This profile has been a project of love for me and has been in the works for a long time. I have heard from so many instructors that they weren’t sure how to use a power meter, or even if they do know, what power level their riders should be aiming for. Even those who understand power training zones have said that they can’t do FTP testing (the full 20-minute functional threshold power test) because their classes are too diverse or they feel the tests are too hard.
I strongly believe every club or studio that purchases bikes with power should also provide training for instructors on how to teach with power. Most manufacturers also have educational programs that go with their bikes. Still, I recognize it’s not always feasible for a club to do this and it’s even more challenging with high instructor turnover.
In those cases, I hope that these instructors will seek out online education, attend conferences, read books on power training, or, at the very least, join ICA.
This profile doesn’t take the place of education, but it does help you teach your riders about power and guide them to find a baseline benchmark that is a worthwhile estimate of FTP—at least until they are able to take the full 20-minute FTP test.
I call it The Ultimate HIIT profile because, well, that’s what it is! In addition to estimating FTP, it includes some of the more important durations for intervals so they can be compared to each other. This is relevant when teaching power as well as perceived exertion. The cueing in this profile is extensive for that very reason—it provides you with the ammunition you will need to guide riders to relate each interval and to make mental notes of what they are feeling.
Ask your riders to take what they learn in this profile and apply it to other classes they attend.
Caution: This is a very hard class, but, because it has the proper amount of recovery in between hard efforts, it is very doable by most relatively fit people. Obviously, the more fit you are, the harder you can push during the intervals and the more reliable your FTP estimate will be. But even less fit riders can do the 3-minute estimate, and then back off slightly for some of the other higher-intensity intervals and get a lot out of the workout.
For those without power meters… here is this very same Quick Profile based not on wattage cues but on perceived exertion cueing.