Testing for Mean Max Power (MMP)
I've been meaning to write about this for a while, so apologies that it's a few weeks late. However, our training in March and April led to multiple Mean Maximal Power Breakthroughs, and I wanted to write about this. Mean Maximal Power is defined as the "Highest average power" you can generate over a given amount of time. This time, at the studio, we used 5 MMP's. They were: 1-minute, 2-minute, 3-minute, 5-minute, and 8-minute efforts. This was done over two days, and we did "Pre-Tests" the week before for the 3-minute and 8-minute values, and we accepted the higher value of the two. All tests were performed using PerfPro Studio software, and several of my clients are using Xert Fields on their Garmin head units.
We test for Critical Power at the studio, because not all of our clients own power meters for their bikes. PerfPro Studio is the best program to help cyclists understand how intervals work. Intervals on PerfPro incorporate Critical Power and W Prime. Intervals of different intensities, durations, and number, improve fitness.
Most of my clients are veteran studio cyclists, so when we tested, we used previous values as a benchmark to surpass. Here is an example:
In March of 2018, Leo Spencer had Mean Maximal Power Numbers for the following durations:
- 1MMP - 418 watts
- 2MMP - 309 watts
- 3MMP - 292 watts
- 5MMP - 268 watts
- 8MMP - 237 watts
As a result, this led to a Critical Power Value of: 214 watts, and a "W Prime", or "W'" value, of 13,010 j. Critical Power is a value above which a cyclist is drawing from anaerobic power sources, and it cannot be sustained for long periods of time. Below Critical Power, a cyclist is largely using aerobic power, and the effort can be sustained much longer. The W Prime (W') value is sort of a "bank account", from which energy is drawn and returned, when wattage is above Critical Power. If Leo were to ride at 300 watts, his W Prime (W') would fall quickly. When his power was at 150 watts, it would begin to return.
Furthermore, you can also see that most of Leo's values came from one day in March, with one day in February completing the 5 MMP's.
This was in the middle of a "MesoCycle" of training. Mesocycles are periods of time where a cyclist is increasing training volume and/or intensity. Four weeks later, after an increase in intensity, the installation of a power meter and a Garmin 1000 head unit, along with the introduction of Xert Fields and Metrics, we tested him again.
Testing after four weeks of Progression
Here are his charts...
The 5-minute, 3-minute, and 1-minute MMP Tests yielded:
- 1MMP - 461 watts (10% improvement).
- 3MMP - 304 watts (4% improvement).
- 5MMP - 278 watts (4% improvement).
Here is his 2-minute and 8-minute MMP Test chart:
The 8-minute and 2-minute MMP Tests yielded:
- 2MMP - 372 watts (17% improvement).
- 8MMP - 249 watts (5% improvement).
His Critical Power Curve ended up looking like this:
These Mean Maximal Power Improvements led to more overall fitness for Leo and many others. In fact, 3/4 of my studio clients achieved breakthroughs in at least 3 of the 5 MMP's!
Here are Leo's Gains by %.
- Critical Power: 2% in four weeks.
- W Prime (W'): 25% in four weeks!!!!
The Secret Behind the MMP Breakthroughs...
So here is what I find so interesting.
Before Xert, I would give cyclists their previous MMP Records. Leo got his April Mean Maximal Power values, to try and break. But the method of breaking the MMP records was what made it so successful.
Leo and all the riders who use Xert, used COLORED ZONES to better pace their efforts. Watts colored in Black are at Threshold Intensity. Power showing watts in Yellow were at Vo2 Intensity. Watts colored Red were highly Anaerobic, and if the watts turned Purple for a long enough period of time, then a breakthrough could be achieved! By timing the efforts JUST RIGHT, Xert users were able to "See" how much more they could give, before they surpassed previous limits. Leo's breakthroughs were all performed visibly as well as mentally.
Therefore, in PerfPro, the chart looks like this (this is from March, 2018):
And here is Leo's file from Xert's point of view...:
In conclusion, Mean Maximal Power is a way to test yourself for work capacity. Using PerfPro, we can accurately look at empirical records to set breakthrough goals. When combined with Xert Fields, cyclists can better pace their way to breakthroughs. Using PerfPro Studio with Xert Fields on your Garmin, is truly the best combination available.
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