What is FTP How to use it to help us improve our personal abilities

FTP stands for Functional Threshold Power and usually refers to the maximum average power (in watts) that is obtained during a full and stable ride in one hour. FTP is often used to determine and adjust the training interval using power timing. Both professional drivers and amateurs can use FTP to measure their progress and design training plans for their individual abilities.


But to know what your FTP value is, you must first have a bicycle with a power meter or a riding platform with integrated power data.

Dr. Andrew Cogan is one of the authors of the book Training and Racing and Power Meters. He uses FTP values to replace the previous lactate threshold as the standard for current driver capabilities, including measuring blood every few minutes. The lactic acid content increases the strength of the trainer. In terms of function, the lactate threshold is very similar to the training of FTP.

"FTP has now become the gold standard for drivers to measure their personal abilities. A few years ago, you had to go to the lab to measure your FTP values, and now we can use the power meter for a 20-minute time test to get this value." Court Moringer said that he is now a coach of a professional team, before he has been a professional driver for 17 years.


What is FTP? How to use it to help us improve our personal abilities

Zwift now has the ability to calibrate on your FTP

“In an undisturbed environment, I will let the driver do the 60-minute test as much as possible, but I can't ask the driver to do it, even if the traffic environment and the traffic lights are eliminated, 60. Minutes of tests are also rare for drivers to follow, so it is recommended that most riders use a power meter for a 20-minute time test."

How to determine your FTP: 20 points test

To measure your FTP, you need a bike with a power meter or a riding platform with integrated power measurements. Bicycles with power meters are ideal because you can output more power when you are testing outdoors.

Warm up for a while before the test, including 1-2 full-feature rides for 5 minutes, then continue to ride for 20 minutes. If possible, find a 2% to 4% uphill section as this will allow you to exert more hip and back muscles and get the best strength.

After the end, look at the average power you have spent 20 minutes. You can use Garmin Connect, Strava, TrainingPeaks or Golden Cheetah to view the data. You can also use Garmin or other smart code tables, just remember the average power of 20 minutes when starting and stopping. Once you get the average power of 20 minutes, minus 5% is your FTP. It is generally recommended to go every 4 to Retest your FTP in 6 weeks.


How do you know that your ability is getting stronger? Because you defeated your little friend? Or is it because you spend less and less time testing? These are very possible, but not completely scientific. Your friend may be in a bad state, or it may be a downwind environment when timing tests. Measuring your FTP is like standing on an electronic scale - this number won't fool you.

There is no point in comparing your FTP to the values of other drivers. The highest FTP driver does not mean that the game can be won. The driver with the highest power-to-weight ratio is likely to win a hill climb, and the driver with the highest power resistance ratio is likely to win a flat road time trial. However, FTP itself is not a comparative indicator - it just quantifies the strength of your personal abilities.


If your FTP is on the rise and your weight is falling, your ability is improving and you will ride faster.

What is FTP? How to use it to help us improve our personal abilities

Power training interval

The first thing that is currently available on the market for assisted training software will include entering FTP. Entering this number, the program will do the rest of the work, whether it is TrainerRoad, Zwift or other software, these programs basically have built-in FTP estimation function, this estimate can only be used as reference data.

If you are using a training program from a book, magazine, coach or other location, the training program will be designed according to the power interval. It is usually divided into seven sections, and these training plans for power are based on your FTP size. They are usually determined this way:

What is FTP? How to use it to help us improve our personal abilities

When you hear people talking about speed or endurance training, what they are talking about is specific training for the power range.


How to improve FTP?

In short, don't just pursue the fastest speed and spend some time training the third and fourth intervals. It will naturally adapt to this speed after a while, which is very helpful in building a solid foundation.

Frank Overton, founder and head coach of FasCat Coaching, has been a major supporter of "sweet spot" training for more than a decade as a way to improve FTP and is often productive in training time. He and other coaches consistently defined the power between the upper half of the three zones and the lower half of the four zones as a sweet spot.

Overton recommends that sweet spot training be performed on group riding or climbing, but for those who want to train intermittently at a specific time, he recommends these two:

4x15min between 84% and 97% of FTP, 10 minutes of easy pedaling between each group.

2x20min between 84% and 97% of FTP, 5 minutes of easy pedaling between each group.

Write by: Alisa Huo

Email: xatw@tw-metal.com

Skype: alisa.huo