Half Monty: Ramp Testing Redefined.
The first step in getting to a destination is knowing where you are. That's what fitness testing is all about. Not only do fitness tests allow you to get a sense of your current level of conditioning, they also personalize the targets in your workouts so you get the most out of the time you have to train.
The Sufferfest 4DP® Full Frontal fitness test is the most comprehensive test available, giving you unprecedented insight into 4 important benchmarks: your Neuromuscular Power (5-second), Anaerobic Capacity (1-minute), Maximal Aerobic Power (5-minute) and Functional Threshold Power (20-minute).
But let's face it, Full Frontal can be a little daunting, especially if you don't have experience pacing longer maximal efforts. That's why our Sports Science team started looking at the "graded fitness test"—or ramp test—as a more approachable alternative.
Why Ramp Test?
Ramp tests have been used for years by coaches and training apps to help estimate an athlete's sustained power, or FTP. The idea is simple: after a short warmup, the rider incrementally increases their power output every 60 seconds, working their way up each step of the ramp until they simply can't hold the power target. Just go until you can't, then stop.
Ramp tests have several benefits over Full Frontal (or traditional 20-minute or 2 x 8-minute FTP tests).
- No pacing required.
- Less physical and psychological stress (pre-Full Frontal jitters, anyone?)
- Allows you to test more often. That means your workout targets can be updated in the middle of your training plan so they're the most accurate.
What's Wrong With Existing Ramp Tests?
When our Sports Science team started looking at how we could incorporate a ramp test into The Sufferfest, they identified some big shortcomings in tests used by other training apps.
- They only estimate FTP. To train effectively, you need workouts with power targets that take into account more than just your sustained power (we see you, sprinters).
- They aren't accurate. Most ramp tests just take 75% of your maximum 1-minute power during the ramp and call that your FTP. For athletes who are more anaerobically-gifted, that formula could artificially inflate your FTP, making workouts not as effective as they could be.
- They're easy to do incorrectly. Even if you pause for a couple of seconds during the ramp-to-failure, that can skew the results. Other ramp tests don't have a good way of verifying that you did the test correctly, making the results inaccurate.
We knew we could do better. After a year of development, testing, and refinement, the most sophisticated, accurate ramp test available is finally here.
Half Monty: Ramp Testing Redefined
What makes Half Monty different from other ramp tests?
Other ramp tests only give you an estimate of your Functional Threshold Power (FTP). Half Monty provides you with 3 critical fitness benchmarks:
- Functional Threshold Power (FTP)
- Maximal Aerobic Power (MAP) and
- Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR)
Other ramp tests just take 75% of your peak 1-minute power from the ramp to get your FTP. Analysis of tens of thousands of Full Frontal 4DP fitness tests by our sports scientists has shown that this simple formula doesn’t take into account athletes who are more anaerobically fit, resulting in FTP estimates that are inaccurate for 17% of athletes.
Half Monty goes beyond a traditional ramp test by combining it with a 20-minute sub-maximal / tempo effort determined by your heart rate. By analyzing the relationship between heart rate and power, Half Monty allows The Sufferfest app to calculate your FTP to a much higher degree of accuracy than any other ramp test out there.
Our sophisticated compliance algorithm and validation process can identify whether you performed the test correctly. This means you don’t need a smart trainer with ERG mode to get accurate results. Our huge data set of Full Frontal 4DP fitness test results also allows us to use gender, height, weight, and age to further validate and improve the accuracy of your results, even if you perform the test without a heart rate monitor.
The app dynamically monitors your performance during every section of the test and displays personalized text prompts on screen to update you on your progress and ensure that you perform the test correctly for the most accurate results.
Go Half Monty or Expose Yourself to Full Frontal?
With the release of Half Monty, one of the big questions is whether it replaces the Full Frontal 4DP® fitness test. Short answer: no.
To get accurate values across all of your 4DP metrics, as well as your Rider Type, primary strength and weakness, and training plans tailored to your 4DP® profile, you need to do Full Frontal. Yes, it's more physically demanding, but it ultimately gives you more insight into who you are as a cyclist. This chart breaks it down:
Ready to Ramp It Up?
Half Monty is available now in The Sufferfest app. Go to the Workouts tab (Videos on iOS), click on the bike icon, and search for "Half Monty".