I HATE the 4DP

I agree with you 4DP is a bit extreme. I believe it kinda goes with the name “sufferfest” but I do believe it shouldnt need to be that hard… Cycling indoors should be a enjoyable.

I manually adjust and play around with my numbers based on the ramp section of the HM alone (I just stop after the ramp section). I might change based on FTP estimates from golden cheetah.

The ability to change metrics allows me to adjust each workout to my needs.

@Tungstenisw what would you move across to? Curious?!?

Savman;

“what would you move across to? Curious?!?”
This makes me sad… and my choice makes me sad…but I was between Zwift and Sufferfest when I gave Sufferfest the nod in January this year so I am planning on moving to Zwift when I subscribe again next Fall (I also use the free version of RGT). I will be moving from the minions to the masses…

Each month Zwift loads your account with 25KM for free. I have recently started using their workouts while playing my own tunes and I feel like I am still SUFFERRING, just on a different platform.

Funny thing, I actually bought an IPad when I decided to use Sufferfest because it didn’t work on my Android tablet. I was committed to liking this platform. BUT with 4DP looming on the horizon I quit my Sufferfest 12 week training program 2 weeks short and started using RGT and Zwift as an avoidance mechanism.

My comments about 4DP may be in the minority…but from what I have read on this forum and other places (youtube) I don’t believe it is. I hope someone from Sufferfest is listening. LOVED the YOGA… strength and mental training were kinda lame…

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@Tungstenisw As the saying goes “your results may vary.” I started with Sufferfest and a “dumb” trainer when the videos were mailed out on CDs. I managed to get on the Zwift platform in the early beta and was able to use without paying for nearly two years! That was back in the day when it was a big deal if there were 500 riders on a Saturday morning compared to 10k now. I used Zwift for indoor training pretty exclusively. As it grew and the actual training part came into the picture I started using the Century and Fondo training and eventually upgraded to a Wahoo Kickr three+ years ago.

My FTP on Zwift was higher than on Sufferfest and I was not too broken up about it, mainly because of the outdoor results that I recognized after I returned to Sufferfest in early 2018. I had been using Zwift to train for a hilly Gran Fondo (100 miles, 6250 feet of climbing). It killed me. It took five+ days to recover. In 2019 I decided to jump back into SUF and followed their standard 12-week Fondo plan. Night and day difference. I recovered in two days. I am pretty addicted to training and rarely miss a session in either program.

In preparation for the 2020 Fondo (that was cancelled) I decided to up my game and completed two back to back custom training plans with a coach (ride, strength, yoga) and saw a 12-14% increase in all of my power metrics just from the first 12-weeks (thanks @Coach.Spencer.R ) FTP still lower than what Zwift reported but how I felt on the road and Strava PRs, - no comparison.

I go back to Zwfit now and then and consider dropping it since I am now paying for it but not really using it. I am in week 8 of 12 of my fourth custom plan working with the same coach and my numbers are up a little more as of today’s Half Monty.

I agree with @Glen.Coutts - I hate FF too. I am not sure if hate is strong enough. I literally cough for half the day once I finish. I almost did not do FF before the start of this current plan, but talked myself into it since it had been six months. I was glad I did as the numbers had not fallen off since last time. I have been using stock plans through the fall.

Your experience is your experience. I guess it depends what your goal is WRT training. I would encourage you to give it a little longer. (I don’t work for Wahoo either.)

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Well, I’ve ridden FF now 17 times. I’ve also ridden Half Monty five times. That being the case I’d like to offer a few observations.

The main observation is that these two testing protocols were specifically developed to overcome weaknesses in more traditional FTP and Ramp tests. The traditional tests often overstate a cyclist’s FTP due to anaerobic contributions. The result being that a resulting FTP would vary significantly from what a cyclist could sustain for an hour.

As a whole, the industry has moved beyond FTP as a single metric to define your capabilities. WKO has iLevels, mFTP and TTE. Trainer Road and Xert both have variations on Adaptive Training. The Sufferfest is unique in that their multi-dimensional assessment is performed in a single test, where others require multiple tests or continuous assessment.

Here is a chart describing the various tests and their strengths and weaknesses.

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I’ve blown up on the FTP test many times but if there is that much of a difference I think you need to take the suggestion of, as hard as you can with a grain of salt. It needs to be a pace you can handle for 20 minutes.

If you take into consideration your 4dp FTP will be lower than a traditional FTP test. I would suggest pacing your 4DP test by starting at 230 watts, if after 5 minutes you feel ok bump it to 240. Then access again and decide if you have anything left and bump again or hold on. This time I’d bump to 245. in the last 5 minutes just hang on.

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@Tungstenisw Search Full Frontal or 4DP in the forum and there are lots of threads on this topic. You are not alone!

FF is an intense experience and it takes a while to get it right - the mental prep, the pacing, the right positive chatter, proper cooling and hydration. For the days leading up to the test I keep myself focused on rest, hydration, go over my target gearing/levels and try to keep a positive mindset.

I suggest practice gearing in level mode using Open 15 or 30 video in the days / weeks before the test so you are comfortable with your choices going into the actual test. Also watch the full frontal prep video again as many times as needed to feel prepared.

How to Get the Most Out of Full Frontal

Here are my pre-ride notes based on my past experiences and from the prep video - hopefully you find them helpful:

5 sec / NM: For sprint - start at FTP power going into the sprint around 80 to 90 RPM and then accelerate to 110 to 120 RPM. Do not change gears. Select a gear/level that will keep you from just spinning at the higher cadence - you really want to generate max power for the full 5 seconds.

5 min / MAP: Start at current MAP and move up in the 1st minute coming in and out of the saddle using a higher cadence. Get to 2 1/2 minutes and then begin attacking as much as possible. You will be chewing stem here. Focus on the riders and your breathing - using the techniques from the yoga videos.

20 min / FTP: Watch splits and properly pace. For 1st 10 min aim for 80% of the 5 min effort. Adjust up after 10 min. Hold at the cadence that feels right. Do not watch the clock - focus on your breathing and the riders like you would for a race. This will be painful at the end but you know you can do this and it is what you have trained for.

1 Min / AC: Double MAP effort for 1st 15 sec and try to hold effort as much as possible for 30 sec and then push everything you have for the last 15. Don’t leave anything - spend it all. Proper level selection is critical as you can easily burn out if you go too high.

In another thread which I can’t seem to find @Heretic makes a great suggestion about just riding Full Frontal as any other workout and just let yourself get comfortable with it and don’t worry about the results.

Hang in there!

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I believe this is what @JSampson was referring to:

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Have to say I cannot bear the thought of doing FF…so I don’t.

Having seen the results outside this year based on a solid year of training the workouts work. I use HM to get a good feel and compare that to outdoor rides to assess my level and manually alter numbers accordingly.

Sufferfest works- and works incredibly well. FF is an acquired taste and one I will never have. But thats ok.

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I’ve learned to treat it just like any other hard workout. With that in mind, then there are worse workouts in The Sufferfest arsenal, Shovels, Hammers, Toolshed and Kitchen Sink come to mind.

For me, a lot of the apprehension was the fear that I would screw up the pacing and “fail” the test. As @Heretic states elsewhere, it’s a cognitive behavior thing.

Half Monty has been a great pacing aide for me as well. I ride Half Monty a few days before FF. That gives me numbers to use for pacing the 5 and 20 minute segments. And I typically drop my cadence a bit on those segments as that tends to be more sustainable at 80 rpm instead of 90+.

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I too hate the 4DP, in terms of something to do, but I do see the value in it.

I would argue that neither 4DP nor HM actually, properly, work for me because HM plays into my strengths and 4DP exposes my weaknesses. My true ability lies somewhere between the two.
That said, I would say that 4DP comes closer to getting me correct (for the purposes of Sufferfest workouts at least) while HM might give me nicer numbers (for my ego).

I have a high LTHR and a great MAP style effort capacity. Years upon years of football have trained me to sustain “unsustainable” efforts fairly well and to recover from them quickly. At the same time, a half is only 45 minutes and never involves constant, long efforts. My MAP is good, my AC and NM pretty strong too, but I struggle to maintain FTP efforts in comparison and it’s what I need to work on most.

As such, I find that 4DP gets me mostly correct but I end up with an FTP lower than I can achieve in most workouts because a lot of the workouts don’t drive you so hard before demanding an FTP effort.
At the same time, if I do a Half Monty after doing a 4DP I will end up with a slightly higher MAP, a notably higher FTP, but will then struggle to achieve both in actual exercise sessions and will then struggle to hit AC and NM targets too because my fatigue is so much higher.

I find that 4DP and then tweaking my efforts up by a few percent as soon as I need to gives me a better workout stimulus than HM which can give me unachievable targets (and I’m the type of person who can exhaust or injure myself trying to live up to them).

I suppose it depends on what you want out of your cycling. If you mostly ride on the flat and sims then HM or a ramp test are probably fine and give you numbers you might be happier with.
For me, my riding is either Sufferfest sessions or outdoors in rolling terrain with plenty of climbs etc, I find 4DP to be far more accurate because it gives you an FTP level that you can actually achieve while tucked amongst harder efforts, a “real world” FTP target that you can aim for on outdoor rides even with climbs and sprints thrown in. There is literally no way I could manage my HM FTP after a couple of decent hill climbs.

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I hear ya. I do something very similar. I use RGT free when I want to feel like I’m riding outside. Will use this less in summer as I’ll be doing some real life riding (RLR)

Will hopefully keep using sufferfest in the background over summer. This is my first year with it also…

What I’ve found is variation is key to keeping me engaged. Whether that be a training plan etc. Or the occasional zwift race etc.

I like 4DP because it gives me a new unique way of varying my workouts.

As for actually doing the HM and FF they are an acquired taste. I prefer to manually update as I can take into consideration RLR.

I do think a sufferfest + free RGT combo is better than zwift (or zwift + free RGT).

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I think FF is a great workout in its own right. It stresses all of your systems to the max and shows up any relative weaknesses you may have, including your ability to pace efforts on the limit and your sheer mental strength! I think there is plenty of value in that, regardless of the numbers it spits out.

If you do mess FF up (which happens to everyone at some point) and end up with skewed 4DP numbers it would make more sense to learn from the experience and try again rather than look for an “easier” option. There is always HM to fall back on, but sounds like you can’t even be bothered to do that!

FWIW I’ve done the Zwift ramp test and a few other FTP protocols and got very similar results to both FF and HM. But FF gives you a lot more besides just FTP.

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I don’t know many people that are excited to do the FF. That said, I’ve found it to be highly accurate as it relates to post-test workout efforts. I wonder if there are some calibration issues going on with your trainer if you’re experiencing such a large disparity between your results vs perceived workout efforts, so that might be worth exploring. There is a lot of great advice in this thread on the approach to the test and I really don’t have anything to add except to try and get mentally prepped for it in the week leading up to it and keep positive before and during the test. There are some mental toughness workouts that might help on that front. I wasn’t mentally prepped the first time I took it and failed spectacularly.

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I think the “mental toughness” aspect is one that isn’t considered strongly enough either.

Ramp tests are psychologically easy for people like me, you start off below the level you can achieve and remain there for a reasonable time while you also know roughly where you need to get to on the ramp to at least reach what you consider the minimum acceptable performance, then you get to bail.
It’s a hugely psychologically different beast to simply having to determine what sort of performance you can manage for a full twenty minutes and just gut out one long, constant churn.

I know that at this moment in time my FTP is at least partially limited by my psychology instead of just my physiology. I can talk myself into extreme, short efforts, into lots and lots of repeated hard efforts, but I simply don’t enjoy one, long, lung-burner…
In every previous sport I’ve done I’ve been able to work around this because they are shorter duration sports and my sprint/recovery is so good I can out-perform most people in fast bursts.
My big learning exercise with cycling, now, is the TT style effort.

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I totally agree with the OP here.

It’s a great test but way too hard for me. The first time I did it, I would have puked if the 20-minute part was 10 seconds longer. The second time I did it I did puke a little after the 5-minute part. The third and fourth times I failed to finish. The fifth time I did finish, but I was very disappointed with my results.

That was a few years ago and I haven’t done it since. I actually left Sufferlandia, partly because of the difficulty of this test. I just rejoined, and I find HM to be much more palatable.

I may do FF again in the future, but probably not.

Thank you for all your comments. I enjoy this community and the support is fantastic.

Boil it all down and I want Sufferfest to have a normal ramp test (or something similar) for benchmarking.

4DP/HM will continue to have it’s supporters and detractors, but I think the fact that Sufferfest doesn’t have a shorter, more reasonable measuring stick that folks may be more inclined to use regularly hurts Sufferfest and will continue to limit subscription to their platform.

So long and thanks for all the fish…

I think it is possible to do Half Monty and stop after the ramp section. My understanding was that the 20 minute constrained effort was intended to refine your FTP calculation, but it should still be possible to estimate FTP just from the ramp section, although maybe not as accurately.

There is some info here: Half Monty – Sufferfest Support in the IMPORTANT INFORMATION section:

You SHOULD connect a heart rate monitor. The added information heart rate gives us in determining your FTP is what sets Half Monty above other ramp tests.
While we can (and will) give you an estimated FTP off of the ramp alone, having a heart rate monitor and completing the Heart Rate constrained effort will give you more accurate metrics.

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Hello @Tungstenisw - while I can understand that most everyone will find Full Frontal to be a very challenging test, it does so to provide the most accurate results to allow your training to be most effective. Without looking at your specific data, it’s important to keep in mind a few things with Full Frontal:

  1. Be sure that you’re properly tapered and rested for your Full Frontal. That includes physical rest as well as mental rest. If you’re not motivated, you won’t be able to access what you can do…just the same as if you’re not properly rested. (Note - proper rest after a significant training block can take 1-2 weeks depending on the person and length/intensity of prior training block).
  2. Don’t use outdoor or lifetime best power targets to use as the basis of your goals in Full Frontal - use values relative to your recent indoor power production.
  3. Make sure you’re pacing the 5-minute effort properly - if you start way too hard for the first minute or two and are fading through the rest of the 5-minute effort your 20-minute effort will suffer since you effectivelly over-paced the 5-minute effort. See How to Pace the Full Frontal 4DP™ Fitness Test – Sufferfest Support for more info.
  4. Half Monty has two parts for a reason, and the 20-minute block is not maximal - so much more reasonable, though it’s critical that you use a heart rate monitor to get the most accurate results in Half Monty.
  5. If you want the most realistic comparison of either FF or HM derived FTP, then go for an Hour of Power and see what you can. I’d be willing to wager that the 240-250W values from the other tests you’ve done are an overestimate of your ability to produce sustained power if with Full Frontal you’ve been pegged at 188W recently.
    Hope that helps! Neal
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If you like the Sufferfest workouts but really can’t cope with the 4DP tests, then there’s nothing to stop you from doing a “normal” ramp test as long as you end up with numbers that actually work for you in the training sessions. FF and HM simply give you the most accurate numbers to train with. I would have thought that is more important than making the test a bit easier?

If I was in your shoes I would be concerned why I couldn’t hold more than 188W for 20 mins after a couple of sprints and a single MAP effort IF my FTP was really up around 250W. That is only a 75% threshold effort! This is actually a great endorsement for the additional value in FF, since a single FTP number (especially when estimated from a simple ramp test) says relatively little about your real world strengths and weaknesses. As Coach Neal suggests, maybe you need to do a full hour of power and see how that stacks up.

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