Help with Fitness Test for Breakthroughs Version 2?

Hi all. I’m new to Xert, having come from TrainerRoad. I had about 2 months off the bike, and prior to that had been in a base period of training for quite a while (couple of restarted training plans due to life), so Xert doesn’t have great info to pull a signature from.
So, after a few weeks of tinkering around and getting used to the system, I’ve been having a go at Fitness Test V2. As my signature is pretty far away from where it should be, I’m having to tinker manually to ballpark it until XATA can take over. But that’s led me to actually look at the Fitness Test workout structure, and there’s something I just don’t understand that I’m hoping you fine people can help with:

The workout contains 4x pulldown efforts and as I understand it, it’ll extend or shorten the interval until you hit the %MPA specified.
The pulldowns are all set up similarly but looking at the last one as an example, the target power is 120% TP and the target duration is until 120% TP MPA is reached… now I don’t understand that. Surely that means that you can never actually breakthrough on these intervals, because as soon as you hit 120% TP MPA, the system kicks you into the recovery interval and flags it as a fakethrough? When looking for a breakthrough, shouldn’t the duration MPA always be lower than the target power, so that your MPA crosses the target power at somepoint (if you’ve improved enough to breakthrough)?
I think you can only truly breakthrough with this workout on PP.

No problem with the pushup breakthroughs at the end of the workout, because the goal is to push as hard as possible rather than as long as possible (and the mixed mode flips you over to ramp mode so you can push harder than target).
Any ideas what’s going on with the pulldowns though? Are they not intended to be breakthrough efforts? Are they instead intended to create fakethroughs, pulling down your signature just a bit so you can punch through it in the latter 4 efforts? Am I not supposed to run this workout in auto mode but instead just push a bit harder than 120% of current TP?

Think you’ve hinted at it in the end of your post - best to do BT efforts in slope mode so you can actually breakthrough ‘fully’. If it’s been a long time since a BT that’s especially important (slightly annoying if auto mode finishes an interval when you have something left in the tank). It may be worth increasing the intensity a few percent (or more) as well, given its been a while.

In the end, what’s important is that you go to failure after drawing down MPA. When you think you’ve got nothing left, try and sprint. Then recover for 10s or so then go all out again (and again if you can) :slight_smile:


Yeah, I think I came to that conclusion while I was typing the post! V3 looks like it’s more suitable if I want to run in auto mode, but I think you’re right - slope mode is going to be better for any inside breakthroughs. Thanks!

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Even v3 is best in slope mode for signature accuracy, despite what the description says… you can then go all out and also have a ‘natural’ failure profile rather than the sudden stop

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As @wescaine mentions Slope mode is the best way to go and then exceed the effort interval targets when you can and think you can keep doing that. :slight_smile:
I usually start BT workouts in AUTO mode for warmup then switch to Slope before the red zones and get settled into a gear and/or slope % conducive to the upcoming challenges.
The key juncture is the sprint following the MPA drawdown intervals where you’ll need to jump up right before you collapse, spin up, and hang on for at least 5-7 secs or longer.
You can also use the rainbow gauge to gamify the BT event. Watch what happens to the gauge and you’ll see what I mean. :grimacing:

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I’m still unsure how to do the last sprint efforts? Even in slope mode there’s no way I can get to maximum power in 7 seconds and then the trainer releases the 5% slope and I’m back to 50w.

Ride the entire workout in Slope mode next time so the trainer never controls resistance.
That way you can exceed both target watts and duration in order to push through to a BT and reach a failure point.

What % do you set slope to? Never seem to get that one right

Use whatever % feels comfortable to hit targets using only gears and cadence.
This will vary by trainer model. You may need a different percent for sprint intervals but in most cases spinning up to high cadence will work as it will when attempting a max effort under fatigue.

FWIW, I often use a setting of 0.5%-1.0% for endurance, 1.5-2.0% for threshold (ish) efforts, and a setting of ~5% for short/hard sprint efforts.

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I’m hoping to revive this thread, rather than start a new one as I am planning on doing this fitness test (v2) tomorrow morning.

It will be the first time I have tried one of these fitness tests, and I think I have the general idea of how to go about it.
I have only used Xert in Auto mode so far, so I am a little apprehensive about what to expect in slope mode - only from the point of view that I don’t want to mess the test up.

Just to clarify my understanding from above, the best way to run this test is -

  • Keep to slope mode for the entire workout & adjust slope according to the section of the workout I’m in (or about to reach).
  • Use gears & cadence to reach the power required by the workout.
  • Keep pushing past the interval period if required (particularly for the short 4x sprint intervals towards the end) to reach a breakthrough.

I am slightly concerned that my peak power currently set in Xert is a bit over-optimistic. If I run this test, will Xert re-assess my fitness signature afterwards & knock this down a bit to something more accurate? I haven’t done much high power/sprint work for a while, so am not really sure where I am with a value.
Presumably an over-optimistic peak power will affect my ability to complete this workout and pull the MPA line down to achieve a breakthrough?

Thanks in advance for any tips & advice!

Sounds like you have a good handle on it! IMO, it takes a few workouts to find the slope setting & gears that you’ll want to use for a specific effort.

If I remember correctly, you’ll have a few short & very hard efforts to bring MPA down - I’d recommend using a Slope setting of ~4% or so and then making smaller adjustments with your gearing & cadence.

It’s not unusual for Xert’s Peak Power to be a tad higher than your highest recorded 1s power - as long as it’s relatively close, that’s fine. Threshold Power and HIE have much greater influence over your time to exhaustion (getting a Breakthrough) than Peak Power (the ‘starting point’ for MPA).

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OK. Thanks for the advice @ManofSteele . I’ll give it a try & see what happens :grinning:

It will be interesting to see what I manage in terms of peak power. I am definitely not a sprinter, and even in Zwift races, tend to go for an early break on the approach to the finish, rather than a sprint on the line; so I am not sure what peak power I can produce.

You can’t really fail a workout in Slope mode.
You may not hit all target watts or durations but the fact that you tried is enough. :+1:
If feeling especially fresh, you might exceed a target or duration. This is especially true when current signature is understated.

PP is the least sensitive value for training purposes.
It is common to hit higher PP numbers outdoors.
The main point is to go for a maximal effort during those intervals. Slope mode allows you to do that.

As @ManofSteele says it takes practice to find the best % and gear combo for your trainer at the cadence range you prefer. One way to do that is to ride any workout in Slope mode. SMART intervals continue to function. The difference is you must monitor the rainbow gauge and timer and/or power chart to attain targets. You’ll soon discover what slope settings works best for you.

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Thanks @ridgerider2 for the info.

I managed the test ok, but have treated it as a bit of a learning experience for the next time.
I achieved a bronze breakthrough but I think I can dig a little deeper when I repeat as I won’t be spending so much time concentrating on the function of the test and what is coming next.

Sprints were as dismal as ever :rofl:
I switched the third one to auto to see what happens which was a mistake - was barely winding the legs up and the interval was over.

First time using slope mode and I enjoyed it. The increased concentration required meant the time went pretty quickly