Add Level Mode Training for Pre Full Frontal Workout and Modify Targets During Test

Not at all, my ideas were intended to stimulate replies. You’re right in saying that not all athletes/users want to do a pre-test plan (though they really should, but I digress), and we need to take into account several different user experiences and surface relevant information across each experience.


I need more warm up than you get in ff or hm, so do igniter @80% intensity before. I find that gives me the right warm up / etc to actually hit numbers on the tests.

I had trouble too in my first ff and hm, you actually have to learn how to use the levels etc. I’m on a mtb, so basically I have to use level 6-9 to get anything like the resistance I need - but it took me time to learn that. Also the gears and levels respond differently. For example - level 6 on 5th gear is not the same as level 7 or 9. And the transition between gears differs. I’ve worked out what works for me, on my setup - you’ll have to do the same (sorry).

Don’t sweat it. Just adjust and as you get more experience you’ll learn what works / doesn’t work.

I’ve been doing this a while now, and totally screwed up my last ff last week. Not sure why - it happens to all of us. But that’s part of the process - learning, adapting…

And suffering (of course ;))


Some sort of level mode explainer plus some targets to try out would be great. I ended up just doing a short recovery video a couple days in advance to test out gearing on my SB20 and wrote it all down. A cheat sheet like there is for the swimming and running workouts would be great

Extra bonus points for some guidance on which Level you should be at. One thing my wife and I struggled with before getting the SB20 was planning out our gear shifts to avoid changing the front ring right before or after the NM and AC tests. Something to guide you that says if you’re in the middle of you rear cassette and go down a level you can stay likely stay in the same front chainring.

Obviously this has a lot of personal preference and bike setup involved here but thats something I struggled with it at first and my wife still still has me help plan out her 4DP or tries to avoid it for that reason.

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I honestly can’t see how this can be achieved given the massive diversity in equipment, not only the trainer but the bike and gearing and the individual’s preference.

I really believe that this is something that you figure out on your own with practise.


Yeah, its a tough one. Is there general guidance on how much resistance is added with each level? Just a coaching tip with that would suffice

I imagine that will be dependent on trainer model and that information may be better found from the manufacturer rather than Sufferfest (although the Minions are incredibly helpful).

In any case, it’s probably easier to simply put on Open 15 and play around for a few minutes.

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Having been new to Full Frontal (and even the ramp in Half Monty), I greatly appreciate the need to “play” with Level Mode since most SUF training is done in ERG Mode. Riding in Level Mode is an acquired skill. “A quick run-thru of Level Mode in the warm-up section of Full Frontal” is always helpful but not the same as actual experience. I may be slower than most; however, doing a few “Open 30” sessions in Level Mode allowed me to learn to shift gears and get the hang of different intensities in Level Mode. I often think that some of my Full Frontal improvement was the result of learning how to pace myself while in Level Mode and not entirely (but mostly) related to all the hard work and intense aerobic sessions. Like so many other life skills, the more you do it, the more accomplished you become in the execution.

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For those of you who want to see how different smart trainers deal might deal with level mode here is an example using the Wahoo Kickr:

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I would appreciate some specific trading sessions to help develop level mode skills. In addition some specific sessions to help develop another skill, namely stand up cycling. As a newbie this needs some guidance to avoid the jerky response, I’m learning that it’s about having a high resistance but would appreciate some coaching on this.


@Caderman the Elements of Style video does cover standing a bit. That being said, as a relative noob myself, I’m still pretty jerky standing indoors even though I’m pretty smooth outside. It might just be one of those things that takes practice.

We made some additions to the Description section in Full Frontal that links to the Level Mode article. This is an easy win for now, but we will use the feedback here (and other sources) to build on and improve the experience. :beers:


I actually think you just need some experience under the belt. I messed up my initial ones… Hell I didn’t even understand the difference between erg and level and was only riding in level. Even relatively recently, i kinda messed up the first half Monty because I wasn’t clear on what the rest section was and what the second hr constrained segment was.

I’m ok with that - I’m just learning new things. And hey you get better the second time around :wink:

I think the idea of a vid where it prompts you to change gears, try changing level etc is a good one. Don’t change ff though - just prompt newbies to do the “welcome to level mode” first.

And there is no way you could possibly get a single guide to level mode. I’m on a mtb on the trainer… Wheel on. That’s so different than a direct drive that there is no way you could make "one guide to rule them all ". The thing is you have to play with it and learn your system and how it responds.

When in doubt level 9 on the sprints :smiling_imp::smiling_imp:


Yes, fully agree with the comments re Level mode. I have been using Suf for a year and just had my 3rd FF a week ago. A couple of days before the FF, to try and get the best gearing for the 4DP, I tried out the Open 15 in different levels/gears, starting in the lowest gear and changing up every 30-seconds. This was advised by Suf support (and I see others in this thread have tried a similar approach). The result of this shows what power/cadence results from the different gearing.
I’m still getting to grips with Level mode and so far my testing has raised as many questions as answers :rofl:.
I am trying to use level mode as much as possible in my current plan so I am better prepared for my next FF, however in many cases erg mode is better I think.
Would be great to have more level mode workouts for FTP, MAP training I think.
Good to see this thread raised :grinning:


A small update and perhaps something you could add to your description for some level mode training, is directing a practice session with the workout “SUF Idol”. I just did that workout yesterday and it’s done in Level mode. It is structured to simulate a crit race, so there’s a ton of gear changes and chances to practice winding up to big gears for high cadence and high power.


Experience is the best teacher for sure PB07. I’m also running a wheel on (CycleOps Magnus) with a road bike compact 10 speed setup. That’s tough enough to find the right gears for hitting targets in level mode so I can only imagine the challenge it presents on a MTB. Yesterday I got quite a bit of practice with a workout that landed on my calendar with the 12 week all purpose road plan. The workout is SUF Idol, which has a pretty funny video to accompany it, and a wide range of various power/cadence/heart rate targets to hit simultaneously. After doing that one, I feel more confident trying FF in level mode. I rode that one in whatever the first level of level mode is, and it was more manageable. The trick is estimating the right gear combo for those bigger power numbers and winding up for them a bit before the “vroom vroom”. The graph won’t look as pretty, but it works.


8 gears on my old Gary fisher! It’s over 20yo now! I have to play a lot with the gears, level and cadence. I’m ok with that though, I figure it fits with the glass of harden up lactic acid that awaits you after every ff/hm :wink:


Typed out this for a new post and was shown this post as topic similar to. I agree with the OP. This is a skill that needs to be practiced. Here is my experience

I completed my first full monty test yesterday after a 12 week all purpose road training plan. It was as painful as advertised. Unfortunately I didn’t do so well (FTP dropped marginally) partly down to my lack of fitness, partly due to inexperience in pacing but mainly due to not training in the level mode.

I am a rank beginner and started virtual training a few months back as cross training for my running. I have throughly enjoyed doing it. I have done almost all of the workouts on ERG mode as it is the easiest plug and play mode. Im always on the big chain ring in the front and 17/19/21 at the back. Since the Wahoo Kicker manages the resistance Ive found it easy to meet the cadence targets in the app. Even for the workouts that recommend level mode, I turned it on only for the intervals.

I now realize this mistake as in the full frontal i just couldnt find the right gear which allowed me to be at a comfortable 90-100 rpm (which I’m used to). Each time I upped the cadence the power went beyond what i was comfortable with, even in the rest. When i went into the small chainring i couldnt get the power up. The whole test ended up as a disaster as my cadence was below 80 just to be at a power that was sustainable for me.

I did find the page where there are instructions on how to use level mode and finding the right gears. However I think there need to be more workouts at level mode in the weeks leading upto the 4dp full frontal test. These need to be of varying lengths and intensities to get riders used to how to reach a their desired power at their comfortable cadence. I suspect this will also help with pacing.

I will start a new plan and certainly do some training in level mode now. Lesson learned!!


Taken from @Coach.Mac.C on another thread:

I try to stick with this but every time I do FF I’m reminded that I’m not hitting my 30%. I do try though - doing the same workout that you’d usually do in ERG mode in Level mode is a very different experience and, for me, much harder to keep my power smooth i.e. I need more Level mode work!

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Great idea Todd,
I started with this platform last week and the same
thing happened to me.

If it is necessary to switch modes mid session, is it possible for the app to switch without our interaction?

@Padair Unfortunately you would have to make the change manually. There are some keyboard shortcuts that can help if you are using a computer:

Sufferfest Keyboard Shortcuts