel’s cycling after 50 book and it’s very interesting to learn what happens to our bodies as we age. But I know there’s hope… The bike shop owner who’s the founder of our bike club raced professional for Schwinn back in the day, (Wheaties sponsored), and he’s still one of the fastest of the bunch and he’s about 70!

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Hey @toddsdonald it sounds like you’re well on your way to being a full time Sufferlandrian!

Great that you have Full Frontal planned for Sunday, here are some top tips:

As for the plans they will take into account your rider type and weakness to make sure to include those areas as well as improve your overall fitness.

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You are most welcome!

I’m a similar age (53) and find that recovery is just as important as intense training. I recently completed the advanced all-purpose road plan (with strength) and found the training volume just about perfect with a 3/1 week recovery ratio. Some older guys prefer a 2/1 recovery ratio, which I believe the intermediate plans have. That might be something to consider if you haven’t been training for a while.

I also go pretty light on the strength training, following the beginner level strength course. I find these 20-30 min routines twice a week provide just enough benefit without adding too much training stress. In isolation these sessions may appear very easy (especially if you did a lot of gym work previously), but once you experience some of the harder SUF workouts with fresh 4DP numbers you will be glad you saved your legs!

As the weather improves I’m moving onto the hilly Gran Fondo training plan with the indoor/outdoor option to increase volume ready for summer endurance events. I will continue with the beginner strength to keep that side of things in shape.

One of the big benefits I’ve found with SUF training is in balancing out my strengths and weaknesses. I now feel like I have a more versatile power and cadence range and I can deal with group power surges much better than ever before. I’m sure you will find the same and I think that’s where the 4DP customisation really works.


Woohoo, Full Frontal done. And on the upside it does send an email with suggested training plans. Test was okay, my only complaint was that none of the previous training, including the full frontal prep plan, taught me how to use “Level Mode”. I fired up the training and once it got started it popped up a message telling me to switch to level mode, so I clicked that.

Unfortunately, after 3 weeks of training leading up to this, taking the test was like showing up at a crit race on an adventure bike and street clothes, totally ill prepared but still able to do it. I fuddled through it, despite being more mentally focused on which gears to be in for what and when, than I was on the test itself… Unless that’s part of the mental toughness training (sneaky), to try and teach concentration lol.

The other thing that kept throwing me off was that it tells you not to worry about certain targets, but they still are there, so I never really knew if I should be trying to match power, or cadence, or both like during the prep training. I was all over the map shooting for one while trying to match the other, while trying to find the right gear combination… Yikes it was a mess. The full frontal prep plan should have at least a couple of sessions to try and teach how to use Level Mode properly and the full frontal test itself should get rid of the targets it doesn’t need you to worry about, and only show the ones to concentrate on during the test.

Needless to say, I’m sure the full frontal had some benefit, and the training that follows that will be calibrated to it should help, but it was sort of a bust. Honestly, I should probably do the whole thing over again, does anyone know if there’s training that teaches how to properly use Level Mode? I’ve always been an outdoor rider, so changing gears doesn’t bother me, but when you’re outdoor riding you can tell when to change them, which is the polar opposite of virtual training.

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@toddsdonald Congrats on the results! Yes - the 1st time can be difficult and my experience was probably similar to yours.

What sort of setup do you have? Is it a bike on a trainer? If so you can either select a level, change gears or both. When you next do full frontal it is best to prepare in advance for what settings you will need. Many other riders just use an Open 30 or 60 workout and go through the various level and gear combinations to find where the power and cadence works best for the targets that you have set for yourself. Also some trainers publish power curves which are helpful but the easiest method is just trial and error.

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Thanks J Sampson. I’ve got a Cycleops Magnus and running Sufferfest on a Windows 10 PC.

Luckily I’ve never used an indoor trainer until just these past couple of months, so I’m used to shifting gears. Actually that was super confusing for me and the software in the beginning because I didn’t realize you weren’t supposed to shift gears. Anyway, long story short I just clicked on Level Mode which I believe is set to 3 and tried to do the best I could, but there’s no good way to predetermine when you should change gears, like you can outside when you can see or feel changes that are happening in real time so you can adapt by changing gears. Instead during the test it’s just like “get ready there’s a sprint coming up” (or whatever the next thing is), and you’ve got a split second to try to figure out which gear to get into. I nearly dropped my chain a few times, pre spun and shifted up for upcoming efforts like in real life, only to get flagged for doing it outside the predetermined window of time. I blew up on the 20 minute test because it gives a power target but the first minute is spent wrestling with gears to figure out a decent cadence and tempo.

Excuses I know… But it was super confusing.

I would suggest ignoring all the targets completely. Your only target should be Perceived Effort. Ride on feel. Admittedly, that can be difficult if you’re only 3 weeks in.

I got lucky. I started on a dumb trainer, so level mode was second nature. But once I switched to a smart trainer and ERG mode, FF definitely seemed a whole lot different. So, I totally understand the difficulty.


Congratulations on your 4dp results and welcome to sufferlandria.

12 weeks ago my results were not great but I have improved massively by following a plan.

Stick with it and you’ll be sticking with the pack in no time. Based on your story above, I started behind where you already are and have improved immensely.

Good luck, and enjoy the community. We’re all here to help and support each other.

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I’ve not done the Full Frontal yet. So are we supposed to shift gears and do the leveling modes? Or do we use ERG? I’ve only ever used ERG mode and keep the chain on the middle cogs. I find that the lower cogs tend to cross chain which doesn’t work out so great. So I always thought you pick a place in the cogs where it is all lined up.

Level mode and gears for full frontal. There is a learning curve to making sure you give it your best effort and get the bike right.


@seanvk When you start a workout you can change the setting under the devices tab from Erg to Level and then chose a level - from 0 to 9. You don’t necessarily have to change gears in level mode.

Erg or Level Mode


The idea is to use level mode so that you have full control over your own power output during the intervals. Treat it like riding outdoors on flat or slightly rising terrain. Then choose gears appropriate to the various interval lengths. The various levels just simulate different road gradient. Level 0 is a flat road and level 9 the steepest climb you could imagine!

I usually do FF in level 2 or 3. The higher the level you choose, the more the resistance ramps up between gears. So it’s best not to go too high on the level otherwise you will have big resistance gaps between gears. It’s like you wouldn’t normally choose to do an outdoor FTP or Sprint test on a very steep climb. Ideally you would choose a flat course or a slight incline.

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