I feel like the Half Monty FTP estimator is plain wrong

Yep. I use ~90 for the HM and then do a FF 4 days later trying to just beat the 20 min power level suggested from doing the HM. I do that by choosing a Level and gear such that ~90rpm results in the suggested power, then try to maintain a few rpm higher.

Any time I’m trying to maintain a power level in Level mode, rather than look at and chase power, which can bounce around, I hold a cadence, then adjust and hold cadence slightly up/down to get the target power.


In my case, keeping the cadence the same in Half Monty and Full Frontal, the FTP result is inconsistent. So I think HM is a totally worthless test, and I don’t use it to describe anything.

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I don’t agree with this. I think it’s a useful mid-plan check that doesn’t require as much rest and recovery time as FF.


I also find HM overestimates my FTP by 5-10%, and then I’m destroyed by workouts that would normally be manageable. So I’ve stopped using it and just replace it with FF (or some other workout if I think FF it not yet needed).


I’m sure that can work, but it’s a bit of apples and oranges as HM is ERG mode and FF is done in Level mode, if abiding the instructions. So, during the workout, HM power is independent of cadence, and FF power is proportional to cadence (in a fixed gear and Level).

On most trainers, power is goes up faster than cadence in level mode. Most trainers try to simulate real world air resistance along with gravity and rolling resistance. Power goes up with the cube of cadence for the air resistance part and proportional to cadence for the gravity (slope) and rolling resistance part.

Totally true, but for maintaining power to a set point, which was my point, say 200W at ~90 rpm in a fixed gear and Level, varying from 86 to 94rpm it’ll be essentially proportional about that.

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The 20 minute constrained effort ( which is used to refine the FTP calculated from the ramp test) in HM should be done in level mode same as the 20m FTP test in FF. the constrained effort is at a lower power so a lower cadence is appropriate.

What is the reasoning behind a lower cadence being appropriate during the constrained effort? I’m happy maintaining ~90 rpm with a gear and Level that keeps me within the target HR zone around that rpm.

I think you guys may be overthinking this a bit - or I’ve just discovered I’m a simple soul…

App says what the heartrate should be, app suggest power target to start off with, finetune from there. Cadence is whatever feels best to reach that power target.

Focus on keeping HR in range, keep your breathing in check and replay Elements of Style in your head to improve pedal stroke. 20min of cycling meditation later, and you’re done. I love HM.

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because cadence and HR are proportional for a given power. A lower cadence will produce more power for the same HR as the stress moves from your cardio to muscular system.

I would expect a different cadences ranges for the different aspects of the SYSTM fitness test, for me
HM Ramp start around 88 peak at 95-100 at the end of the ramp
HM constrained effort, average 80rpm, ( I’ve tried riding at 90rpm and my power was nearly 3% lower for the same average HR)
FF NM peak at 120rpm+
FF MAP 95-100rpm
FF FTP 85-90rpm
FF AC 110rpm and fade

I’ll caveat everything with saying that my rider type is pursuiter, so HM may overestimate MAP and FTP? My last FF put MAP at 130% of FTP was able to complete all workouts on 100%, my more recent HM put my FTP up 9% and my MAP up 5%, FTP base efforts are still doable but have had to dial down some of the MAP based efforts, 14 Vice Grips and The Chores, Hammer 9 of Tool Shed.


Sounds reasonable. However, I just re-read the HM instructions and it does say this for the 20min constrainted HR effort,

"During this section, you should maintain the type of cadence you normally would for a 20-minute effort. Do not ride at a lower than normal cadence just to try and keep your heart rate lower. "

For me that would be ~90rpm. I am an well trained and obedient Sufferlandrian hamster so I always try to follow the instructions and workout guidance to the T.


Spot on, riding the constrained HR section at a lower RPM will result in a higher power output for the same HR. But also as you point out the HM can inflate certain rider type results as you found with FTP and MAP. It’s not perfect, but we have found it useful to track performance in place of a FF, but we still recommend testing FF every 12 weeks or so because of the possible difference between HM and FF results. With your MAP based sessions that you are having to dial down slightly, if you are still hitting towards your max HR you will still be reaping the benefits of those VO2max stressing sessions