Power profiling

Power-profilingAim of Session

This series of efforts allows the description of your fitness by getting you to work across the range of fitness abilities i.e. sprint (12s) to short endurance (5 minutes). It is normally accompanied by a test to establish your 'functional threshold power' (20 min  test)


Session description

WU: Be sure to do the same warm-up and intensity in your warm-up each time you do this test. 1) Start out with a 20 minute warmup, which is just riding along at a moderate pace, zone 2 is fine. 2) 5 minute 'blast', holidng a race type effort, around 80 to 90% of a max effort. Make sure that you start at a high pace, but not so high that you die at the end. You should have a little in reserve at the finish. 5 mins spin. 3) 1 x 1 min, now at 90% of max effort 4) 10minutes easy in zone 2 again.

MS: (1) 5 minute effort all out. Do it so you get the highest average power, typically the best scrores are given when the last 2minutes are harder than the first. Hold back just a touch in the first two minutes, so you can burn it out in the last two.
(2) REST for 10 minutes.
(3) 5 minutes all out again
(4) Rest for 10 minutes.
(5) 2 minutes all out; Again GO HARD !!!
(6) REST for 5 minutes.
(7) 2 minutes all out again
(8) REST for 5 minutes.
(9) 1 minute all out
(10) REST for 5 minutes.
(11) 1 minute all out; again
(12) REST for 5 minutes.
(13) 30 seconds HARD AS YOU CAN !!!
(14) REST for 5 minutes.
(15) 30 seconds SUPER INTENSE !!!
(16) REST for 2 minutes.
(17) 12 seconds SPRINT !!!
(18) REST for 2 minutes
(19) 12 seconds SPRINT!!!!

CD: Finish with 10-15minutes at zone 2.

Session duration is indicative - just follow the structure above, wind your way home, and job is done ;-)


The power profiling session is designed to measure your performance over the shorter durations; i.e. up to 5 minutes. This can be thought of as examining your ‘top end’. Performances over durations from 5 seconds up to around 5 minutes are governed by the interplay between what sports scientists refer to as "neuromuscular power", "anaerobic work capacity" and "aerobic capacity". For detailed information see the fact sheet on the energy systems continuum. These parameters can be thought of as your sprint power, your ability to sustain high intensity bursts and your ability to take in and use large quantities of oxygen to produce energy respectively. More of the physiology is explained in the factsheet on profiling.

Application for the Rider

This single session can give a great deal of useful information when a lab test is not appropriate or available. The test can be used at regular intervals to track progress, especially when the training is focused towards top end power. The profiling session can also give an indication of where any weaknesses might lie and allow specific training to be recommended to target these weaknesses.

Practicalities and tips!

  • This session can be completed on the road or on a turbo:
    • The turbo doesn’t allow any interruptions and gives a greater element of repeatability
    • Completing it on the road more accurately reflects the conditions in which you compete.
  • If you do decide to complete the session on the road, be sure to plan your session effectively. When you are putting the hammer down for a 5 minute block, an unscheduled stop at a crossing or lights will invalidate the test and be incredibly frustrating! Similarly, a strong tail or head wind might skew the data collected.
  • The key is consistency and repeatability - once you decide on road / turbo, stick with the same conditions for all your subsequent tests. The same is applicable to the bike you use, the position on the bike, the time of day, nutrition etc

Evaluation of the session

This session will take some time to analyse, and we advise you to take a look at the factsheet on Power profiling. This factsheet also explains the 20 minute test that your coach will also recommend you complete.