What is FTP, why it’s important and how to test
Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is a key metric. If you’re planning on following the Hotchillee Winter Warmer Training Plan 22/23 which starts next week and you don’t know what your’s is (or even what FTP is), read on and schedule in a test for this week.
What is it?
FTP stands for Functional Threshold power and was always thought to equate to the maximum power that you could hold for 60 minutes. However it’s better viewed as your sustainable power so, for an untrained cyclist, it could be what they could manage for 30 minutes or, for a pro, maybe 75 minutes. The best way of thinking about it though is as your cycling “red-line” that, if you push above it for too long, you’ll run out of gas.
Why it’s important
Knowing your FTP is important as it lets you set accurate and personalised training zones and allows other key metrics such as Training Stress Score (TSS) to be calculated.
If you’re following structured workouts on Zwift or RGT, such as the workouts that form the meat of the Hotchillee Winter Warmer Training Plan, whether you’re joining WOT (Watts on Tuesday) or doing them solo, the level of the efforts in these sessions is determined by the FTP that you have entered onto that training platform.
By dividing your FTP by your weight, you’ll get your w/kg at FTP value and this is used to determine your category on Zwift for Group Rides and Races, including the Gain Train
The w/kg category bands are:
A = 4.0 w/kg >
B = 3.2 – 3.9 w/kg (Gain Train First Class)
C = 2.5 – 3.1 w/kg (Gain Train Second Class)
D = < 2.4 w/kg (Gain Train Buffet Class)
How to test
An FTP is a tough session, so take a day off beforehand. Don’t stress too much if you don’t feel that you got the pacing spot on – the protocols are pretty robust and your numbers won’t be too far out.
To test for your FTP, you just need to follow a simple protocol on Zwift and then enter it into your account profile.
For RGT users, this video explains how to test for your FTP
You can also find more information about testing on RGT here.
Once you’ve completed a test, both platforms will automatically update your FTP if you better your previous test score in a subsequent test or on the Gain Train!
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Glen is usually behind the scenes making sure that the Hotchillee Ride Captains and event participants have fully functioning bicycles to ride but he occasionally makes an appearance in front of the camera to share his wisdom. If he’s not fixing or building bikes he’ll be out riding in #SweetSussex. If you want to know anything about Cyclocross, Glen is the man to ask.
Consultant with British Cycling and author of the Road Cycling Performance Manual. Lover of cobbles, gravel and Siberian Pine – not so keen on climbs! Nik is the author of all of the Hotchillee Training Plans, Zwift workout files and regularly posts tips and advice on the Hotchillee app. He’s also the evil genius behind the now infamous Hotchillee Gain Train.
Adele has worked within the health and fitness industry for over 25 years starting with a ballet and dance background herself, she has progressed to training and teaching all styles of fitness and offers Pilates, barre & yoga. As a keen runner, Adele appreciates the need for a strong healthy body and mind and incorporates many elements of Pilates, yoga and barre into her own training to ensure her strength and stamina remain.