How To Do A Functional Threshold Power (FTP) Test

How To Do A Functional Threshold Power (FTP) Test


– Coming up are some tips on how to nail a Functional
Threshold Power test. A test that John here, is, almost willingly about to undertake. (intense music) Yeah sorry John. Now, the reason for doing
a test like an FTP test, is that knowing that piece of information is really important,
in being able to train in the most efficient and
productive way possible. And John is of course, doing, a Haute Route event in the Summer. Which is a multi day cycling event in super mountainous terrain. – That’s alright, and I
guess this is the first step in becoming as fit as possible as I can. – Yeah, do you know what your
fitness is at the minute John? – I’m not gonna lie Cy, it’s
not great, but I suppose, this what this test is for. – Yeah good stuff mate, well
all you need is a benchmark. Now, there are loads of different
ways of testing your FTP. But John is using TrainerRoad, which is an indoor cycling training app. Gives you power based workouts,
and also training plans. So, clearly having an FTP that is accurate and up to
date, is really really crucial. And because of that,
there are two FTP tests, that I’ve built into the app. Now you always want to do
the best FTP that you can. Firstly, so that you’re training
at the correct intensities. But and also, let’s face it, because it is very tempting to play FTP
Top Trumps, with your mates. – Alright Si, calm down,
test is about to start. – Sorry John, right, time for some tips. Before we had started to
annoy John more than usual, he was in the middle of
a really thorough warmup. And that, is vitally important for doing the best test that you can. So, this TrainerRoad test
protocol that he’s following, has a dedicated warmup
that he was able to do. And as you can see from it, it involves about 20
minutes of steady peddling. But then in addition, there are also several above
threshold intervals as well. And so what they do, is they
really start to open you up, warm up your body, and get you ready for that consistent hard
work of the test itself. Being able to ride at your maximum very much depends on how fresh you are. So whether you are still
tired from previous rides, or in fact just tired from normal life. Because you’ll find that
a lack of freshness means, that you just won’t be able
to sustain a maximum effort. And so you’re gonna
artificially depress your FTP. So, to do the best test that you can, make sure that you back off
from training for a couple of days beforehand, so that you are able
to give it everything. But there is unfortunately a sweet spot. And that is that you’ll find, that there is an ability
to become over fresh. So, if you take too much time off, then you may find that you actually start to lose power again. Good lad John, doing well. One question that isn’t just
specific to TrainRoad here, but for anyone who is
looking to do an FTP test, is actually how you do it. So in this case, we have been able to choose from two test
protocols, as I mentioned. So there is an eight minute test that is repeated twice,
or a 20 minute test. And although both will give you an accurate gauge of your FTP. The type of riding that you do will influence which one
that perhaps you do best in. So as a roadie, and someone who
is training for long climbs, very long actually, then
a 20 minute test here is gonna be more appropriate. Whereas if you are a more
explosive endurance rider, like a cyclo-cross rider maybe, then the eight minute test
could well be the one for you. The most important thing
perhaps you’ll notice is that neither of those
are one hour tests. And that is for one very good reason. Because what we want from an FTP test is for it to be easily repeatable. One hour tests are absolutely brutal. And because of that, they’re
also wide open to error. Whereas shorter tests mean
that you are more likely to be able to do them more regularly. And they’re also gonna give
you a much more accurate gauge, so you can compare them with one another, to actually see your performance. If you’re testing for FTP indoors, then the greatest limiting factor is like likely to be overheating. So you wanna prepare for
that as best you can. A fan, is an absolute must. Because, the main reason
that you overheat, is because you obviously
don’t have the cooling effect of the wind, when you’re riding. So whether that doesn’t
completely replicate it, it does at least go
someway to offset that. And then, the reason John
is riding without a jersey, isn’t just to show off
his amazingly tone body. That is of course, to help
him stay cool as well. When a test is underway, pacing, is the most important thing to remember. Now if you’ve not actually
done a test before, then it can be quite hard to describe. You may find that you
set out way too hard, because the words max effort are floating around in your consciousness. Or you may well find that
you go out too softly, because, the duration of the
test is slightly daunting. And it’s not until two
minutes to go that you realise that not only will you last the distance, you also have loads left in the tank. What you want, ideal pacing,
is actually just like this. So you want a steady
and consistent effort, throughout the duration. Where the average power
for the first half, is also the same as the
average power for the second. Now, practise is key here,
learning to listen to your body. But then there is also
a slightly sneaky trick. To get the very best FTP that you can, personally I’ve always
found it really useful to have a target in mind. Now that does take a bit of experience. Certainly, it takes a
previous FTP test to gauge. But then you can use that,
say, 250 watts last time. Then knowing that all the training that you’ve got under your
belt, that you may be able to hold 265, why not start
out with that as your target. At least for the first part of the test, until the effort has caught up with you. And then you’ll be able to
see whether you can raise it, or hold it, for the
latter part of the test. John how you feeling mate? – Thinks it’s starting to bow now Cy. I think I might be able to hold on. – You were probably fine until
you had to start talking. Three minutes left mate, we’ll
come back when you’re done. Good lad. Dig in. (bleep) (crowd cheering) John that was an
absolutely cracking effort, quite inspiring in fact,
I wanna do one myself now. The final tip though, is that
you need to go really deep. At the end of your test, you
should be really hurting, which I kinda, I guess you might be John. – Yeah. – Yeah. Good lad. Although it might hurt, an FTP test isn’t something
to get nervous about. Cause, it’s good pain isn’t it. It’s like riding up a hill pain. – Yeah in fact in some ways you should probably kinda look
forward to it in some way. Because, it’s the only way
that you’re gonna gauge how hard you’ve been working and how much you’re improving,
as the weeks go by. – Exactly, if it’s telling
that you’ve progressed, then that is definitely a good ting. At the end of your test, TrainerRoad here has calculated John’s FTP,
look, and there it is. New world record. – Two did, two watts. – Good stuff mate. And after, let’s say, a fairly hefty period
of recovery and rest. – Yeah exactly. – Good work mate, that is proper cool. Now technically, that actual
result didn’t really matter unless you wanna play Top
Trumps with your mates. What is crucial though, is
that John now has his FTP. So that he can gauge his training, as accurately as possible. At least until you come
back and do the test again, and then smash it. – I guess the last tip is to make sure you haven’t
got anyone slightly annoying in the room while you’re trying
to focus and do your test. Think these guys cost me about 20 watts. – Sorry mate. (bleep) – [Crowd] 10! Nine! Eight! (bleep) – Anyway, if you want to
subscribe to GCN, all you have to do is click on the globe
somewhere around this screen. And to have a look at my introduction to my Haute Route
challenge, click up here. And to learn a little bit more about Functional Threshold
Power, click down here. – And make sure you give
the video a big thumps up, cause that was a cracking effort John. Real time FTP test.