Full Frontal Failure

Failed Full Frontal today. Sprints were good, felt fine for 2 mins of the 5 min effort then it all went wrong. Stopped peddling at 3 min. Tried to pick myself up and did finish but same happened as I went into the 20 min effort, I could see my power dropping and knew the results would be less than I was capable of - I did HM in the week, which tends to give pretty accurate results for me. So frustrating as I felt great doing primers yesterday. But that’s the last twice I’ve flunked FF. I’m sure it’s a mental thing, but I’m not sure what I can do. It’s annoying as I know my numbers have gone up but without FF I cant make sure the workouts are targeting my 4DP weakness correctly.

I know it’s something I’ve got to deal with and get over. I’ll head into 3 weeks of base before ToS then will try again.

Could be mental. If so, one good way to approach learning how to pace is to try to negative split it. Start below what you think you can achieve and increase the power every minute. Eventually you get closer and closer to squeezing out all the toothpaste from teh tube by the last minute (i.e. better at pacing). You really don’t want to do the fly-and-die approach that you do with the one min.

It also could be that you weren’t fresh enough. The FF is taxing, after all. It’s not always because you didn’t rest enough, sometimes you just don’t have it. There’s a lot of variables with the body and it’s hard to control them all. When this happens, you still want to try to gut it out (see above) because you never know, you also might not feel perfect on race day and it’s good to be teach yourself to perform as best you can even so without getting mentally tripped up.

Finally: it could also just be that your Half Monty MAP is not a power that you can sustain for 5 minutes. The top step of a ramp test and a full-gas 5 minute test are both means of estimating your Vo2max; they should get you a similar result but i don’t think there’s any reason to expect it to be perfectly identical. It could be something like, maybe your MAP is X watts, but you can only sustain it for 3 and a half minutes?


All good points, thank you. On reflection I think today was a combination of mental and possibly not quite fresh enough (a snow ball fight with the kids an hour before might not be the prep!)

Like a lot of people, I also tend to get a bit of Full Frontal anxiety. I think I might try again in another day and not schedule it in, but do it when the legs and head are in a good place.


@Alistair_Brown The reality is that it is a tough test. I now make a habit of rewatching the prep video each time I do it and I also do the mental toughness videos and exercises as well. I also watch the Full Frontal video - scrolling through most parts and write down the targets and any other helpful comments. Finally I do a warm up video - I think I used GCN’s Ready, Steady, Go last time.

Here are my notes relating to pacing and strategy:

5 sec / NM: For sprint - start at FTP power going into the sprint around 80 to 90 RPM and then accelerate to 110 to 120 RPM. Do not change gears.

5 min / MAP: Start close to current MAP and work to get to limit after 1st minute coming in and out of the saddle if needed. Use a higher cadence. Get to 2 1/2 minutes and then start attacking hard and then sprint at the end.

20 min / FTP: Watch splits. For 1st 10 min aim for 80% of the 5 min effort. Adjust up after 10 min. Avoid surge at end (means didn’t go hard enough). Hold at the cadence that feels right.

1 Min / AC: Start strong like a sprint start and hold on to effort at a high cadence. Double MAP effort for 1st 15 sec, sit and mash for 30 sec and then sprint at the end. Don’t leave anything - spend it all.

If you have the time, try riding The Bat. It is a good video to perfect positive self talk which is definitely helpful during the test.


Thanks. I have done the MTP in the past, I might revisit it again. I think taking some pressure off myself will help too.

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I agree with everything here except the sprint at the end of the MAP segment. That’s not necessary and wouldn’t influence your map average that much anyway.


Yes - agreed. I think that is more of a note to myself keep pedaling to the very end.

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I guess pacing the 5 minute effort makes sense but the 1 min effort shouldn’t be paced. Negative splitting for the 5 min effort might not be the worst idea just so you don’t go too hard to start, but then you might run into the issue of not going hard enough unless you ramp up every 30 seconds or so after the first minute.

For the 1 min effort:
Stand up, sprint as hard as you can, when your legs start to feel funny, sit down. Then when you’re in the last 15 seconds or so, stand up and sprint again. For me it ends up looking like 15 sec sprint standing, 30 seconds pedaling seated, 15 seconds sprint again. The second sprint effort basically looks just like the 30 seconds before it in terms of power because you’re spent. The only benefit to standing again is using slightly different muscles to keep it going.

The 1 minute effort is terrible, but it’s basically an all out sprint. Trying to keep things like ‘double MAP effort’ etc shouldn’t factor into it at all imho.

I wouldn’t stress too much about it honestly. I hate long efforts like the FF and I’m not even sure how often I’m planning on doing it.

You can always use the relationship between your different power durations to help figure out how to do things. Maybe do a 1 min effort at the end of the HM. That way you’ll get everything but the NM power from that test. I hate training NM on the trainer anyway so I don’t pay much attention to that anyway. I’m mentally not going to fully commit to the sprints during the FF so the HM might even end up working better for me if I throw in a one minute effort at the very end.

That could actually be a cool test… i.e. the HM+ so to speak.

I tried that sprinting strategy last FF and I was down 140W I usually get cadence to about 80 then a second before the sprint ,change into big ring and off I go. I feel I have some resistance to push against. Riding near threshold and sprinting was like pushing through yoghurt I spun out with a minimal increase in wattage

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@ridethecliche Yes - agreed. I did find that piece in the “How to Get the Most out of Full Frontal Video” but in practical terms you are correct that there really isn’t any pacing per se. I think the video is recommending to set a target at the start but they use the word pace.

How to Get the Most Out of Full Frontal

The best pacing strategy for this one is to hit roughly 2x your 5min power for the first 10-15 seconds and then just try and hold on for dear life.

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My mental strategy for FF is to break it down into stand alone efforts, rather than get intimidated by the bigger picture.5 mins? nothing much to focus on except keeping those legs turning over, no need to look at numbers to verify that, other than an accessional glance at the countdown timerThere is a point where breathing gets out of control and I feel sick, backing away from that a tiny bit usually enables me to keep going for the 5. 20 mins acknowledge that it feels easier than the 5 embrace the easing of intensity. 20 system checks, tension anywhere, pedalling ok, breathing OK start again, tension anywhere? and so on.Again looking at numbers is a stress I would rather do without, so I try no to.


The one minute effort doesn’t really bother me too much, obviously it hurts - a lot - but I really am ok with it for 1 minute, it’s those sustained efforts where I struggle, and I think it’s mostly, if not all, mental.

I like the idea of negative split on the 5 min an 20 min efforts. Looking back, my best FF has been where I’ve done exactly that. I think I was so intent on hitting a certain wattage this time that I was worried of starting out too low and leaving myself too much to do.

I will try again sometime over the next couple of weeks when the legs, but mostly the head, is in a good place to tackle it.

You could also do the Kohlie Moore protocol for FTP testing if you’d rather just do it that way.

Negative splitting for the 20 min test is a good idea too, but depending on how you’re doing it you could fail the test at the end. Kohlie’s tests get around that.

Honestly, a lot of these protocols work fine. The thing is being able to find one where you can stomach it. Some people have no problem doing them, but I absolutely hate 20+min tests. I much prefer the ramp test. My compromise is doing HM because I like the HR paced 20 min section on there. It just works for me so I do it. I get just about all the numbers I need from it, i.e. FTP and MAP. I’d throw on a 1 min test at the end of the workout during the ‘cooldown’ just to get that part done too. Sounds like my new testing protocol moving forward!

Have to say, your modified HM sounds great. I
Much prefer the ramp too, and for me HM abs FF (when I do it!) match well. I think for 95% of workouts MAP and FTP are the important numbers. The only issue is that your rider type isn’t updated so if that’s changed you won’t find out from HM, even with a 1 min effort.

I can probably suck up and do an FF once in a while, but I don’t particularly care about my rider type. It’s a fun thing to know but it has zero impact on training… or even racing. If you’re ‘just’ a sprinter, you can’t hang back and wait if the race is up the road so you kind of have to roll with things.

I’m a sprinter bordering on drag racer. I doubt that’s going to change anytime. I would just love to get back to my old numbers from when i was in college. I’m pretty sure my sprint is better now, but everything else kinda sucks. Someday I’ll break 1500W for a jump, but I’d rather get up to a 270W FTP again. That used to be 4W/KG when i was in college and it’ll be more like 3.5-3.7w/kg now but that’s fine.

Racing is out now anyway. I’m just hoping I can give cross a go this fall. Never really done it before so it could be a lot of fun to try.

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There’s a bit more to FF than rider type. It also determines your strengths and weaknesses. Those are factored into the training plans. Without it, training plans may not be optimal.


FWIW I have done Full Frontal several time and I struggle when I hit the 5 minute interval. I think I’m inclined to go “all out” but that probably means I’m doing a 1 minute effort for the first two minutes of the five minute effort - if that makes any sense. I’ve now down the Half Monty and find that better suits my approach to testing - a controlled ramp up - if that makes sense.

Anyway - I get it. Haven’t cracked the code myself - but gonna try again!

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I find I can pace all the efforts properly except for the 20 min effort. I’ve surprised myself by hitting higher 5 min numbers in FF than in HM. But I’m around 20w lower for my 20 min effort in FF than HM, and the last time I did FF I started off too hot and cracked twice during the 20 min effort.

The 1 min effort I’ve only really made it all the way thru on the last of the 3 times I’ve done it. First time I died with 20 seconds left. Second time I thought I was done at the 30 second mark only to realize I was only half done. The last time I started with a standing sprint for about 10-15 seconds, then alternated sitting, standing, sitting, standing, then for the last 15 seconds I was practically powerless, flailing about on the bike like a rag doll just so I could use whatever other parts of my body I could still move to eek out as much power as I could. I was glad no one else was in there to watch me as they probably would’ve thought I was having a medical episode or was going to break my bike off the trainer. :rofl:

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