FF Efforts

One for the coaches here…

We all know the FF is a beast of session and takes time to master the pacing of the 5 and 20 minute segments but this is about the first 2 efforts, those pesky sprints!

In my last FF my NM went down, no problem, I’ve never really had that explosive power so I just put my head down and do what I can.

Today I had the pleasure of completing omnium and from one the standing starts I destroyed my NM power figure, I mean blew it away like it wasn’t there to begin with. I honestly don’t believe my NM has developed that much over the last 12 weeks though so my question is this:

Should sprints in FF be done from a standing or rolling start to achieve best results relative to the test?

I get that in the outside world sprints are from a rolling start and that from a standing start, that initial stamp on the pedals generates a whole of power but it got me thinking about it… once I had enough spare oxygen to go my brain anyway!

Thoughts please

Hello @Sir_Paul! Generally speaking, peak neuromuscular power in humans is developed between 90 and 130 RPM…so quick answer is that NM sprints in FF should be done from a rolling start, for sure.

That being said, the kind of trainer that you’re using, the kind of training that you’ve been performing, and your technique (standing/seated, starting cadence/gear selected, etc.) all impact where you can generate peak NM power. We find that many folks tend to use too big of a gear during the NM sprints during Full Frontal. I usually recommend starting in a gear where you’re at 80-85 RPM at approximately 100% FTP power and then start sprinting without changing gears…trying to accelerate as quickly as possible while out of the saddle.

If your trainer doesn’t have a significant flywheel/resistance then it’s possible that you will spin out the gear pretty quickly. While using a KICKR I can consistently hit > 1000 watts by doing sprints on Level 0 (level mode) in a 53X16 gear starting off at 80-90 RPM. When I do a max 5s sprint in Full Frontal, I still use Level 0, but a 53 X 14 gear and typically hit 1300-1400W for the 5s efforts at a cadence of ~115 RPM.
If you haven’t done enough high cadence training (especially workouts like cadence builds) and/or if your maximum cadence is <150 RPM then you likely have a speed limitation that will prevent you from hitting peak NM power at a “normal” cadence of 90-130 RPM.

Doing a workout like Violator in Level mode is a good way to figure out the kind of gear and cadence necessary to hit peak power…since you get about 64 attempts to get it right :wink:

Standing starts allow for a higher peak torque, but not necessarily a higher peak power (though in the course of a standing start, we often see peak power generated in the last 5s of a 20s start effort since the cadence is getting up over 100 RPM).

Let me know if that makes sense!


That all makes sense and provides a great insight in how to approach those sprints. Thank you very much for such a detailed response.

Based on all you say, I think the way I set myself up the sprints needs a review. For such a short effort standing is my preferred choice, it’s the rpm/starting wattage relationship that I need to focus on. I feel that my wattage is too low so spending too much time spinning up to full power, and time is not luxury you have for those sprints.

Thanks again for you reply, really appreciate it. Time to go away and practice… but perhaps not with violator!!


True…only managed 46 of the 64 in Violator last time I tried it (during 2020 ToS after arriving home after flying from near your home to mine all day :wink: )


Sir @Coach.Neal.H not bad, but I believe I hit 50/64 in ToS 2020 :wink: granted no flying, but I’ll raise you a teething baby lol

I feel a sprint off coming on in 2021! I’m sure we could make some kind of Davis Phinney bonus fundraiser out of it??


Nice and yes, I’m definitely open to that challenge @aerobrain!


Let me know when you beat 132 consecutive kW :grin: p.s. silly game


Sir @JamesT that is beastly!!! Was that instant peak?!

All the games are totally pointless, that’s why we do them :rofl:

Sir @David.McQuillen.KoS get your thinking cap on for how we can help the foundation profit from this!! :slight_smile:


Peak for a few seconds. Rules as set by Sirs Neal and Jared for ToS’16 stage 9 I think (the one that was doubled with Power Station). They didn’t do 64 then either :grin:


We’re in danger of having to flag ourselves for off topic now… :joy:


Yeah sorry @Sir_Paul!! :slight_smile:


I was enjoying the banter if I’m honest!!


Sir Paul. If applicable you may find it helpful to play with the level modes for sprinting. I found this helped me select the right gear without me either fading or spinning out


Thanks @alchurch, time to play before getting back to real suffering!


It’s been a while but I’ve finally put @Coach.Neal.H advice into practice and guess what? It worked! Now doing sprints consistently over 1000 watts. Thank you!!

The best bit though was doing them in FF and not showing as having a NM weakness at the end. That has meant that I now have a new plan that doesn’t feature Violator!!

2021 has started well! Happy new year indeed :tada:


Love to hear that @Sir_Paul! Keep up the great work. Cheers, Neal

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Thanks a lot for the great description @Coach.Neal.H, maybe this could be added to How to Get The Most out of Full Frontal – The Sufferfest at the Sprint Section.
Since I blew the Sprints in my 1st and 2nd FF Tests I want to get everything right in the post Tour Test.

Is it recommended to disable power smoothing in sufferfest and the trainer? I would at least expect it to lead to higher numbers.
Are those settings independent from the Kickr and Sufferfest?

My plan is to go to my FTP power with ~80 rpm in a relatively high gear (44 x 17) and then go out of the saddle and all out.
Maybe even increase the Level mode by 1 or 2 right before the Sprint or is that going to skew the result? The Kickr v4 Flywheel should be heavy enough.
I tested this in my recovery ride yesterday but was down 15% and 20% from my last FFs but I think/hope I just had a bad day.

I tried going into the sprints from a 90 cadence, but it does not work for me. To use a gear that enables a 90 cadence and not spin out has me fading before the sprint.I seem to do better when spinning at about 80-85 in correct cog but small chainring, then changing to big ring a few secs before the gun. Hopefully there is not enough time for the cad to drop too much , and hopefully I get to about 105-110 before going bang

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Power smoothing should only affect the way the data is displayed while you’re riding, not your actual underlying data. But if you want to see your actual data while you’re riding, you should probably turn it off.