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Old 10-20-10, 10:28 AM   #1
youngmrzee
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Conconi Testing for Heart Rate Zones: question about performance

Hello my dear bikeforumers,

I'm a 21 year old male in my third year at university in northern California. I have competed in triathlons, and in high school swan and ran cross country. The point being that I have been involved in endurance sports for years.

I decided to race for the university team here this year and we have already begun pre-season testing. Yesterday I did a Conconi Test which consisted of stepping up 10 watts / minute and taking my heart rate before the step-up.

A couple of questions here: I've read information as the inaccuracy of the Conconi Test. Is the test still widely used today?

I went to failure. We started at 100 watts and I went until my body shut down at 310 watts 22 minutes later. I read that some pros perform this test but start at a higher wattage (like 400 watts, or something) and stay in each zone for 8 minutes and then step up 40 more watts. After reading this I couldn't help but feel like an abysmal failure but the coach seemed really surprised by my results.

What gives? Where do I stack up as untrained cyclists go? I know this all boils down to my power to weight ratio and I weigh approximately 210 lbs with 15% body fat. I have a Tanita body composition scale. This means I need to work on lowering my denominator (weight), I know.

What to do now? We'll get personalized heart rate training zones with a schedule soon so we can train like pros, I suppose.

Please just weigh in. Have you heard of testing like this before? Have you done it? What should I look out for next time I do the Conconi (because the coach hinted at performing this test again before the race season starts)?

Thank you in advance for any and all input!
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Old 10-20-10, 05:34 PM   #2
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Have heard about it, have done it. It's a test to determine LT and in your case, watts at LT which is very informative. It worked for me. Your max watts will be well over LT. The idea of the test is to determine LTHR and watts by looking at the shape of your watts/HR curve. The folks on here who train with power know more about it than I, but at least I've done the test. If you can put out 3 watts/kg at LT you can do well.

Just do a good warm-up like you'd do for a short time trial before the test.
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Old 10-21-10, 10:22 AM   #3
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If you determine your average power for the last 2 minutes of the test, and multiply by 0.85 (IIRC that's the percentage for this ramp rate), you will have a good estimate of your functional threshold power. So probably between 250 w and 260 w, or 2.6 - 2.7 w/kg. That would put you at the upper end of "untrained".
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Old 10-21-10, 11:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngmrzee View Post
Hello my dear bikeforumers,

...A couple of questions here: I've read information as the inaccuracy of the Conconi Test. Is the test still widely used today?

I went to failure. We started at 100 watts and I went until my body shut down at 310 watts 22 minutes later. ...
Please just weigh in. Have you heard of testing like this before? Have you done it? What should I look out for next time I do the Conconi (because the coach hinted at performing this test again before the race season starts)?

Thank you in advance for any and all input!
inaccuracy...
accuracy is relative, first you really gotta know what you want to be 'measurin'...
what we've all been dancin around is some 'clear' sign from God about 'performance...
needless to say, the current disciples run to the temple of 'power'...
but that's not the end all of the search for the sign...
search continues...

Conconi - was developed some decades back when measuring devices were not at the level or availablity that they are today... back then (mid-late 80's) PORTABLE Heart Rate Monitors were just about making the scene.
Conconi found a way to find AT/ LT using heart rate and using progressive load test.
Moser used it with great affect in his training and setting the Hour record.
Ultimately the AT/LT point you get doing Conconi, gives you a good startpoint from which to evaluate your training - along with 'power', if that's available.
Pushing up the AT/LT is what training is supposed to do. How that relates to realworld performance? well that's really all wrapped up in your abilities and tactics and a bunch of other stuff...
SO ultimately, if you have a very low tolerance to suffering, and not much of a competitive edge, then everything else really don;t matter much (in cycling competition..).

EDIT - OK didn't really answer the 2nd question... look for the 'kink' in the Conconi curve for your current AT/LT. That's the HR at which your body goes into a higher state of anerobic metabolism. It's the point from which you can;t sustain the current effort for any length of time (usually measured in minutes - you get 'gass'd).
Staying below that HR, you can usually sustain efforts for much. much longer because you;re still predominantly 'aerobic'.
Doing Conconi again at some later date, should show if, and to some amount, you've been able to raise the AT/LT and so raise your ability to ride at a higher/harder level without going into an anerobic state.

Conconi is still a valid test for anyone who has only a HRM to use as a performance measuring device - which is most of us...

Last edited by cyclezen; 10-21-10 at 11:56 AM.
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