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How to Conduct an FTP Test: A Comprehensive Guide

May 28, 2024

Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is the highest average power a cyclist can sustain for one hour, measured in watts (w). It's a critical metric for assessing your overall fitness and establishing the foundation for future training intensities. Understanding your power zones (Z1-Z7) requires performing an FTP test. Here's a detailed guide on how to prepare and conduct an FTP test, both indoors and outdoors.

Indoor FTP Testing


1. Rest and Sleep:

Ensure 3-4 days of rest and adequate sleep before the test. Afternoons are ideal for testing.
2. Equipment:

You'll need a cycling trainer, bicycle, cleats, testing software (like Zwift), a heart rate monitor, and a smart device (e.g., iPad). A power meter and a compatible bike computer can also be used.

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3.Support Gear and Nutrition:

Use a powerful fan or air conditioner (keep the temperature between 20-24°C), have towels, water, electrolytes, or energy gels ready. Music can help maintain motivation.

4.Check Equipment:

Ensure all equipment is in working order. Confirm that your bike is properly set up on the trainer and connected to the Zwift app. Calibrate your power meter if used; CYCPLUS T2/T3 trainers do not require calibration.

5. Energy and Hydration: 

Eat a carbohydrate-rich meal(rice, pasta, or bread) 3 hours before the test.Hydrate as needed during the 20-minute test, but excessive drinking is unnecessary.

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Choosing the FTP Test Course

20-Minute FTP Test:   

Warm-up, Test, Cool Down.
        1.Start slightly above your target power and adjust.
        2.Begin at 85%-90% of your FTP and increase effort in the final minutes.
    Calculate FTP as 95% of the 20-minute average power.

Ramp Test:   

Gradual power increase after warm-up.
    Use ERG mode on the trainer for consistent resistance.
    FTP is 75% of the last 30 seconds’ average power when you reach exhaustion.

60-Minute Test:   

The gold standard but challenging.
    Provides comprehensive data, including FTP, neuromuscular power, and VO2Max.
    Ideal for advanced cyclists seeking detailed performance insights.

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Completing the Test:   

1. Focus on Power Zones:

FTP is the basis for your training zones (Z1-Z7). World-class professional cyclists typically have an FTP of at least 360-400 watts. Top-tier triathletes competing in long-distance events (226 km) usually have an FTP around 340-360 watts. In contrast, the FTP of amateur cyclists generally ranges from 180 to 340 watts.

2. Repeat Testing:

Retest periodically to adjust training intensity. Avoid testing when injured, sleep-deprived, or following intense workouts.

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Outdoor FTP Testing


  • Rest and Sleep:

Similar to indoor tests, rest well and choose an afternoon with minimal wind.

  • Equipment:

Ensure your bike, power meter, and bike computer are calibrated and in top condition.

  • Support Gear and Nutrition:

Bring a heart rate monitor, water, and electrolytes.


At least 20-30 minutes with easy pedaling, high cadence (90-100 rpm), and moderate intensity (50-60% FTP).

Set your bike’s gearing for a smooth ride.

Route Selection:   

20-Minute Test: Find a climb that takes about 20 minutes with a 4-6% gradient.

8-Minute Test: Choose a quiet, flat road without interruptions.

Testing Method:8-Minute Test (Beginner):

20-minute warm-up → 8-minute full effort → 10-minute recovery → 8-minute full effort.

Calculate FTP as 90% of the second 8-minute effort.

20-Minute Test (Standard): 

20-minute warm-up → 5-minute max effort → 10-minute recovery → 20-minute full effort.

FTP is 95% of the average power from the 20-minute effort.

Tips for Outdoor Testing:

Be in good physical condition.

Warm up thoroughly to avoid muscle strain and ensure accurate results.

Pace yourself to avoid early exhaustion.

Seek guidance from a cycling coach or experienced riders.

By following these detailed steps, you can accurately determine your FTP, helping you tailor your training to improve performance and reach your cycling goals.

Happy riding!

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