In this discussion, I’ll be focusing on the area of Xert Online’s “My Fitness” home page that centers around the “Progression”, “Rankings”, and “Advanced” tabs, just below the “Fitness Summary” area.
Let’s start at the right hand side, where there’s an oval-shaped button that, when clicked, allows you about 5 different date options. Here, I’ve chosen “Year”, and that reveals the following:
- Total Activities (181)
- Average Time Spent Cycling (7hr 42min) - Probably skewed by multiple 12-hour rides every quarter or so.
- Total Time Spent Cycling in the Period (59 days, 15 hours, 45 minutes)
- Average Mileage (15 miles) - Let’s face it; I ride indoors a LOT.
- Average Distance (2598 miles) - short because of the indoor hours.
Honestly, beyond the esoteric and interesting, I really don’t have much value for this information, either as a coach or as an athlete. It’s nice to know how much I’ve done and what my averages were, and I can see how it might be useful for getting an idea of volume and cumulative time and distance, but it’s just something I usually tend to scan, but not pay much attention to. Your own experience may vary. Still - it’s nice to have, instead of wishing that it was there when it wasn’t.
But if you click on the “Rankings” tab, this is where things start to get interesting….
Here’s my Fitness Comparison and Ranking for all males, ages 40-49, specifically for the “5 Minute” Focus, also known as “Breakaway Specialist”. Let’s start on the right-hand side, and we’ll move anti-clockwise from there.
First, Xert once again gives the options for date history, which in the image is once again set to “Year”. Next, dropping down a bit, Xert offers 14 different age and competitive groupings, as well as gender selections, to parse the information down a bit. I’ve chosen the “Men”, “40-49” selection, since that’s my age group, and I’m really not interested in comparing myself to the hotshot 20-somethings. Still, if you want, that can be done, and it does have value, especially if you’re competing in Open or Skill-based categories.
Moving to the left, you’ll see a circle, which I’ll highlight here:
What this chart means is this:
“Of ALL the Male individuals, between the ages of 40-49, who have entered information into the Xert Database, I, Coach Wharton of Online Bike Coach and Cycling Center Dallas, over the last year of entered data, currently sit at 53% in comparison to all others in this category. The MEDIAN (average) is 339 watts over 5 minutes, and the 90th Percentile of all those individuals could generate at least 424 watts over 5 minutes.”
Translation - I need to train to improve this value. I’d like to try to get closer to that 424 watt value to be within the 90th percentile.
How I get there depends on my coaching, time commitment, level of talent, recovery, etc. That’s what Online Bike Coach and Cycling Center Dallas will be helping riders accomplish; improving their fitness while balancing all the other commitments that come with life and training.
Now, a couple of caveats need to be mentioned, which I want you to consider as we continue reading…
- This is the last year of entered data, from everyone who has participated or contributed to www.Xertonline.com. It’s actually pretty expansive and global, but it does not differentiate between training or racing season, hemisphere, or the actual number of individuals who have contributed. To show the difference, here’s the same chart, but I used “Master-40 (40+)” as the age group, instead of just the “Male 40-49” selection.
You can see that, while nuanced, the Median and 90th Percentile values have come down just a bit. This is because I’m now being compared to everyone over 40 rather than just those between 40 and 49. We don’t know how large the population is. I’m not really concerned about it, but it’s good to just be aware.
Now, if you look to the left on your Fitness Comparison and Rankings area, you’ll see another circular chart. I’ve selected Yearly for the period to see how I’m doing compared to by best over the year:
Based on all of my data over the past year, while my BEST 5-minute “Focus” power is at 379 watts, Xert believes that I’m capable of 347 watts over 5 minutes at the moment.
To be honest, I don’t really want to try to validate this any time soon. A 5 minute all-out test is brutal. These tests are one of the more difficult tests to do as they take a high degree of motivation and mental preparedness. In the rare circumstance, like when testing or under the pressure of competition, this would be a number you would be able to hit.
That said - if I were your coach at Online Bike Coach or at the Cycling Center Dallas studio, I would use this as a type of benchmark, and I would certainly work on ways to building upon that 347-watt value, up towards the 400-watt-and-beyond that would place me closer to that critical 90th Percentile, as seen on the previous chart.
Now remember - this is your POTENTIAL 5-minute value, and it’s based on your Peak Power, your High Intensity Energy and your Threshold Power. POWER UP!
Finally, let’s look at the “Spider Web” Radial Graph, which shows my Rankings in a different way.
The Rankings Radial Graph shows a cyclist’s Mean Max Power for all sorts of values, from “Road Sprinter” (2-minute Power-to-Weight Ratio), to “Triathlete” (3+ Hour Average Power Output), and everything in between. I’ve highlighted the “5 Minute Power” again, to show that same 347 watts, and how it presents against other cyclists in that “Focus”, as well as how “Focusing” on that value can also affect your rankings in other categories.
Here it is again, without the call-out box.
Here, you can see that as I’ve been focused on improving my Peak Power, it has improved my “Power Sprinter” values, pushing them out to roughly the 83rd Percentile, and my attention on more aerobic efforts, like 60-minute averages, 120-minute averages, and further out, have lagged.
This chart is a great way to better understand just where you are in your “Focus”, and how much you can, or have improved, at the expense of something else in your wattage abilities.
Finally, let’s click on the “Advanced” tab, and take a quick look at the “Fitness Signature” and “XPMC Settings” that come up on the screen.
The “Fitness Signature” reveals the following, which can be manipulated for recalculation.
- Peak Power
- High Intensity Energy
- Threshold Power
- Lower Threshold Power (this value is manipulated by altering any of the first three values).
Below that, under “XPMC Settings”, you have “Training Load Time Constant” and “Recovery Load Time Constant”. Their default values read “42” and “7”.
At the bottom, you’ll see a “Seed Value” which defaults to “0”.
IF you want to ALTER your Fitness Signature (and I don’t recommend this at all), then you can enter in new numbers in any of the first three boxes, or raise and lower those values with the arrows up and down, and the other values will change as well.
XPMC stands for “Xert Progression Management Chart”, and I’ll cover it in a future chapter. The default values translate into essentially the following information: Training has acute fitness effects and Chronic fitness effects, and every workout will require some recovery time to maximize potential. The default 7 and 42 will work for most populations, but they can be manipulated, if, say, you believe that your recovery is quicker than indicated.
Again - we’ll cover XPMC later, and at this time, I really don’t think either the Fitness Signature or the XPMC Settings deserve changing from this area. DO NOT TOUCH the “Recalculate Progression”, and just click back over to the “Progression” Tab itself, to get back to the “My Fitness” Home Page.
Next, we’ll Look at the four Progression Charts, which will help you better understand just where you are in terms of your volume growth, intensity work, the XPMC Chart (and how it works with the Colored Stars I mentioned in a previous post), and the Fitness Signatures, which show a historical benchmark of your Peak Power, High Intensity Energy, Threshold, and where you have recently hit some fitness breakthroughs.
Thanks for reading, and if you’re serious about employing the most advanced, holistic training program for cyclists who use wattage, Online Bike Coach is your source for training with Xert, and using it before, during, and after the ride.
Thanks for reading! If you find this post useful, how about buying me a CuppaCoffeetm? The more wired I get, the more I'll write and share!
Got a question about Xert, equipment setup or any other aspect of your training? I can help. Schedule a one-to-one consultation. We'll set up a date and time to collaborate.
Like what we do here? Write us a review on OBC's Google Business page. It'll help other people find us and get involved with Online Bike Coach. The more you help spread the OBC love, the more I'm able to generate free content.
Join us (and your fellow athletes) on the OBC Facebook page for more technical discussions, simple questions and the chance to interact with other OBC readers.