How To Perform A Watt Max Test

Achieve Better Results With Less Training

Watt max testing is a fast and accurate way to evaluate your training. I normally recommend serious riders to do a couple of these tests through the season.

Why you should do a watt max test

First of all, it is very motivating to follow progress in performance.

When you work hard to achieve a better performance, it is very satisfying to see that you are not vesting your time. Even for small increments, the test is very sensitive.

Secondly, it is possible to use the test results to modify your training program. This could be done either through optimizing your power outputs in the intervals or maybe a test will show that you need a recovery week. The optimal situation is to evaluate the test results with your cycling coach.

Watt max test

1. 15 min warm up
2. 100W workload – increase intensity with 10W every 30sec.
3. Keep cadence at min. 80rpm.
4. Ride until exhaustion
5. Notice the last completed power output. = P
6. Notice seconds spent at exhaustion power output = T

How to calculate the result from a watt max test
Watt max power = P + (T/30x10W)

Example: A rider gets exhausted after 15 seconds at 280W. Thus, his last completed power output is 270W. Calculation of Watt max power = 270W + (15/30 x 10W) = 275W

8 comments… add one
  • If you have CyclingPeaks you will also be able to see your peak 1min power for the workout. This is your Watt max Power.

  • 1min peak power shows your anaerobic performance. The test described above approximates what you can perform at maximum oxygen consumption.

  • john chiasson

    hi, currently im averaging 200 watts per ten mile hill rides on a good gym stationary bike. im 54 and looking foward to the new riding season. im 180 lbs.and new at watt training, what numbers do i need to acheive to get most out of my riding as outlined. i put in a good effort durring the ten mile hill rides and i know its only ten miles but not all rides are hills for that time frame. any help would be great. thanks jack.

  • Jan Minnie

    Im stumped and need some advice from anyone. 8months of hard training. I have my VO2Max at 46( I am 48 YRS OLD) Resting heart rate 48 BPM. So you can say I am fit right? I just completed a 80km MTB race. Quite a tuff one. I rode for 3hours 26min at an average heart rate of 164 BPM! My Max is 176 BPM. I never felt good from beginning to end. Most of the guys in my age group beat me. Any advice??

  • Soren

    Hi Jesper, im just starting up the “12 week winter training program” and did the 5 and 30 min watt test.
    I did 310W in the 5 min test, but only 222W in the 30 min test.
    Is this big difference normal or did i just have a bad day in the 30 min test ?
    Regards Søren

  • Having a difference between the two tests (310/222W) seems reasonable. It depends on what kind of rider you are, so it’s difficult to conclude on a single observation. Good luck with the training program. Please send an email to me if you want to be sure to get feedback and answers on your questions related to the training program.

  • Jerry

    Hi- I’ve been cycling semi-seriously for the past 10 yrs. I just started using watts (I have a very cool Tacx system) and I am hooked on tracking my performance and improvements. What type of workout would you recommend to improve wattage output over say a 50 min ride? I just started my winter tacx training. Last year I hit a 280 watt average for 50 minutes. I weigh 150 and this winter my goal is to do 2 watts/ lb or 300 watts for 50 minutes. I am almost 60 yrs old.

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