Power profiling was introduced as a method of determining the current level of fitness across the range of energy systems. The test itself involves completing seven all-out efforts over durations from 6 seconds to 10 minutes, with the shorter efforts providing an insight into the anaerobic abilities and the longer efforts revealing more details about the aerobic energy system, including power at aerobic capacity (Vo2) and threshold power.
For some time now Argonaut Cycle Coaching riders have had access to a Power Profile Calculator which analyses the test results to provide the power profile, compared against a ‘median’ grade power to weight ratio, along with power training zones. This calculator is now freely available for everyone to access and use as it has been transferred to the main website. It can be accessed via the Apps page or via the following link.
There is a set protocol for this test and the instruction can be found via the power profile test page or in our resources list on the apps page. There are also several other methods of obtaining suitable data for the calculator, with the two most relevant being to either ‘cherry pick’ some data from recent training rides and races, or to do the test efforts over subsequent days.
You can also use the calculator for a partial test to review your threshold power. In this case you only need to complete the 1, 4 and 10 min test efforts, then enter your average power for each of these durations into the calculator.
The test results are primarily in graphical format (see example below). The first chart provides details of your aerobic capacity, threshold power and anaerobic work capacity. The second provides details of your power to weight ratio for the key durations/energy systems and provides the comparison to the grade ‘median’ value (the inverted triangle). The third chart is your power profile curve. This is an extremely valuable chart as it also interactive. Hover your mouse over the power curve and you will see that it provides your calculated power for that duration (across the 1 to 10 min range). This is great if you need to estimate what power to hold during a short time trial or pursuit. The final piece of information is the power training zones.
You can also print your results by clicking on the link at the bottom of the results window, however its important to remember to set your printer to print in landscape to ensure you capture all data.
When to test
While lactate testing still provides the most accurate, personalised training zones, the power profile test is a good way to establish or check your training zones at any time. For riders that I coach I recommend completing a lactate test at the beginning of the base training phase and I then include a power profile test at the start of the build phase. I find this is the best approach as the lactate test really hones in on the correct endurance training zones while the power profile test provides good results for threshold power and aerobic capacity and saves riders coming in for another lactate test. The other beauty of the power profile test is that it also serves as a great interval workout.
Once you have your test results you will have a better idea of what training you need to do to improve and you can set about changing your training. We also have a range of training programs designed to prepare for specific races, however we can also provide more customised programs if required.
I hope that you find this tool valuable, however should you have any questions or encounter any problems then please contact me.