Ff and best workout for hills

good morning,

yesterday i made a ff the first time in level mode, aaaand i was a little blown away how bad I was.
it felt unusual hard rather than in erg mode, I wasn’t able to hold my ftp…
is this normal?
so compared to to hm i did in may i lost roundabout 30w at my ftp and roundabout 40w at my map.

also i am keen to know, what are your favourite workouts for better climbing?
also my cthr dropped from 163 to 147,
but I didn’t know what this should tell me, can anyone help me out?

kindly daniel

It often takes a few attempts to get FF in level mode right, so I would not worry so much about your result. You might try a Half Monty and see what FTP/MAP/Cthr you get.

How big and long are the hills that you have in mind?
Some of them go on for miles and miles.

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@Heretic thank for your reply

mostly around 5-6km between 5-11%
I ride a 11-28 cassette and ride between 12-16kmh ,
I want to get a little bit faster :slight_smile:

kindly daniel

There are a few things you can do to increase your success completing FF.

It’s important to find the right level for your trainer for each of the efforts. Some people use different levels for different sections of the test. Personally, I’ve found Level 2 is good for me on a Kickr '18 for all the efforts but ymmv.

If you always, or almost always ride in ERG mode, it would be a GREAT idea to do some of the workouts in Level mode just to get used to finding the right balance of cadence, gear and effort to match the targets. For FF specifically though, to find the best level, fiddle around with a few of them on an open ride in level mode, ignore the targets and see if you can find the best gearing and cadence for each of the main efforts. Though they’re all important, the critical ones are the 5 and 20 minute efforts. There’s some great advice here

yeh, holding your FTP is hard AF. You are basically riding on your limit for that whole 20 minutes. There are few workouts where you would sustain that level of effort for that length of time but it is an important metric for all your training.


thanks for your reply,
i was just wondering, because in erg mode I have no problem to hold my ftp for 20min
on the other hand, I hadn’t trained sprint at all,
but had a slightly increase.

now I am looking for workouts like g.o.a.t. ,
any recomendations?

kindly daniel

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Hey @daniel_dpunk, what workout has you holding your ftp for 20 mins in Erg mode?

If you ride between 12-16 kph then it will take you between 20 minutes and a half hour to do your hill. That is not a MAP based charge up the hill; it is basically an endurance pace.

I would focus on doing FTP based work, with some MAP work thrown. MAP work improves your glycolysis which, for most of us, contributes to our ability to go faster/go longer.


hi @Glen.Coutts , the ftp progression 3 5x8 , sub treshold 2x20 felt like a walk in the park

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But none of those requires you to hold your FTP for 20 minutes.

You could do an Open 30, set the target to whatever you think your FTP is and see how long you can hold it. If you get past 20 minutes, your FTP is set too low.


FTP + 5% for 20. The old HHNF was a great test to see if your FTP was right.


You say FF felt hard, what about it felt hard? The massive drop in your cTHR suggest something is off compared to you HM results.


I’m a little surprised that there has been little comment on doing FF in erg mode. FF is not so much a workout as a test of what your limits are; having your trainer constrain you to some arbitrary power level defeats that purpose. This is why the description explicitly instructs you to use level mode and why there are numerous visual and auditory reminders to switch to level mode before you hit the first test.

As others have said, which level to choose is a matter of individual choice. But don’t think that you have to use some heroically difficult level to get an accurate test. I’m pretty sure that I have seen no less an authority than Neal Henderson post that he is quite happy to do FF at level one, which also works for me.

The discrepancy between the FTP determined by HM and FF may not be that surprising, given that your rider profile is Sprinter. There are many threads that discuss this and most refer to this article by Coach Mac: 4DP vs Half Monty. HM tends to overestimate FTP for “anaerobically-inclined” rider types such as Attacker and Pursuiter. In my experience, I would add Sprinter to this. My rider type usually comes in as Pursuiter, occasionally as Sprinter, and I have consistently noted that HM gives a 20 - 30W higher FTP and will sometimes also overestimate MAP. A good test of the accuracy of HM numbers is to do Defender or Nine Hammers once you have sufficiently recovered from the test. If you can’t complete those workouts with the new numbers, or can only do so by grinding at low cadence for intervals that should be at high cadence, the FTP is probably too high. I’ve found that splitting the difference between the FF and HM estimates achieves a good balance.

If you are trying to improve your performance on longer climbs (welcome to the club!) @heretic is correct; you are by definition going to be working around FTP and FTP-focused workouts will be helpful. If you haven’t tried it yet, check out RGT as well, where you can test yourself against some iconic climbs such as Cap Formentor, Stelvio or Ventoux. These have the option to dial down the actual resistance if you need to ease into them.

A final comment re climbing is to consider a different cassette. For Shimano systems, cassettes with 30-, 32- and even 34-tooth cogs are available. Long, steep climbs will inherently be at lower cadences. Whatever you can do to up the cadence a bit will shift the load towards aerobic rather than muscular effort; your back will thank you. You may not use the largest cog often, but when you do you will be glad to have it.


@JGreengrass sorry for my late reply,
everything felt hard compared to erg mode, maybe I am not used to make the ff in level mode

hi @Salsa ,

thanks for your comment,
it is very helpful,
i was really surprised about the difference to erg mode
so maybe i was not used to level mode,
as @Glen.Coutts said,
I did the nine hammers, one of my favourites, and it felt relative easy ,
or in other words, I felt very fresh at end,

I also track my rides and workouts in intervals
and during my last ride i could go for 5 min at 200w at the end of a climb,
regarding to rgt… i will save that for the winter :slight_smile:
thank u all for your tips
kindly daniel

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But how was it hard. Were you out of breath, did your legs feel weak, were your muscles burning with lactic acid, did you struggle getting your cadence up, or struggle to find a gear to get it low enough?

What level did you use?

Glad to share my experience and to know that it is useful.

BTW, if you are riding outside with a power meter pedal, you may also note that if you do a 20-minute FTP test you will quite probably get a higher number than with FF indoors. This has also been much discussed on the forum and in at least one blog post.

hi @JGreengrass everything you mentioned :slight_smile:
i was in level 0
it was horrible :slight_smile:

hi @Salsa
yeah, i ride with a powermeter,

I will do the next outdoor :+1: