Critical Power Testing Guidelines

Hi all, I’d like to do some critical power tests and was wondering if there were any guidelines on the site? I couldn’t find any. I’d like to do 3, 5, 12 and 20 minute tests on seperate days and wondering if it’s useful to include a 30 second and 1 minute test? What is the best way to do these tests, is it fine to turn the remainder of time after a test into a slow recovery ride for an hour? I’d be looking at this data in

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While there are several durations to choose from to establish CP and or your power duration profile, the ones I like best are: 20M, 5M, 1M, 15sec. The 12M and 20M will net the same results more or less regaridng your sustained MLSS/threshold power. The 3 and 5M are good but both provide context into your VO2 or max aerobic capacity. I prefer the shorter 1M so you can really max the effort out and see into your anaerobic capacity. You are for sure on the right track.

Hope this helps.

Thank you for the input!

This one (Quod et al. 2010) works well. If you do any of the cycling plans in Athletica then you get that prescribed in the test week. Going forward, we then use your power profile to measure your workout reserve in each session (analysis), which you can now monitor in real time (beta) as a Garmin IQ app. Shows you how deep you’ve gone in any one session, at any time in the session, relative to the past (for any MMP across the continuum - short to long). Free to trial if interested.

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No worries- best of luck.

Thank you for the reference.

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Found this online:
Calculating Critical Power

  1. Multiply the average power you held over 12-mins by 12.
  2. Multiply the average power you held over 3-mins by 3.
  3. Subtract the number calculated in step (2) from the number calculated in step (1)
  4. Divide the number calculated in step (3) by 9. This is your Critical Power.

There are research papers recommending that the longest effort be no longer than 15 minutes. You can find more here:
from pg 40 of the above link:
Despite multiple research studies supporting the use of CP as the gold standard for
determining the MMSS (De Lucas et al., 2013; Jones et al., 2019; Nixon et al., 2021), some
concerns persist regarding the accuracy of CP estimation (Muniz-Pumares et al., 2019). The
conventional CP determination protocol requires 3 to 5 different points (power outputs for
given durations) on the PD relationship in the severe exercise intensity domain. All
determination trials must be between 2 and 15 minutes (Munix-Pumares et al., 2019). Any
intensity that lasts less than 2 minutes or more than 15 minutes would risk the intensity being
outside the severe domain or unable to attain V ̇ O2max, which would affect the CP estimation
(Hill et al., 2002; Vanhatalo et al., 2016; Burnley, 2022).

Asked this question not only here but elsewhere and I’m surprised I was never referred to “Training and Racing With a Power Meter.” Finally got around to cracking open this classic. Chapter four of the third edition to me seems like a great starting point to address this question and use as a basis for looking at other studies. Appreciate the other answers and comments.