AthleteLab_0004

How to Ace your FTP Test

You dread it. Yet, you know you need to do it.

To see where you stand in terms of fitness, the Functional Threshold Power (FTP) Test is the benchmark test we use here in the Lab. From your final result, all workouts are scaled, typically as a percentage of your FTP value – measured in watts. Like any test, there is always the risk of flunking it; so we are here today to tell you how you can ace your test with these top 6 tips:

#1: Start fresh! That means we prefer no hard sessions of training prior, red-eye travel/jet-lag, or late-night partying on the eve of the test. Any soreness or fatigue will lead to an inaccurate result simply because you are not where you should be physically.

#2: Sick or injured = no test. We hate to break it to you, but you are better off doing a recovery ride, or simply resting and recovering to come back stronger another time. We want to see you safe, strong, and happy… and not hurt yourself just for the sake of a number.

#3: Mental preparation is key. It is of course very important to be in good physical shape, but you must be in the right head-space too. Being prepared to go 100% is all in your head – free your mind and believe in yourself; for these 20 minutes of the test, you are unstoppable!

#4: Know your numbers. Test veterans will have an idea of the numbers they are required to produce for the initial minutes of the test. The accepted strategy is to settle into a decently hard effort for the first 5 minutes, and then increase that effort steadily over the remaining 15 minutes.

#5: Remember the 5% formula. Your functional threshold power (FTP) is displayed in real-time during the test, as derived from your average power reading. Look at the correct numbers on-screen; other numbers like cadence or heart rate matter too, but only as secondary references.

#6: Listen to the explanation of our staff and heed their suggestions – we’ve tested hundreds of folks before you, and we know just what you need. Typically we can give you valuable tips simply based on how you perform your warm-up (itself an important part of the test process).