Functional Threshold Power, or FTP, is a serious stat bandied about by many cyclists. If you’ve heard of FTP but aren’t sure why it is important or how to measure it, follow our simple guide to discover more.
What is FTP and why is it important?
FTP represents your ability to sustain the highest possible power output over 60 minutes.
If you are a beginner who has never tested before, FTP provides a great benchmark on which to base your cycling specific training zones. Undertaking regular FTP assessments will also give you a good indication of whether your performance is improving.
How do you measure FTP?
Top tips to get the most from your FTP test
1. Come prepared
First things first, you’ll need to get your setup right. Be sure you are comfortable on your bike, choose your clothing wisely and get your bike fit correct, so you can give the test a maximal effort without worrying about any little irritations. If you are testing indoors, prep your space and ensure you have a fan, some hydration and a towel as you will sweat, a lot.
2. Get in condition
As the 20 minute test is a maximal effort, you’ll need to do a suitable warm up to prepare your body for the challenge. The Wattbike 20 minute warm up is a great option as it increases your muscle and core temperature and offer an opportunity to mentally prepare for the test, all of which will improve your test performance.
3. Choose the right intensity
The 20 minute test is tough. You’ll need to quickly settle into an intensity which you feel you can sustain for the full 20 minutes, but also that allows you to exert yourself fully. The image below shows an even, well-paced 20 minute test:
What to do post test
Here’s where all the pain you put yourself through pays off. Post test, make a note of your FTP score and use this to work out your FTP training zones, based on the table below.
How often should I test my FTP?
It differs for everyone, but testing monthly should give you a good indication of how your performance is improving over time. An FTP test is an all-out workout, so testing too often will likely wear you out. We spoke to some athletes around the office to find out how regularly they do an FTP test.
Technical terms confusing you? Learn the difference between FTP and MMP.