Interpretation of Test Results

I would appreciate others input on what to make of my testing results since I started in SYSTM last September. I am using the workouts for fitness purposes, but like having some improvement goals. I am focusing on 3 metrics FTP, MAP and cTHR.

Metrics presented in this order: FTP, MAP, cTHR

9/8 HM - 189,230,151
9/12 FF - 187,226,153
10/24 HM - 209,245,163
12/5 FF - 198,236,149
1/4 HM - 216,263,144
3/16 HM - 231,270,167
3/20 FF - 213, 252,148

For what it’s worth, I used the 1/4 figures doing the ToS training plan and felt like they were doable for me.

Do you have any specific questions?

I presume the question is “Should I pump my numbers if HM shows them to be higher than FF”, or alternatively “Why are my numbers on 3/20 lower than on 1/4”?

The answers to both could easily be… Some days are just bad (or good) days, so testing will never be a constantly upward curve even if you’re doing everything right. Also, for some rider types (I’m one of them) HM will over-estimate MAP/FTP while FF will under-estimate slightly.

From experience, I would personally err on the side of the lower numbers and maybe just add a bit of volume or pump them a tiny bit (but not to the higher numbers).
I’ve suffered burnout in the past chasing the higher numbers…

Still, it’s all a very personal thing. FF can very easily produce lower numbers than HM for the same rider from the same circumstances, but sometimes you could just have picked a bad day (even without being able to feel it, there could be something going on that just inhibits performance on a specific day).


To me or looks as if you’re one of those who gets different numbers from the different tests, IE one plays very much to your strength and the other a weakness.

Either way, both sets show a good solid progression, so well done :+1::muscle:

Which do you choose to base your training on, assuming you always pick one over the other?

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One specific question is about my cTHR. Twice it was in excess of 160 where all others were high 140s or low 150s. Are the higher figures indicative of having a particular good day? Alternatively, could the others be indicative of overtraining to some extent? I will admit I have a difficult time not working out on rest days or only minimally training during recovery periods.

There is a lot more variability with heart rate than power.
Fatigue, hydration, time of day, mood, etc, all can affect heart rate quite a bit.
You might try the MTP Focus Exercise, or one of the Yoga Relaxation workouts before you do a HM or FF (or any effort for that matter).

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I typically have gone with the updated values from the most recent test. Since I had already trained on figures higher than the most recent FF, I was thinking of tweaking them a bit. Given the MAP section of HM is based on physical failure, I think it may be a pretty solid starting point. That said, my higher heart rate set the basis for the constrained effort. I feel like this indirectly led to an overestimated FTP. I didn’t feel like I had much of anything left. During FF, I did a pretty good job pacing the MAP, but blew up during the 20 min FTP section. My thoughts are something along the lines of 265 MAP and 220 FTP.

I tend to get significantly higher numbers from HM. Going forward I plan to only use Full Frontal as I feel it is more reliable and will provide easier comparisons over time. Whilst it is hard work I can recover pretty quickly from it so don’t see any issues with it being a harder workout than HM.

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So far I always do them in pairs, HM followed by FF 4 days later. I hold or slightly exceed the FF suggested power levels that were determined by the preceding HM. As such, I’ve always exceeded the HM results by at least a few Watts. For the 5min MAP and 20min FTP, I use gearing and level to get a good cadence at the suggested power, then maintain that cadence, or slightly higher, to maintain and exceed the power level rather than chase power.

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My thoughts, do you realistically expect a 23% FTP increase and a 17% MAP increase over 6 months to occur? Do/can you finish all workouts on your projected numbers of 230 FTP and 265 MAP?

If so, then you are golden. If not, adjust accordingly, or, retest and workout to those numbers.

I think it is irrelevant what others (me) think as you are the one having to put in the effort against numbers you have chosen.

Keep in mind working out against incorrect (your own inserted, read that as lower and or higher than realistically achievable) numbers will hamper your progress. Training against a too weak MAP will not elevate your FTP and similarly training against an elevated FTP will restrict the rate of progress you seek, if not fatigue you way quicker resulting in impeded workouts, not getting full training benefit.

I have no expectations to continue improving at these levels. I attribute the increases to date to upgraded equipment and structured training. Prior to joining SYSTM, my workouts were unstructured without a defined objective. As to equipment, for a considerable period of time shown, I was not utilizing clipless pedals or cycling shoes. I found this to help greatly, but unsure of the numerical impact.

Going forward I believe:

Gains related to equipment have been fully realized.

The improvement curve related to structured training will flatten significantly.

All this said, after a couple of workouts, I have decided to leave my figures as those achieved during the FF. I want to continue improving, but not at the cost of unnecessary suffering. I will trust the science behind the testing.

I know improvement rates are primarily influenced by the individual’s physiology and adherence to plans. That said, is there some general guidance on what would be reasonable improvement goals?