As a medical doctor, I like to see proof that something works. So please show me the facts. Perform a test on an ergometer bike and show me the numbers. Hard facts. I like it.
Cycling performance tests can provide insightful information about your current fitness level. In addition, these tests can be used to evaluate and optimize training programs.
Since my early start as a cycling coach, I have tested my riders on ergometer bikes with power outputs or even better on their bikes equipped with SRM crank systems. Optimized their training programs again and again based on my empiric data stream…
Here are my five basic principles that can help you to benefit from cycling performance tests:
Get a power meter or use an ergometer bike. It’s essential to know how many watts you put in the pedals. If you use an ergometer bike, make sure it’s calibrated correctly every time you use it for performance tests. Please note that heart rate is exciting but definitively not the primary concern in a cycling performance test. We want to know the power output in Watts (or even better Watts per Kilogram).
Don’t do physical tests on your own. Have an assistant to guide you through the test. It could be your cycling coach, cycling buddy, or just a friend or member of your family.
Make the performance test as specific as possible. No test provides answers to all questions. A performance test must be designed to measure the physical parameter you want to test. For example, if you’re going to test your anaerobic endurance, perform a test designed for that skill, e.g., 60sec max power. If anaerobic endurance is your primary concern, it doesn’t make sense to do tests not focused on anaerobic endurance.
4. Test Protocol
Instead, write down (or get your assistant to write down) every detail about your test. Get all the numbers written down: Bodyweight, watts, heart rate data, etc. Also worth noticing weather conditions if you make outdoor performance tests.
After performing a physical test, it’s essential to evaluate and discuss your results. Use your results to optimize your training routine and let the performance test inspire you to train even harder.