Ask a coach: 'Are some methods of calculating FTP more reliable than others?'

From training to time trials, an accurate estimate is vital for getting the best out of yourself

Image shows a rider completing a fitness test to calculate their FTP.
(Image credit: Future)

Most cyclists, it’s fair to say, can be a little (over?) obsessed with their FTP or ‘Functional Threshold Power’. The variety of testing protocols and profusion of names – CP, RCP and LT2 all being roughly the same as FTP – can be taken as a symptom of this fervent fixation as much as anything else.

It can all be very confusing, even before you start digging into the question of how reliable those numbers you’re generating actually are. Sports scientist and coach James Spragg is on hand to provide some clarity…

Image shows James Spragg.
James Spragg

Sports scientist and coach James Spragg is one of the experts who will be answering your questions in Cycling Weekly's ASK A CYCLING COACH series which comes out every Wednesday. Working both in research and applied settings, he currently runs Intercept Performance Consultancy

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James Spragg

James Spragg is a sports scientist and coach, working both in research and applied settings. When not working with athletes James can be found skiing, climbing, cycling or drinking coffee!

Alongside Dan Lorang and Peter Leo, James runs Intercept Performance Consultancy. Over the last 8 years in various roles, as coaches, performance consultants, performance managers, and sports scientists, Dan, James and Peter have played a role in helping athletes achieve more than 10 World Championship titles, several Olympics medals (including a Gold and Silver Medal in Tokyo 2020) and several Top 5 results in some of the biggest sporting events on the planet (Tour de France, Olympics, World and European Championships). Our single focus is on improving performance in all settings.