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Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018 May 29:1-27. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2018-0100. [Epub ahead of print]

The Reliability of 4-min and 20-min Time Trials and Their Relationships to Functional Threshold Power in Trained Cyclists.

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1 Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, L8S-4K1, Canada.



The mean power output (MPO) from a 60-min time trial (TT) - also known as "functional threshold power" or "FTP" - is a standard measure of cycling performance; however, shorter performance tests are desirable to reduce the burden of performance testing. We sought to determine the reliability of 4-min and 20-min TTs and the extent to which these short TTs were associated with 60-min MPO.


Trained male cyclists (n = 8; age = 25 ± 5 years; VO2max = 71 ± 5 mL/kg/min) performed two 4-min TTs, two 20-min TTs, and one 60-min TT. Critical power (CP) was estimated from 4-min and 20-min TTs. The typical error of the mean (TEM) and intraclass correlation (ICC) were calculated to assess reliability, and R2 values were calculated to assess relationships with 60-min MPO.


Pairs of 4-min TTs (Mean: 417 [SD: 45] W vs. 412 [49] W, p. = 0.25; TEM = 8.1 W; ICC = 0.98), 20-min TTs (342 [36] W vs. 344 [33] W, p = 0.41; TEM = 4.6 W; ICC = 0.99), and CP estimates (323 [35] W vs. 328 [32] W, p = 0.25; TEM = 6.5; ICC = 0.98) were reliable. The 4-min MPO (R2 = 0.95), 20-min MPO (R2 = 0.92), estimated CP (R2 = 0.82), and combination of the 4-min and 20-min MPO (adj. R2 = 0.98) were strongly associated with the 60-min MPO (309 [26] W).


The 4-min and 20-min TTs appear useful for assessing performance in trained, if not elite, cyclists.


blood lactate; constant-duration; critical power; cycling; exercise performance


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