What's so special about FTP? A lot - so here’s how to test and improve it

Recently picked up a power meter or indoor bike and want to get started working on your Functional Threshold Power? Here's everything you need to know

Image shows a riding completing an FTP test.
(Image credit: Future)

FTP - which stands for Functional Threshold Power - is a term which is ubiquitous amongst cyclists and is a common measure of fitness. FTP figures can be a source of competition among some riders, and they're routinely used to set training zones during interval sessions. But, what exactly is FTP? And, most importantly, how can you make yours higher?

FTP is effectively a measure of the power you can hold for an hour, measured in watts. But, there's more to it than that - with several possible tests to ascertain your FTP, and even more ways to improve it, either training with a power meter or indoors on a turbo trainers or smart indoor bike.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ZonePercentage of FTPUse for
1<55%Active recovery
256-75%Long, endurance rides
376-90%Tempo rides aimed at improving endurance at high effort
491-105%8-30 mintue intervals focused on improving FTP
5106-120%3-8 minute 'V02 max' intervals
6121-150%30sec-3minute efforts focused on improving anaerobic capacity
7N/AEfforts less than 30 seconds, sprinting, neuromuscular power

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1