How to and why conduct an FTP test in cycling

Conducting an FTP test in cycling is an increasingly popular practice in an athlete’s training process. However, athletes cannot perform — nor analyze — a test like this by themselves. If anything, it must be prescribed and supervised by an endurance coach and/or an occupational physiologist. Only professionals should evaluate the athlete’s data, and customize the tests to get valid, actionable results. 

As you can see, in this article, we’ll talk about the FTP evaluation test; and briefly outline how to conduct one. If you want to know more about how to conduct FTP testing on your athletes, you can read a detailed article that we wrote a while ago, here

What is FTP?

FTP stands for Functional Threshold Power and, simply put, it’s the average number of Watts that a cyclist can maintain for one hour of steady cycling. In this regard, FTP is an indicator of fitness; therefore, coaches use this metric to determine their athletes’ training zones, through FTP testing. 

Why conduct an FTP test in cycling?

All coaches should inform their athletes that an FTP test, in cycling, is performed for a very specific purpose; and, so should you. Also, you should prepare your athlete that it will be a recurring part of the training process; and that it will be prescribed at regular intervals. So, to get to the point, what is the purpose of FTP testing? And, why should you perform an FTP test on your athletes? Well, it’s exactly what its name denotes; that is, to determine the athletes’ FTP. 

FTP is one of the most important tools — if not the most important — that a coach has, to accurately pinpoint the intensity at which their athletes need to train, for each workout. By knowing the FTP, you can determine the personal training zones of your athletes, quite effortlessly. In this way, you’ll be able to evaluate their physical condition, at the time of measurement. Depending on the results, you can create a personalized training program that will help your athletes improve their cycling efficiency. 

How to conduct an FTP test in cycling, as a coach

There are different FTP tests that you can perform on your athletes, to find their FTP. Below, we touch on two of the most common ones.

The 20-minute FTP test

In a nutshell, this is what you need to know about this test:

  • The duration of the test is 20 minutes
  • This test requires constant-maximum speed, throughout
  • It’s suitable for athletes of every fitness level

The FTP ramp test

Now, the FTP ramp test is quite different; let’s see how:

  • It’s the most valid test to define FTP
  • You will need to have certain equipment for it; such as an ergo bike, or an indoor trainer for cycling
  • The test is over when the athlete feels exhausted
  • It’s suitable for athletes of all levels 

Calculate your athletes’ FTP automatically, with Endogusto

Performing an FTP test in cycling is demanding, requiring absolute concentration from the cyclists, and maximum effort. Be that as it may, its benefits are plenty. Not just for athletes, but for coaches, as well. To elaborate, the test results will allow coaches to create personalized training programs for their athletes; that is, programs tailored to their needs and goals. Such training programs can definitely have a noticeable positive impact on an athlete’s overall performance. 

That said, the good news is that you, as a coach, can automatically calculate your cyclists’ FTP. How? Simply by leveraging our comprehensive, science-based coaching platform; Endogusto. ✌️Try it out today, and find your athletes’ FTP in seconds!

How to and why conduct an FTP test in cycling was last modified: February 13th, 2023 by Marilena Kokkinou