Full Frontal

On a whim, I decided to do my first Full Frontal for a couple of years and while recovering from a nasty virus.

I now remember why I vowed never to do FF ever again!

That being said, it’s still (in my mind) the ultimate fitness test but not for the faint of heart!

Numbers way down from where they were but that was no surprise and I was pleasantly surprised they did not drop further. Still won’t be doing it again in a hurry!


It’s always sooo satisfying to finish it.


I like to suggest doing the 7 day Test Prep plan that includes a HM on day three and the FF on day 7. It gives a nice consistent lead in to the FF, and the HM sets suggested targets for the FF making it much easier to pace. I try to just beat them and it’s killer. It’s a very solid week of workouts too. I’m about to start a new plan in the new year so will be starting that 7 day test prep in a day or two. Oh boy!


I did this. But the FF 5min was way too hard. I nearly pushed it to my absolute limit. I thought I was going to fall off the bike.
For the NM test, I would have needed a session with sprints beforehand. Hard to find the right gear. The set up is also not stable enough for sprinting. Only 950 W (outdoor 1260 W)

My FTP was 15Watts lower than from HM.
eFTP from intervals.icu is like HM and 15 W higher than FF
Rider Type: Pursuiter

Ideally, for an accurate test result, it’s best to push to and reach your absolute limit for the 5min and 20min intervals. I find a combination of gear and Level setting that give me the suggested power at ~90 rpm and then try to maintain a few rpm above that for the duration.

My setup is sufficiently stable for my relatively meager sprinting efforts. I have a Saris Hammer on an Infinity platform.


All of the longer interval sessions are designed to “drain” you. They are supposed to be done at 100% effort as if they were independent activities. That’s why you are instructed to get off the bike during the test. There are two videos on the Wahoo site which are blogs from Sirs Neal Henderson and Mac Cassin on how to get the most out of both tests.


yep, you gotta go hard to get a good rsult like @Saddlesaur and @jmckenzieKOS say. And as long as you didn’t go out too hard on the five min and then blow up (e.g., start at 450 watts, finish last three minuts at 200), it means you did it right. You shouldn’t be intentionally saving anything for the 20 minutes. I’ve gotten less concerned over the years with “accurate zones” or targets or whatever since lots of the sessions I do i can pace by RPE anyway, but another critical part of the test is judge progress and see if what you’re doing is working. And in order to accurately judge progress, you max effort needs to equal max effort.

two notes:

  1. you may not get identical results from HM and FF even if you did it right. They are two different ways of getting a MAP value and estimating (not testing) FTP, so although you should expect them to be very closely correlated (that’s the point) they won’t always be identical. Just make sure you’re doing consistent tests when measuring progress if that’s the case (flipping between HM and FF would compare apples to oranges)

  2. Even if you do the test rigth and pace it right, you’re still only getting an estimate of FTP and actual FTP could be higher or lower. So, you’ll want to see how your workouts go and adjust accordingly. When doing FTP intervals, it should feel like you’re working but that the interval is doable. Unlike MAP which should feel very hard, FTP shouldn’t start to really feel hard until the end of the interval. If it feels too hard, drop it a few %. If it feels easy, do longer intervals. If it still feels easy, potentially you want to bump up a few % or retest.


I will see.
How often do you do the FF?

When I’m really training (vs just riding for fun) I do it every few months.

Btw, I should walk part of this back, I overstated the case a bit: it’s not that you can’t track progress using both FF and HM, you can. But if FF gives you value X on month 0, and HM gives you value Y on month 0+ whatever, you’ll have to use other information to assess whether any difference is actually an improvement.

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I wonder if they will ever go away or have an AI alternative to FF? I have never come back to SYSTM because of how much I hate FF and always think “I can’t be alone…” I do love the forum though!


There’s already tools like WKO that use functions to build out a power curve and model an ftp number. But:

  • for it to be accurate at all, you need to keep feeding it max efforts of various durations, so it does t get you out of the requirement to go uncomfortably hard

  • FF also tests recovery between efforts which is very difficult to model precisely (that’s why W’ works as a descriptive model, not as a predictive one w/in interval sessions)

I doubt AI would change meaningfully change these limitations

There might be a few people who like FF, but most people hate it. Or, if they’re like me, they just dread it. I look at it as a (sometimes) necessary evil. There is such sweet VICTORY in finishing it.

But, to your point, it is exceptionally unpleasant, it takes a LOT of mental fortitude just to get through it, I used to question why on earth I was doing it when the result was always that I was a Sprinter. Then along came HM. In my experience, HM was sooooo accurate in calculating my FTP and MAP when compared to FF that I swore off FF. Then, while submitting to some tests FOR SCIENCE, I did a FF that resulted in me being labeled an Attacker! That blew me away. The result came about because I changed the way I, ummmm, attacked the 1 minute effort (I think).

So, as a result, as unpleasant as FF is, I will still do it when called for (i.e. workouts with sustained efforts just aren’t as tough as I think they ought to be) or I’ve had a long period off the bike.

Now, that also said, I’d be perfectly okay just doing HM as I know my sprints will always be in the 1000-1150 watt range, HM will calculate my 5 min and 20 min within a few watts of FF every single time, and the 1 minute could be estimated by doing the Omnium or The Trick (I’d have to search the forums to find which one Sir Neal said you could use to get your 1 min, instead of doing FF).

Finally, I can never leave SYSTM cuz that is where all The Sufferfest vids are. They are the ONLY workouts that consistently engage me sufficiently in the training process, and I’ve done many of them, many many times. If there was a training app out there that offered what The Sufferfest offers, I’d give it a go, but I’ve yet to see one.


Raises hand…

If(!) you ever find one let me know however it would take a Knight sized effort to remove the Sufferfest videos I own from me pc.