1. What is Functional Threshold Power (FTP)?


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.



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 Men FTPWomen FTP
 World Class6.045.36
Excellent Cat I4.984.38
Very Good Cat II4.533.97
Good Cat III3.913.39
Moderate Cat IV3.382.90
Fair Cat V2.842.40

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

2. 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 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 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.


 TimeDescription% of FTP% of FTHR
 20 min. Endurance pace6570
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.

3. 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.


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