Testing & Physiologists

Conconi, Wingate, Schoberer & Co.6 

7“… start you off at 100 watts and ramp you up 30 watts every 3 minutes. So really the test is easy then you are suffering and then it’s over for the most part.” Stu Cycling blog on LT testing

Me as lab rat

Yet another set of tests establish benchmarks for physiological adaptation and training efficacy. One of the measurements of talent in the lab determines amount and time to adaptation – with champions often showing a greater training effect in a shorter training cycle than average performers. These tests can measure maximum potential while also revealing the starting points for the new season’s training.

While VO2max is the be-all, end-all figure for measuring pulmonary potential, it’s important to remember that one data point does not always give a true picture since VO2max can change. 8Studies indicate even this gold standard of endurance performance can be trained for greater uptake. The new standard for performance potential is power at Lactate Threshold. Also known by other monikers such as maximum steady state, it is the hardest one can go for about an hour.

For serious competitors, 9it’s important to discover the new season’s training zones simultaneously measuring these performance indicators: power at LT, VO2 max, heart rate; along with Rate of Perceived Exertion to understand the feel within each range of intensity. Many other indicators can be useful to track all aspects of training efficacy and responsiveness. One can employ field testing protocols simply by using a watch, RPE and the same course; a stationary trainer, a friend with a clipboard, and a heart rate monitor as in the Conconi method; a Powermeter; or use lab protocols that provide specialized equipment and a physiologist.

Lab tests such as the 10Wingate measures anaerobic capacity.  In the “firm” of field and lab testing procedures, a host of name-worthy “associates” are available to measure your suffering and determine its physiological meaning!


Prayer for Performance Testing, Sports Physiologists

“In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” 11Job 12:10

We are thankful for methods to track training progress. We confess we sometimes idolize results rather than use them as strict self-comparison; or are intimidated by their realism. We ask to know our personal profile of testing standards and for blessing on cycling’s exercise scientists.


Ponder Do I know my range of numbers? Affirm I can collect data that compares where I am with where I’m going. Watch those indicators to know what smart training is for you.

9“Before participating in strenuous exercise or before beginning to exercise after a layoff from regular physical activity…it is ideal to have VO2 max and  heart rate measured simultaneously.” Quoted in Serious Training for Endurance Athletes by Rob Sleamaker, Ray Browning published by Human Kinetics 1988. To this we now add, power at LT and always Rate of Perceived Exertion. If all equipment fails and to race without distraction, one still has to know how hard to go by feel.

10There is no standard for measuring anaerobic capacity, and physiologists disagree about the proper testing method for it. In road racing situations, the real test is what one has left to reach the finish line first; however, improving anaerobic capabilities has a positive affect upon aerobic performance.

11The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers

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