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Functional Threshold Power, commonly known as FTP, is a metric used to determine the maximum power output a cyclist can sustain for an extended period of time. FTP is an essential metric for cyclists as it can help determine the training zones that are specific to your fitness level and set training goals for targeted cycling training.

FTP is usually expressed in watts and is an estimate of the maximum power output that a cyclist can sustain for one hour. Since cycling at maximum effort for an hour is a difficult and impractical test, cyclists often use the 8-minute or 20-minute FTP test to estimate their FTP. Once you know your FTP, you can set training zones and tailor your training to your specific fitness level.

Benefits of Targeted Training Based on FTP

Training at the right intensity is crucial for improving your cycling performance, and FTP is the key metric to help you train more effectively. By using your FTP to determine your training zones, you can avoid overtraining or undertraining, which can lead to burnout or slow progress.

When you train in your FTP training zones, your body adapts by improving your endurance, increasing your lactate threshold, and improving your overall power output. In other words, targeted training can help you get faster and stronger on the bike.

8-Minute FTP Test

The 8-minute FTP test is a popular method to determine FTP. It involves cycling at maximum effort for 8 minutes and measuring the average power output during that time. The results are then used to estimate your FTP by taking 90% of the average power output.

To perform the 8-minute FTP test, follow these steps:

Begin with a proper warm-up of at least 15-20 minutes.
After the warm-up, cycle for 5-10 minutes at a moderate intensity.
When you’re ready, start the timer and cycle at maximum effort for 8 minutes.
Record the average power output during the 8 minutes.
Cool down for 10-15 minutes after the test.
Use 90% of the average power output to estimate your FTP.

20-Minute FTP Test

The 20-minute FTP test is another common method to determine FTP. It involves cycling at maximum effort for 20 minutes and measuring the average power output during that time. The results are then used to estimate your FTP by taking 95% of the average power output.

To perform the 20-minute FTP test, follow these steps:

Begin with a proper warm-up of at least 15-20 minutes.
After the warm-up, cycle for 5-10 minutes at a moderate intensity.
When you’re ready, start the timer and cycle at maximum effort for 20 minutes.
Record the average power output during the 20 minutes.
Cool down for 10-15 minutes after the test.
Use 95% of the average power output to estimate your FTP.
Which FTP Test Should You Choose?

Both the 8-minute and 20-minute FTP tests can provide accurate estimates of your FTP, and choosing the right test depends on your preference and training goals. If you’re short on time, the 8-minute FTP test is a quick and easy way to determine your FTP. If you prefer a longer and more challenging test, the 20-minute FTP test might be the better option.

Conclusion

FTP is an essential metric for cyclists as it can help determine the training zones specific to your fitness level and set training goals for targeted