Tuesday, 26 July 2016

How to do a STEP TEST on ZWIFT p/b HPTek

Thanks to Dr Stephen Lane from HPTek.com.au for taking us through the step test procedure he's put 100s of athletes through over the years.

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Below is how you can perform this test yourself using Zwift to calculate your MAP and an estimate of your FTP. This is an excellent task to complete prior to doing your 20 minute FTP test.

1. Download this ZWIFT workout file. Right click and save it to your /Documents/Zwift/Workouts folder.

2. Open Zwift and go to SELET WORKOUT (or press 'E' when in the program) and select this workout.

3. Set your FTP to 100W *IMPORTANT*

4. Start the workout and proceed through the 25W steps......

5. As per the video. Record the following information

- Final Completed Stage:___________
- Uncompleted Stage:___________
- Duration of Uncompleted Stage:___________

- Final Completed Stage: 375W
- Uncompleted Stage: 400W
- Duration of Uncompleted Stage: 120seconds

6. Calculate your MAP with the figures from No.5.

- 120 seconds completed / 150 seconds steps = 0.8
- 0.8 * 25W (increments) = 20W
- Final completed stage + % of uncompleted = 375+20 = 395W

7. Calculate your estimated FTP

- 82.5% of MAP = 395W * 0.825 = 325.8W ESTIMATED FTP

8. Calculate your estimated 20minute FTP value

- 105% of your FTP = 325.8 * 1.05 = 342W

342W is the number this athlete should attempt to hold for their 20 minute FTP test.

Flipping this around - 95% of this figure gives you ~325W and should validate the step test and/or your 20 minute power test, which ever order you did them.

Now keep training, repeat, and check your progress!


pete said...

Hi, I got a bit confused by "start at 50% of your ftp" and "10% increases". So lets say my ftp is 250, so I should start at 125 and increase by 12.5? Plus the fist step should it be 5 minutes (as in the video) or 2:30?

Shane Miller - GPLama said...

The protocol is 25W steps every 150 seconds. It's a little hard to implement within software like Zwift and TrainerRoad that work only on FTP and % of.

The link to the PubMed paper is in the YouTube video notes if you want to dive right into the specifics.

Unknown said...

This testing protocol can't be right.
I did a step test and got to 375 watts, and could complete 1 minute 30 seconds of it and then stopped. Now that leaves the following:

60 seconds / 150 = 0.4
0.4 * 25w = 10
= 350 + 10 = 360w
= 0.825 * 360 = 297watts as estimated ftp


Say if I have 10 seconds uncompleted of the 375 watts... I get a lower FTP?!

10 seconds / 150 = 0.066667
0.06667 * 25 = 1.66667
= 350 + 1.6667 = 351.6667w
=0.825 * 351.6667 = 290.125watts as estimated ftp.

How can that be possible as I would have completed a longer period of time?

Shane Miller - GPLama said...

Joe - You mentioned you got 1min30sec (90 seconds) into the 375W stage.

The math on that:

90/150 = 0.6
0.6 * 25w = 15
350 + 15 = 365W
0.825 * 365 = 301.125W

There's no calculation based on uncompleted time... It's completed time in seconds (90 in your case, not 60) of the final stage you reached.

cico said...

i use program for test yesterday. I was on zwift and bkool trainer. I am little confused. When i tried to track W i had my cadence over 90 rpm. Is this ok??? I have done similar test and as i recall cadence was around 80-90 rpm.

Unknown said...

Hi Shane,
After having an 8min FTP test in T-Road, which gave me an unrealistic FTP of 99 (I´m coming from a knee surgery but I´m not so bad), decided to go with your STEP test to double check that number and I´m very happy with results, which are much more realistic to my riding. I got and EST.FTP of 200W. I think my issue with TR test was technical, since I felt didn´t have enough resistance during test intervals, ran out of gears and couldn´t log more watts, I´m checking this issue with them,

Can I start training on TRoad with that FTP, or should I do a 3rd 20min FTP test to validate that number?? Simply I just want to start training and don´t want to make a 3rd FTP test.


Shane Miller - GPLama said...

This is based around a 100% fit/healthy subject. If you're injured or coming back from surgery then it's best to refer to your specialist(s) as to what exercise/testing is applicable.

Unknown said...

Shane, sorry for the misunderstanding,
I´m 100% healthy now and had green light from Dr, been cycling for over a month (surgery was 3 months ago).
Obviously my FTP is lower than pre-surgery and that´s why I made the test to find out.
Just want to know if it´s a good idea to log the FTP result from step test on Troad to start training plan, or really is necessary to validate that number doing a 3rd 20min test, which I want to avoid.


Shane Miller - GPLama said...

Arh, ok. Testing is training! Get stuck into it and get your numbers again. There's no avoiding hard work when it comes to training, so just bite into it and get that 20 minutes done. When the clock ticks 20:01 you'll have the data and a good session in the legs.

Unknown said...

That's right, thanks..
Zwift FTP workout is a good place to get tested?

Unknown said...

Hi Shane,

Been trying to download the Zwift file for the step test, but the link goes to a page showing only the directions of use... "Right click and save it to your /Documents/Zwift/Workouts folder." Should I do that on the link??? Surely thats when its downloaded. I thought I was computer savvy!!!! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I have been doing 20min ftp testing for a little while now, but interested in doing one of these step test.

Keep up the good work, love your videos!

Unknown said...

Hey Shane,

I right clicked and downloaded the file! Sorry to bother you with such trivial matters!!

Thanks a lot


Shane Miller - GPLama said...

Right click the link and "Download Linked File As...." on Safari (just tested on the machine I'm on)

Or go to www.zwiftcoach.com and do the same. The file extension is ".zwo" for Zwift Work-Out.

Unknown said...

What's a more accurate FTP test, the step test or the 20 min FTP?
Cheers, Dan

Shane Miller - GPLama said...

They're both estimates, that'll get pretty close. If you want true accuracy you have to do the whole hour.

Unknown said...

Hi Shane,
How many rest days you suggest between MAP TEST and an FTP Test(validation test)for optimal results? Can be done the next day?

Shane Miller - GPLama said...

Entirely up to you.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Shane and Lane. thanks for creating the test and video. found it much better mentally than the 20-minute test. hard, but easier to concentrate at the job in hand. got an FTP PB of 272w which im pleased with as it is was after a block of endurance rides and rest! looking forward to doing it again in a few months time. cheers.

Ben Watson said...

Hi Shane,

Thanks so much for this and for all your great content.

Quick question - is this supposed to work in erg mode?

Many thanks!

Shane Miller - GPLama said...

Ideally, yes.

Ben Watson said...

My neo doesn't seem to be in erg running this workout, anything obvious you can think of that I'm doing wrong?


Shane Miller - GPLama said...

In Zwift? Ensure ERG is checked on the workout loading/selection screen. Pop over to the Zwift Riders Facebook Group if you're still having issue and someone will chip in there. (Or Zwift Support)

Ben Watson said...

Thanks so much, it was literally that simple! I was faffing around looking for erg settings after loading the workout...

Again thanks fo all the phenomenal content, keep up the good work!


Simon said...

This is essentially a VO2Max test. Very similar to a running 'bleep' or shuttle test, i.e. increasing interval levels until failure.

VO2Max and FTP can be very independent from each other. VO2Max is difficult to train and is essentially limited by your physiological makeup (lung capacity etc). FTP is a level well below your VO2Max, and not affected by VO2Max limiters and is much more trainable. The adaptations that cause improvements in FTP (such as increased lactate dissipation and mitochondrial enzymes) do not help with your O2 uptake and use. As such it's well demonstrated that one can improve their FTP over time with negligible change in their VO2Max. They're not quite mutually exclusive but can be considered independent metrics. As such I suggest there's a poor correlation between a % of VO2Max indicating FTP between different intervals.

David Tatum said...

Is there a way to do this from the iPhone app? if so can you email me dtatum6@gmail.com

Shane Miller - GPLama said...

Not easily. Custom iPhone/IOS workouts on Zwift are a little difficult to upload/sync. Zwift Support will be able to assist if you're up for the challenge.

Unknown said...

I just completed the test with the kickr in erg mode and the quarq on the bike. I felt the erg mode effected my numbers due to the spiral of death.

Should i have not used erg mode?

I can hold power in the ranges better with out it and it would match the quarq better.


Shane Miller - GPLama said...

The test is through to failure. Spiral of death = failure point. By design you nailed it. You can try this in non ERG mode if you're good at regulating the power zones. At the end of the day it's still an estimate and a repeatable protocol to stick to.

Unknown said...

Hi Shane,

First of all, thank you for providing us excellent workouts.I've just completed the test. According to the test, my MAP is estimated 285W, which is almost comparable to my CP300, so I think it is appropriate figure. But my heart rate was 166pbm at failure point, my max heart rate is 182 so I'm afraid I gave up too early.
I would like to have your comments that 285w is correct or not.

I am 54 years old, male.

Thanks in advance

Shane Miller - GPLama said...

It's difficult to provide one on one coaching for athletes here sorry. I'd recommend finding a coach who'd be able to review your training history, training load, response, and numbers from tests such as this one.

Unknown said...


Watch a lot of your content. Great work, keep it up! Just one note, you've got a calculation error at the end. In step 8. it should not be:

- 105% of your FTP = 325.8 * 1.05 = 342W

FIX --->> 325.8 / 0.95 ≈ 343W

Not much difference though! ;)

Mark Gorman said...

Hi Shane,

Thanks for this, used the test last night and got a result that I thought was about right... this is a perfect test prior to doing an FTP test for when you dont fully know your FTP... I also like how Dr Slane gives you a figure to aim for in the 20min FTP... Ride On

Mark Gorman said...

Hi Shane,

Thanks for this, worked a great!!! Really like your content... Ride On