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When to do Full Frontal again or manually update your 4DP profile

Since releasing Four-Dimensional Power™, the question frequently comes up: How often should you expose yourself to the 4DP™ Full Frontal Fitness Test? Like most training questions, the answer is…..“it depends.”

We’ll assume you’ve already done Full Frontal once and are now asking yourself if you should test again. There are a few reasons you might be asking yourself this question, such as:

  • You feel that the workouts have become a lot easier (or harder) lately.
  • A lot of time has passed since your Full Frontal session.
  • You’re trying to make plans for the future and want to know when your next test should be.

With those reasons in mind, here are our recommendations on when it makes sense to do Full Frontal again:

Whatever the situation, don't do it today.

Whenever you do Full Frontal again, you should only ride it when you are properly rested and fresh. That means 5-10 days of reduced training volume and intensity. Don’t be stubborn. Testing while fatigued or right after a hard training block will almost guarantee that you won’t perform your best.  Full Frontal is unpleasant enough. Don’t make it worse. Follow our lead-in plan for the week before the test.

 

New around here? Expose yourself ever 4-8 weeks.

Generally speaking, the newer you are to structured training or consistent riding, the more frequently you should front up to Full Frontal. Why? Because the early stages of training are when most people see the greatest improvements in fitness. For some, that means getting in 2-3 weeks of training after a test, resting up and testing again. For others it can be a bit longer. If you are still new to suffering and feel your fitness is increasing quickly, then you won’t want to go longer than 8 weeks without testing.

 

Experienced cyclist and making incremental fitness gains? Hit Full Frontal every 9-12 weeks.

For most Sufferlandrians who are already fit and making solid, but less dramatic, gains, we find that testing every 9 to 12 weeks is ideal. As you now know, proper testing requires proper rest, and that means a reduction in training for a week. If you’re training hard, you can’t afford to have a bit recovery week every four weeks or so as you need that time to keep building your fitness.


Going to do one of our training plans? Test before starting and test at the end.

Since our new plans take into account your rider weakness, you need to complete Full Frontal before starting one.  For best results, follow our prep plan before testing.  Once you start one of the new plans, you will retest at the end.  Our new plans have been specifically designed so you can string them together directly.  That means you can run through the Novice Plan, and upon completion go directly into the Intermediate.


On another training plan? Wait until you’re rested.

If you’re not on one of The Sufferfest / APEX Coaching training plans, the best advice we can give is to only test when you are fresh and well-rested.  That might mean testing after every recovery week, or every 6 months.  As long as your test comes after roughly a week of reduced volume and intensity (and you properly pace all of the efforts), the results should be accurate.  


More than just a test

And remember the old adage, “Training is not always testing, but testing is always training.” Putting yourself through 5 all-out maximal efforts over an hour is a great workout. Even if the numbers aren’t exactly what you hoped for, you still just bagged a fantastic day of training that will make you faster in the long run.

Manually Modifying Your 4DP Profile: The Dos and Don’ts

The app gives you the ability to manually adjust your 4DP values. Perhaps you feel that one aspect of your fitness has improved recently and, while you don’t want to adjust your entire profile you do want to, say, tweak your 5-second power a bit upwards.

If can be useful to adjust a part of your 4DP profile in the middle of a training plan without re-testing if you feel significant gains have been made in one particular area. But, BEWARE! Manually changing elements of your 4DP is not something we recommend as arbitrary adjustments can have huge, potentially negative implications for your workouts. It’s not just the individual values, but the relationships between them that are important and any changes not done through a test can alter those relationships.

So, if you insist on adjusting one particular element of your 4DP profile, we suggest you do the following to get a proper view of what it should be (rather than guessing):
  • Neuromuscular Power (5 second): If you think that your sprint targets are low, then fire up Full Frontal and do the sprint test of two efforts and see if things have changed.
  • Anaerobic Capacity (1 minute): If you think your AC should go up or down a bit, then ride The Omnium. By the time you make it to the kilo in this video your legs should be fairly well wrecked.  If your average power for the Kilo is higher than your Full Frontal-set AC, you can adjust AC up 2-3%.
  • Maximal Aerobic Power (5 minute): If you’re just slaying the 3-6 minute efforts in your workouts, then go and hit Nine Hammers as hard as you can. If you can hit the power targets on every hammer, and then have a little juice left in the tank for the final minute of hammer 9, then you can go ahead and bump up your MAP by 1-3%
  • Functional Threshold Power (20 minute): Those long threshold efforts leaving you wanting more? Then go and ride Hell Hath No Fury. If you make it through the first 20minute effort at 100%, then increase the intensity to 105% for the second.  If you can make it to the end of that 20minute effort without too much trouble (and be honest here, we are not talking about just “making” it to the end, but having it feel like a 7 and not a 7.75) then you can increase your FTP by 2-3%
We don’t recommend adjusting any more than one aspect of your 4DP profile between tests. If you feel that more than one aspect needs to be adjusted, then it’s best to just front up to Full Frontal. The exposure is never easy, but you just might be pleased by what you see.

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