Written instructions versus power targets

Hello, SUF Team!

Some workouts include “Sprint” or “All Out” instructions in the text, but give out AC power targets, and I’d like to know which I should be aiming for.

An example is Standing Starts and its 20 second efforts. The text prompts tell you to explode, blow it up, etc., and the power target is my AC which is currently 500 W, yet I can do all of the required efforts at around 800 W. I can’t hold 800 W for a minute, but this 60% difference between what I can deliver for 20 seconds and what’s being asked has me wondering if I’m overdoing it and not getting the benefit, or if the target’s just there as a minimum effort and I’m doing the right thing by going for Maximum Effort - Deadpool Style :stuck_out_tongue:.

Thank you for your help.


I think the answer is “it depends” on the workout. For the large part…go with the power target guides. The only times not to are generally when you’re not meant to use ERG mode. When it is actually meant to be a maximal effort, such as in violator, the trick, standing starts etc then use level mode and go as hard as you can. For most workouts…use ERG or, if you don’t have a smart trainer, try to stick to the targets.

PS - the reason standing starts will be AC and not NM is because NM power isn’t something you can sustain for 20 seconds. Try doing a MAX sprint (as in, your 5sec Full Frontal sprint) and see if you can maintain that for 20 seconds… The other reason it is “only” 500W for you, is that you are starting from basically 0rpm, so you cannot produce your max power at very low rpms.


Good question about Standing Starts Sir @Renzo. I did it the other day and found that neither the power target or the words, such as “as you start and increase the effort, your cadence will naturally increase”, applied. Regardless of the resistance I’m at max power pretty much immediately. The only variance is the cadence when I’m there. Maybe it’s a trainer thing. Be interested to hear a SUF coach’s comments about whether it’s supposed to be a build or max torque from the start.


Hi, @Ross.

I agree with what you’ve said; I’ve always done those Level Mode workouts as you’ve described. My question is mainly regarding the 60% difference I referred to, wishing to know if I’m getting the expected results if I’m exceeding the targets that much, or if I should stick to the targets.

You’re probably right about the last sentence, too. My CycleOps Magnus will reduce the resistance if I go that low for wheel speed and cadence, probably assuming I’ve entered the Spiral of Death.

Thank you, Sir @JamesT. My experience is quite similar to yours, with a very fast Power build as cadence climbs in around 5 seconds, and then holding on for the rest. I also suspect that the trainer has a huge influence on how this develops, and a direct drive trainer would probably yield better results.

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