Estimating Functional Threshold Power
In a previous article we discussed what functional threshold power (FTP) is and why it’s important for power-based training. In this article, we’ll discuss some approaches for estimating FTP for yourself and your riders.
In Training and Racing with a Power Meter, Dr. Andy Coggan, originator of the FTP concept, defines FTP as “…the highest power that a rider can maintain in a quasi-steady state for approximately one hour without fatiguing.” Based on that definition, the “gold standard” for determining FTP would be a 60-minute all-out time trial effort. However, unless you’re working with serious athletes, an all-out one-hour effort is not very practical for most indoor cycling scenarios.
The good news is, there are several less daunting alternatives you can use to estimate FTP. For indoor cycling, some of the most practical options include:
- Maximum sustainable power test for a shorter duration
- The critical power model
- Maximal aerobic power ramp test
- Sub-maximal ramp test
Let’s take a closer look at each of these techniques.