Lab Based Physiological Testing

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Lab Based Physiological Testing

Postby oldhairylegs » Tue Nov 27, 2012 22:58 pm

After a couple of year's of little progression in my cycling performance, I am thinking of going for some lab based physiological testing to perhaps identify some key training areas that I should focus on.

Does anybody have any experience of these tests that they might like to share? Were they worth the money in terms of improvements? Any recommended providers - Southern England ideally?

Thanks in anticipation.


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Re: Lab Based Physiological Testing

Postby Ric/RSTSport » Wed Nov 28, 2012 08:16 am

i'm not a huge fan of lab testing to show you the way forward. there are sometimes, good reasons to have some testing though.

lab testing will tell you that your VO2max and some sort of threshold is too low. i am presuming this because i'm guessing you haven't won the Tour de France or an Olympic medal.

i feel that there's two better ways of debating what needs to be improved that fits your needs
1) how do you do in races (i presume you race)? e.g. are you constantly getting dropped on the hills?
2) can you self - identify your weak areas? (e.g. think first about the major disciplines within cycling such as TT ability, climbing ability, sprint ability). Give them an overall score. Then score various subsets of those (e.g. TT pacing, ability to suffer, TT% compared to max, etc). These should give you a better idea of what you need to work on rather than just finding out that your VO2max is e.g. 61mL/kg/min etc

The good thing is that doing lab based testing gives you an objective number. which you should be aiming to improve next time you go back. often a lab may not be cycling specific or be able to tell you exactly what you need to be doing to improve in your sport (this is where sports science and coaching diverge, because a sports scientist may not be a coach or particularly understand your sport)

a good coach, along with a power meter can probably better assess what you are lacking in and what you need to do. (note that there are some good sports scientists who could do this too). but by and large i think what you really want is more coaching based than lab based.

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Re: Lab Based Physiological Testing

Postby Slack » Wed Nov 28, 2012 09:01 am

Where about are you located? Southern England is quite wide.
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Re: Lab Based Physiological Testing

Postby ut_och_cykla » Wed Nov 28, 2012 09:46 am

Yes - I live in Sweden and have used labbased testing to guide my training/exercise levels - linked to HR & RPE (no power meter). As I have an unusually high max and LT I would have been training too easy all teh time if I had just followed generic plans/assumptions from a coach. In fact I did have a coach who didn't listen to me when I told him his sessions based on % HR max were too easy and I ended up detraining. So yes I've found it very helpful. Linked with a GOOD coach it would have been even better

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Re: Lab Based Physiological Testing

Postby oldhairylegs » Wed Nov 28, 2012 22:17 pm

Thanks for your responses guys.

Slack - I am in Hampshire, but happy to drive a fair way if needs be.

Ric - yes I do race as a 3rd Cat and do ok in road and circuit races; I'm not a fan of TTs though. Am usually able to hold my own with the 2nd Cats on the road and with most of the E,1,2s in circuit races, generally without getting in the mix at the end of races though. I'm built more for sprinting than hills at 1.78m & 76kg. I don't have a power meter or use a coach at present and my club-mates say I seem to enjoy pain!

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Re: Lab Based Physiological Testing

Postby lochindaal » Fri Nov 30, 2012 13:57 pm

After ending up on a drip at the end of the Etape one year I went to these people

They did at the time an annual package for 4 tests with a training program given in between which you paid for quarterly. Cost was reasonable, I can't remember but about £150.

I felt a one off lab test would be pointless. You would get some info and then never be able to compare if your training was making improvements. This annual approach worked really well for me

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