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1. What is Functional Threshold Power (FTP, FTHR) in Cycling?


Functional Threshold Power is the maximum average power you can hold for one hour. FTP in cycling is the most important number where everything begins!

Actually, it is very hard to do this kind of workout, it can be done just by well-trained athletes. Instead, you can do a 20 min test described below.

1.1 Why FTP is so important?


Base on Functional Threshold Power we can build our training plans, set up training zones, work on specific energy systems and easier achieve our goals.

1.2 How long you can hold your FTP?


Very well train athlete can spend even 2 hours around his FTP level. It is good if you can handle 2 x 20 minutes intervals at your Functional Threshold Power. Remember that you can spend just minutes being over your threshold and much longer being below it. That is the way it is so important to increase as high as possible.

1.3 What tells you if someone’s threshold is 250 Watts?


Not much, I would ask what is his/her weight it gives me much more information if I can count his power to weight ratio. Example: Rider 1, FTP 250 Watts weight 63 kg and Rider 2, FTP 290 Watts weight 85 kg.

Rider 1: 3.96 Watts/kilo
Rider 2: 3.41 Watts/kilo

Conclusion: Rider 1 is a good climber but would have a lot of problems with Rider 2 on flat courses, criteriums and at the track.

Don’t always try to get the best power to weight ratio!

It is a very important aspect but not always valuable, depends on the type of cycling you are doing.

2. What is Good FTP?


This table will show you how you look in front of other cyclists. Are you below or over your category?

  Men FTP Women FTP
  6.40 5.69
  6.31 5.61
  6.22 5.53
  6.13 5.44
 World Class 6.04 5.36
  5.96 5.28
  5.87 5.20
  5.78 5.12
  5.69 5.03
  5.60 4.95
Exceptional 5.51 4.87
  5.42 4.79
  5.33 4.70
  5.24 4.62
  5.15 4.54
  5.07 4.46
Excellent Cat I 4.98 4.38
  4.89 4.29
  4.80 4.21
  4.71 4.13
  4.62 4.05
Very Good Cat II 4.53 3.97
  4.44 3.88
  4.35 3.80
  4.27 3.72
  4.18 3.64
  4.09 3.55
  4.00 3.47
Good Cat III 3.91 3.39
  3.82 3.31
  3.73 3.23
  3.64 3.14
  3.55 3.06
  3.47 2.98
Moderate Cat IV 3.38 2.90
  3.29 2.82
  3.20 2.73
  3.11 2.65
  3.02 2.57
  2.93 2.49
Fair Cat V 2.84 2.40
  2.75 2.32
  2.66 2.24
  2.58 2.16
  2.49 2.08
  2.40 1.99
  2.31 1.91
Untrained 2.22 1.83
  2.13 1.75
  2.04 1.67
  1.95 1.58
  1.86 1.50

Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan. (2010) Training and racing with the power meter. Boulder, CO

3. How to test FTP and FTHR?


How to set your FTP or FTHR?

You don’t need expensive laboratory tests. The very good way is to make a 20 minutes (30 for Heart Rate) test which can give you very precise results. Why do you need to know your Functional Threshold Power? Most importantly to set your training zonesif you know them it is much easier to control your training plan. Below you can find instruction on how to perform the whole test. The average number of Watts or Heart Rate (from last 20 min) reduced by 5 % is your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) or Functional Threshold Heart Rate (FTHR). Why we reduce numbers by 5 %? Because you should do a 60-minute test, not 20 minutes, but it is much harder even sometimes not possible to do.

Remember to warm-up well.

Start very easy, get to your full speed about 2-3 minutes.

When you get your speed to push hardest you can to the end of effort being able to keep the same speed/power.

Do not forget about cool down.


  Time Description % of FTP % of FTHR
  20 min.  Endurance pace 65 70
Warm-up  3 x 1 min. (1 min. Rl)  Fast pedaling, 100 rpm  N/A  N/A
   5 min.  Easy riding  65  < 70
   5 min.  All-out effort  max  > 106
 Main set  10 min.  Easy riding  65  < 70
   20 min.  Time trial  max  99 – 105
 Cool down  10 – 15 min.  Easy riding  65  < 70

Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan. (2010) Training and racing with a power meter. Boulder, CO, pp. 47.

4. How to Increase FTP?


To increase your Functional Threshold Power you have to spend time in this zone, to be more precise between 93% and 105% of your FTP. If your FTP is 280 Watts then you have a range of 260 – 294 Watts.

93% is a “Sweet Spot” zone which is one of the best places to be to improve your FTP.

Below you can find 2 workouts for beginners and more advanced cyclists, both of them are available to download, base on power and heart rate zones. Always remember about recovery every 3-4 weeks, and testing your Functional Threshold Power every 6 weeks.

Beginner workout:

• Start with easy 10 min warm-up
• 3 x 1 min – cadence 120
• 10 min active ride – 70% of FTP
• 3 x 7 min – 84% – 97% of FTP with 3 min easy between
• 15 min recovery

Advance workout:

• Start with easy 10 min warm-up
• 3 x 1 min – cadence 120
• 10 min active ride – 70% of FTP
• 4 x 15 min – 84% – 97% of FTP with 3 min easy between
• 15 min recovery

Leave a comment below if you have any questions.

What is a heart rate threshold?


Functional Threshold Heart Rate (FTHR) is a maximum average heart rate which can be held for 1 hour long during maximum, steady effort. Because of how hard it that effort, you can do 20-30 min test and decrease result by 5%


How is FTP calculated?


Functional Threshold Power (FTP) can be calculated by finishing the 20-min test. Effort supposes to be your maximum you can hold for 20 min with the previous warmup. The average power decreased by 5% is your FTP.

Coach Damian

Damian is a head coach and founder of Cyklopedia, which was created with one goal to help everyone be faster cyclists by structured training plans, healthy recipes, and nutrition plans. Damian is racing and coaching for over 10 years, working with athletes all around the world.


  • Avatar gopinath says:

    awesome workout plan
    thank you for shearing knowledge about the cycling

  • Avatar Davor says:

    Thanks for work plans!
    Thank you for shearing knowledge about the cycling!
    I noticed from calculation of FTHR and FTP that reducing both by 5% resulting that, using hart rate monitor I should run the test in upper edge of VO2max zone (30min) while 5% with power meter results to stay in same zone upper edge (20min). It is easier to me to ride 1h at 166bpm than 30min at 174bpm. I think that FTHR should be corrected only by 2%. Is my observation correct or wrong?

    • Coach Damian Coach Damian says:

      Hi Davor, thank you for your kind words.
      5% is an overall rule but it is not perfectly applied to every individual person. It is always necessary to make adjustments for your body and your needs. Are you going to stay with 2%?

  • Avatar Davor says:

    Thanks Damian, I agree with you, that is generally accepted rule. I will stay with 2%. I have two test 168 and 170bpm for little above 20min (I can not push any more, all out) but I have 166bpm for 1h.
    Also I agree with you that some things are individual. As you guess I try to establish the method to monitor my progress if any, it is more important to be the same than to be ideally precise.

  • Avatar Carlos Brewer-Incera says:

    I disagree with points 1 & 1.1.

    FTP is not the most important value, how about MAP/VO2 Max/AC/NM capacities?

    I have friends with better FTP/FTHR than me, but, I hold better on longer rides, mixed rides.

    I started with FTP/FTHR based workouts couldn’t hold attacks in the group rides or sustain efforts … Got a tested for 4DP and I am a different rider for short or long or medium distances … I would say, an integral workout based on all parameters is way more complete!

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