How to test your fitness level with Wattbike

There are lots of benefits to testing your fitness level, both to optimise your training and to enhance your performance. Being able to maximise your time in the saddle and know which areas to focus on will go a long way to helping you become a better cyclist. Here’s everything you need to know about why Wattbike is the perfect fitness testing partner.

Importance of benchmark testing

In cycling, benchmark testing is an evaluation of your current fitness level and athletic capabilities. Benchmark testing is important as it gives an indication of your existing level and shows where there is room for improvement. Doing regular benchmark tests on an indoor bike trainer such as theWattbike Atom orWattbike Pro/Trainer will allow you to accurately measure and track your progress, showing areas of strength and weakness and pinpointing how to improve.

Especially during the summer months, benchmarking testing is great to see how you're improving your fitness from your indoors sessions but also your adventures outside too. If you want to change up some of your indoor workouts, check out Summer Sessions, a constantly changing, free selection of incredible workouts following the outdoor sporting calendar.

Different types of fitness tests

There are various fitness tests you can do for cycling, and the best way to do this is on anindoor bike trainer using the free Wattbike Hub training app.

Differentperformance tests are suitable for people with varying levels of fitness and the test you choose will also depend on your training goals. Most fitness tests for cycling will require aheart rate monitor.

  • 20 minute FTP Test - fitness test for endurance, power and speed: One of the most popular ways to calculate your FTP is through a 20-minute cycling threshold test, which will challenge your endurance, power and speed. It’s an all out maximum effort test to give you all the information you need to be able to set your training zones, start training effectively and deliver results.

  • Health Assessment Submax Test - fitness test for endurance and speed: This test will estimate your Maximum Minute Power (MMP), Maximum Heart Rate (MHR), your FTP and will give you an age and gender-related fitness score. You can use this information to set personalised training zones, give structure to your training and inform your fitness compared to your age grouping.

  • 3 Minute Test - fitness test for power and strength.It is an all-out effort for 3 minutes. The test will calculate your Maximum Minute Power (MMP), Maximum Heart Rate (MHR), and Functional Threshold Power (FTP) so you can set personalised training zones and benchmark your training. It is a tough test, an all-out effort for 3 minutes, so you will need to be well trained, conditioned and experienced in order to gain the most out of doing the test.

How to FTP test

One of the most popular benchmark fitness tests for cyclists is theFTP test - which stands for Functional Threshold Power. It’s a maximal effort test and is best suited for endurance cyclists who already have a very good fitness baseline and want to understand their training zones andaerobic capacity in more detail.

How to test:

It is simple and easy to complete an FTP test on the Wattbike.

  1. Put on your HR belt, turn on the Atom, open the Wattbike hub app
  2. Tap tests, and tap 20 Minute Test
  3. Check your user data; age, weight and gender data is correct then tap the play button
  4. Tap ‘Wattbike’ in the top right hand corner of screen and select your Atom
  5. Tap the Heart Rate icon in the top right hand corner of the screen and select your heart rate belt
  6. Tap the play button to start the test, once the countdown has completed start your test,
  7. The live display will show your performance data and a countdown to the end of the test
  8. Once you have ended the test, the test summary screen will show your results

When you’ve completed the FTP bike test you will be able to see your results on the “test screen. Use them to improve your training, and set up your cycling goals.

Once you have done an FTP test and received a figure for your FTP, you can set personalised training zones and structure your training around them. It’s a 20-minute test that can last up to an hour with warm-up and cool-down and will take you to 100% of your aerobic capacity.

How to submax test

A submaximal test is not as intense as something like an FTP test and is therefore more suited to beginners and those with a lower level of fitness. As it is submaximal, this means you stop at around 7 on the scale of perceived exertion, as opposed to hitting 10 like in the FTP test.

The Health Assessment Submax Test willestimate your Maximum Minute Power (MMP), Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) (also your FTP* and FTHR) and give you an age and gender-related fitness score. You can use this information to set personalised training zones, give structure to your training and inform your fitness compared to your age grouping. It'sideal for the beginning of a new training block to give you an idea of your fitness level.

Once you complete the Health Assessment Submax test on the Wattbike Hub, you’ll be given a score based on where you place for your age and gender. If you score under the 50th percentile you are considered a beginner, 70th percentile and under is intermediate, and 90th percentile and above is advanced. This gives a great indication of how much progress you need to make and can be an excellent motivator.

How to take the test

  1. Put on your HR belt, turn on the Atom, open the Wattbike hub app
  2. Tap tests, and tap Heath Assessment Submax Test
  3. Check your user data; age, weight and gender data is correct then tap the play button
  4. Tap ‘Wattbike’ in the top right hand corner of screen and select your Atom
  5. Tap the Heart Rate icon in the top right hand corner of the screen and select your heart rate belt
  6. Tap the play button to start the test, once the countdown has completed follow the on screen instructions taking particular note of the cadence and power targets. the live display will show your current interval and target watts as well as your other performance data
  7. As a rule of thumb, let your cadence climb up to 95rpm as you ride through the stages, when your cadence reaches 95rpm maintain this cadence for the remainder of the test
  8. Once you have reached 7/10 on the Borg scale of exertion (around the ‘no talking point’), press pause and then stop to end the test
  9. Once you have ended the test, the test summary screen will show your results

Why train on the award-winning indoor smart bike, Wattbike Atom

You’ll love the Wattbike Atom for the same reason our athletes do - accelerated gains in performance, power and technique - all from the comfort of your home.Take your fitness up a level with a totally immersive, somewhat addictive, indoor cycling experience. Ride or race friends in real-world routes, with instant connectivity to your favourite training apps, including the free Wattbike Hub app.

This article was written by Alex Parren, a Freelance Health & Fitness writer, as well as a qualified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist.