What is Functional Threshold Power (FTP)?

What is Functional Threshold Power (FTP)?

November 29, 2018

What is Functional Threshold Power (FTP)?

The term ‘FTP’ is often thrown around so we thought we would explain exactly what it is. You may have heard someone talking about their own FTP or you may have been asked to provide one for a cycling class and found yourself wondering what an FTP is, why you need one and most importantly, how do you find out yours!

What is an FTP test?

The FTP ramp test is an indication of the maximum Power output you can sustain for approximately 1 hour; it is a progressive test and allows people to learn about Power values and training zones.

Why should I do it?

The FTP test will help you to understand your current level of fitness and if re-tested will tell you if you’ve improved. Understanding your FTP allows you to train on the bike in specific training zones meaning you can measure your efforts more accurately.

What does it involve?

The test structure begins by cycling at just 75 Watts. The rider matches that with a combination of leg speed and resistance to suit them. The rider must then maintain that output for 4-minutes at which point the target wattage increases by 25 Watts. The target wattage will increase by a further 25 Watts every 4-minutes thereafter until the rider can longer maintain the target. At this point the rider ends the test and gets their result (so keep going for as long as you possibly can for the most accurate result)! The test is easy to begin with but tough on the last 1 or 2 as riders are likely above their Functional Threshold.

Any advice for the FTP test?

Keep seated throughout your effort. We know you can push more power standing but it won’t be a sustainable position for very long periods so we need to know what you can do in the saddle. Also, there’s no hard and fast rule for preferred cadence. The slower you go, the more likely that muscle fatigue in your legs will affect the result. The faster you go the more stress there will be on the efficiency of your pedal stroke and cardiovascular system. We tend to advise most people between 85 – 95 RPM.

How can I improve my FTP?

Surrey Sports Park offers the Coach by Colours indoor cycling class in which users are assigned five coloured zones based on their FTP to accurately help coach their effort during the workout. Regular attendance at this class will guide your training and you can re-test your FTP in the gym at regular intervals to measure improvements. Coach by Colours is perfect for anyone looking to push themselves in a performance-based class.

Click Here for Training Zones

Our indoor cycling classes are open to non-members as well as members. To find out more about FTP and how we can help you at Surrey Sports Park please contact health@surreysportspark.co.uk.

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