From the Coaches: Are you training with accurate 4DP targets?

I have noticed a few topics in the forum recently discussing a workout being too hard, a plan too easy and athletes questioning their 4DP profile. Although workouts and plans are tailored to your rider type and 4DP profiles, the app can only work with what it knows, meaning it is up to the athlete to make sure they are revisiting these numbers on a regular (every 3months) basis.

Testing your 4DP numbers regularly ensures you are working with SMART goals. More often than not we see people using the best 4DP stats they have ever achieved. Using your accurate 4DP numbers, allows you to have a structured and periodised plan helping you to get closer and closer to your genetic potential.

As you can see in this example, the rider is going from a beginner level and you can see an encouraging increase in fitness in a reasonably short space of time. The rider has responded well to the stimulus of structured training following an effective routine which was new to the rider and maximised the adaptation phase. Once the body has seen this maximal gain and enters the plateau section, it is important to then make adjustments to avoid the body fatiguing.

Once the stimulus is adjusted with new 4DP numbers or applying a plan with a new focus,the process can restart but as the new stimulus is still cycling related with slightly increased 4DP numbers, the marginal gains over the course of this plan will most likely be smaller than the first time around. The higher the fitness level gets, the smaller those gains will be as your body becomes more powerful and efficient and gets closer to its genetic potential

I wish we could all just keep training from where we last left off and keep seeing fantastic gains but unfortunately the body goes backwards at a worryingly fast rate. As the saying goes: ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it!’.

The maintenance phase also becomes challenging here as the body is under continual stress and high fitness levels can only be maintained for a certain amount of time to peak for your chosen events. Our current transition plans are a great option to ease down intensity of training gradually without losing all the gains you have worked so hard towards.

Of course, throughout this entire process the body may have some days where it simply hasn’t recovered enough. When these days happen and the body is feeling lethargic, Coach Mac has put together an awesome flow chart to help you decide what to do.

Coming back to the original question of “is a workout too hard or a plan too easy?” , the answer is it depends on your 4DP profile and when you last tested. We never admit defeat in Sufferlandria and nobody can ever leave, but sometimes goals need to be re-assessed and self reflexion is key. As we have seen fitness levels can go up as well as down so if you know you are not at your best right now, be the bigger person and admit unfortunately you are not at your peak. However, why not set your goal to return to peak condition?

So go on and schedule your next Half Monty or Full Frontal workout! This may be a daunting feeling but think of it more as a fitness assessment, the piece of the puzzle which brings all of your training together. All you can do is give your best and whatever your 4DP numbers come out at, they are only going to help you train better in future. Your workout targets will be set more accurately for your training and allow you to keep achieving great things time and time again as you keep seeking your genetic potential!

Consistency is key and with hard work and determination your personal best may only be a few weeks away! If you want something a bit more personal, you can also consider our Customised plans which give you the opportunity to discuss these topics with your coach and then put a plan together to help you achieve your best!


Great article again!


What helps me, if my 4DP targets are still accurate, is my heart rate. What I be found out, over the years Suffering, that the hr targets suggested by the app, must be in line with the hr I m “getting”. If it’s not, whether too low or too high, the 4DP targets are off and it s testing time


Thank you @Coach.Rupert.H for reminding us to not Suffer to hard or to easy. For those with multiple trainers like me, don’t forget to test on the other trainer(s) as well. My findings are that the difference between my Tacx Neo 2 and my girlfriend’s Elite Direto is 5% to 6%. I don’t know if it always be like this…

You can do 2 tests in one week without to much added fatigue. Mid-plan you can change Saturday’s Primers with Wednesday’s workout and do Half Monty on Wednesday in stead of Primers.
At the end of the plan do Half Monty on Wednesday in stead of Taper Efforts.


Hi @Coach.Rupert.H, thanks for the post, quite interesting. It is clear having fresh numbers is beneficial on all counts.

This is a bit of a confession, maybe some others can relate: I’ve been constantly training with Sufferfest for 1.5 years now, seeing great results. However, I’m absolutely dreading going through Full Frontal again. I’ve been putting it off for a few months now. Any advice there?

Greetings from Colombia!


@ArnoKOS so you base the validity of your 4DP numbers off of your HR, is this right? How often do you find yourself revisiting your number or retesting? I have only tested twice this year and I am try to determine frequency.

@Coach.Rupert.H : can you elaborate that the plans are tailored for you rider type ? Does this mean that two riders with different rider type on the same plan won’t have the same workouts or it Taylor by the 4dp values?

Can your rider type and weaknesses impact the hr zone? I am mostly always under the specified intended zone.

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I’m finding Half Monty numbers are in the range of 5-6% higher than FF, resulting in impossible sessions. I mean, I like to be challenged, but when I can’t push the pedals half way into the workout something has gone awry.


@Juanale81, you’re not the only one with full Frontal fear:

@ArnoKOS & @BykeRyder18, HR is a great tool to use as you are getting ‘live’ data from your body on how a workout is affecting you. If you stop training for a few weeks and come back in at the same numbers, your muscles may still be able to work with them however your HR rate will most likely suffer.

@Yanick sure, I guess by rider type I mean more it is going to help improve on your weakness while still focussing in the outcome of the plan you have chosen. The sport science team worked hard to make these different variations of each plan to make them as beneficial as possible to all riders.
When you click on a plan, you will see an icon in the top right of the screen saying: “This plan is customised to your 4DP Rider type”.

@Calvin_Crawford Sorry you are finding the numbers a little too challenging- I know how you feel I get the same in the first week after doing HM but then try and stick with them to help my body adapt. If you are finding them too challenging though, click on your passport and find your last Full Frontal Activity to keep working with those. (Alternatively, next time HM comes up, do FF in replacement if you know those numbers give you a better reflection- be sure to do primers the day before though and allow an extra recovery day).


Thanks for both the graph and the commentary - are we ok to post a link to this when people ask on the facebook pages @Coach.Rupert.H?

It’s much harder explaining the ‘things tend to decrease (in gains percentage terms) over time’ story when it can sometimes come across from us non coaches as ‘patronising’ to people, but when it’s a proper article like this it can help get it across as a ‘fact based’ thing

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@ArnoKOS @BykeRyder18 on that HR thing - I do this too (to a point). And I suspect in this example we’re talking about when we’re pretty happy it’s like for like situations. @BykeRyder18 the risk being that if this method is used when fatigued say, or maybe we’ve lobbed some massively caffeinated pre workout thing down, we can have lower or higher than normal HR’s and it becomes less of a ‘measure’.

But I do think as a ‘thing’ I find it useful to be able to see where my HR is in a FF test most noticeably. During FF if I know/feel my legs seem ‘ok’ and my HR builds to a point I expect in the MAP test, and then rises into what I know from years of testing is my LTHR ‘band’ then I then become pretty happy that my FF test is a good one.

Whereas, sometimes I can see from HR that my test isn’t good, legs crying, body unhappy and HR doesn’t rise because I’m not rested enough.
And I also use my HR to tell me I’m fatigued generally … unable to get the HR to rise fast enough, or not recovering HR to lower levels fast enough

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This is a great article, and put so clearly, even I can understand it. I peaked a few days before the end of the last TOS and it lasted a week or so before my form tailed off. I retested with gains all round except the 20 min which was a howler. And so I manually adjusted this metric back up to where it was , and found I could not complete workouts. If you have given the test all you can, then believe the numbers. Regarding test fear, I find the fear comes from a worry about the results. Taken as a stand along training session, it is not so bad you get your toes over the edge but not the rest of you

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After a grueling 6 weeks of hell, because of the highest results I typed in (just what @Coach.Rupert.H referred to), I did HM Sunday and it was just what I expected. Although yesterday’s Attacker seemed a little easy I still don’t know if the outcome of HM is on the light side. There are more Sufferlandrians with lower or higher HM results making workouts too easy or too hard. What I read is that FTP numbers are a bit off.

I’m curious what the underlying issue is that’s causing this to happen…

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I’'ve definitely noticed a few times where I’m felt great in the middle or towards the end of a training plan, but then ended up feeling tired and fatigued at the very end when I went to take the actual 4DP test, so I felt my new numbers were likely not as good as they should have been. But, that’s just my opinion and experiences. :slight_smile:


A very useful article - thanks @Coach.Rupert.H

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It depends. When I look at this year about every 6-8 weeks


@Martin, of course feel free to share any forum content. The more the merrier in Sufferlandria- as long as we all agree that you can never leave :smiling_imp:

@Zhadox, there is alot of buzz and discussion around HM the results do vary slightly for all rider types, most ramp tests can overestimate FTP if you are stronger at shorter efforts, in the same way, that taking 95% of a max 20-minute effort can overestimate FTP for many. The Sport Science team is always looking at how we can improve the workouts and make you suffer more :face_with_monocle:

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I tried the HM 6 days after 4DP .map was +4 , ftp + 15. I started failing workouts at the new numbers so took the 4DP as the correct ones


IT doesn’t take much at all to realize quite quickly that ones numbers are off. LOL!