Longer window for NM test in. FF

1 I am definitely not explosive
2 I believe my peak power is probably at less than 100
3. It takes me a while to wind up
4. I never know what gear to use

You can see what your peak power cadence was simply by looking at the data, presuming you can graph it. I use Training Peaks for that. It’s usually pretty close to whatever max cadence you achieved in the sprint unless you spun out in too low a gear. Gear choice is a trial and error exercise!

Don’t forget that the Full Frontal NM test is not testing your absolute best 5s, it’s supposed to be a measure of your neuromuscular ability. Spinning up early or holding the sprint too long may adversely skew your numbers and also burn through AC which will affect the next part of the test. Treat it like a Violator sprint - bang go, screech stop. Some advice from Sir Neal about how he approaches it here FF Efforts - #2 by Coach.Neal.H


Yes @Peteski
That was what I didMy peak was higher , clearly outside the 7 sec window

I could double check but I have my FF synchronised to Strava which synchronises to the free software Golden Cheetah, which automatically finds its own intervals. It has no idea when the intervals are meant to be. I’m 99% sure they’re identical. There’s also a table of best all time power averages over different durations. I haven’t noticed it using different values.

The word used is ‘neuromuscular’. It has the word ‘neuro’ in it. What do you think the nerves are doing if it isn’t coordinating the muscles?

Thanks for the link. Sir Neal talks about starting his sprint from around 80-90 rpm at FTP and hitting his peak power at 115 rpm for 5 seconds. That’s pretty much what I do too. But it would be very hard to achieve all that within a strict 7 second window (it would require accelerating from 80-115 rpm in 2 seconds and then holding for 5, which is right on the limit). So I just fire up a few seconds earlier so I’m just hitting peak power going into the 7 sec window and then try to hold it through the interval. My power is usually dropping off very slightly at the end, maybe 10-20W lower than peak.

The link also highlights my point about peak power and peak torque not being the same. People naturally think they are producing their peak power when they are in fact producing their peak torque at a lower cadence.

I see the same with Training Peaks, but I do hit my power within the allocated interval so I wouldn’t know if the SUF software looks at the interval or just takes the best 5 sec interval anywhere in the session.

I just checked my cadence for last FF for this and it was 95 rpm, so much lower than you guys are suggesting

It’s different for everyone. Sir Neal suggested that most people generate their best NM power somewhere between 90-130 rpm. So you are simply at the lower end of that scale. Have you tried sprinting with a slightly lower gear at higher rpm to compare?

The average. If you apply a constant force to a flywheel it will speed up. Unless you change gear the flywheel speeding up means cadence will also speed up.

I start at around ~85 and end at ~130. I suspect the average is around 107. Suspect people are talking about their peak cadence. What cadence did you peak at?

I tend to top out at around 100-110 rpm in my chosen sprint gear. For me that’s the point where the force I’m applying balances out the resistance so I can’t pedal any faster and therefore I’ve reached my peak power in that gear. I can hold that cadence for about 5 seconds before starting to bog down below 100 rpm again.

I find that if I use a lower gear and spin up to say 130 rpm I simply can’t generate as much torque at that leg speed so my peak power ends up a bit lower even though the cadence is higher. I guess I could probably improve my sprint power by working on cadence drills to get those muscles firing at higher speeds to generate more torque beyond 110 rpm, but it’s a very low priority for my endurance cycling goals.

Regarding the flywheel speeding up with a constant force applied, don’t forget there is also a resistance force trying to slow the flywheel down. So the flywheel only speeds up while the applied force is higher than the resistance force.

1 Like

Yes, but the opposing power of the brake isn’t very relevant when discussing sprint intervals of a very high power for only a few seconds, which is why I didn’t confuse things by mentioning it.

I actually find the resistance of the trainer extremely relevant when sprinting. If there was no resistance then you would struggle to generate any meaningful power while accelerating the trainer flywheel. It would be like sprinting in your lowest gear on a downhill gradient.

So I make sure trainer resistance/gearing is high enough to generate my peak power without spinning out. But not so high that I can’t reach my target cadence for the interval. On my last FF I topped out at around 110 rpm, hitting peak power at just over 100 rpm. For reference my max cadence is somewhere around 130 rpm where I can hold it at low resistance for a minute or so without bouncing. 160 rpm is about my limit for short bursts. But I can’t generate peak power at anywhere near that sort of cadence. I expect a pure sprinter would hit peak power at a higher cadence than me, probably 120-130 rpm and be comfortable spinning up to 200+ rpm at low power. Sprinting for me is a very low priority in my training, but I still feel a big benefit from cadence drills and the occasional NM effort.

Going back to the point about average cadence during the sprint interval, for me it is around 105 rpm with only about 10 rpm variation over the 5 second peak. During the acceleration phase starting from say 80 rpm, power is increasing all the way up as you would expect, starting from around 100% FTP. So my average power over the whole acceleration period from 80-110 rpm would be much lower than the 5 sec peak in the final 100-110 rpm range.

Whether it’s right or wrong to start accelerating a few seconds before the interval to hit peak power through the interval depends on how the software measures peak power (as we discussed earlier it might not make any difference at all) and whether or not the intention is to measure our peak 5 sec power or our average power while accelerating - in which case what power level are we supposed to kick off from? Starting the sprint from 100% FTP would give a very different “NM” result to beginning the sprint from a standing start.

@Peteski All good points. No doubt resistance of the trainer is key and it is worth practicing before hand to get the right level. I spun out on my last FF because I didn’t do this. I have had success using Coach Neil’s method of maintaining FTP at about 90 rpm before the sprint and start when the gun goes off and probably end up in the same 115 range that you do if I have the level right. To me this seems to be the optimal way as the test provides 7 seconds for a 5 second effort. It seems that starting any earlier could compromise your results.

1 Like

Starting the sprint a few seconds earlier definitely gives you a higher 5 sec power average over the interval. The question remains how does the SUF software actually calculate your NM power? Is it simply taking your best 5 sec power average regardless of the precise interval timing or is it taking your best 5 seconds only within the specific 7 sec interval? This could make a huge difference to your result, with potentially hundreds of Watts difference in measured power if you started the interval below FTP and SUF only measured your power over those specific 7 seconds.

Interestingly the target power right before the start of the sprint interval is only 55% FTP at 95 rpm, so there is barely any prescribed ramp up in power going in and it would require a major gear shift at the start! That could be intentional, but doesn’t quite correlate with Coach Neal’s recommended starting point at 100% FTP, which seems more achievable. FWIW target cadence in the sprint interval is 113 rpm, which is about right for my taste.

1 Like

As I understood it, NM is the result of your best 5 second average from one of the two 7 second intervals, i.e. if you accelerate too early or extend too late that power will not be calculated.

If your first attempt has a better 5 second average than the second attempt - that’s your NM result (and vice versa).

Keep in mind that improving your cadence range (especially on the upper end…I guess everyone can do zero RPM :wink: ) does far more than just increasing the potential for increasing & moving up the cadence that you reach your peak power…it’s about improving neuromuscular coordination in order to improve economy at sub-maximal efforts and to reduce neuromuscular fatigue by expanding your cadence window to tolerate sustained higher and lower cadence efforts over the course of longer rides & races as well.


I’ve made quite a big effort over the last couple of years to extend my cadence range and I do feel a big benefit from it. I find the SUF cadence drills are really effective and I keep edging up my max cadence nearly every time. At the low end GOAT is one of my favourite vids!

1 Like

I didn’t say the word you used: ‘ resistance’. I used the word ‘power’. Power of the brake is roughly proportional to fly wheel speed which is relatively low at the start of the very short interval.

For example , imagine someone who peaks at 1000W at the end of the 7 seconds. What opposing power do you think, roughly, the trainer brake is creating?