FTP or Critical Power – which is the best cycling fitness test?

Is it time to ditch the traditional FTP test in favour of the more scientifically advanced Critical Power? Coach Tom Bell puts theory into practice on two unwitting CW staffers

Image shows a rider completing a cycling fitness test.
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re even remotely interested in cycling performance – or a user of the best indoor cycling apps such as Zwift – you’ll be familiar with the concept of ‘functional threshold power’ or FTP. Theoretically, it is the maximum power that can be sustained for 60 minutes, and is a marker of general aerobic fitness. It’s useful because it helps define cycling training intensity zones and calculate metrics such as ‘training stress score’ (TSS). The more scientifically sophisticated rival to FTP is Critical Power (CP) – but is it really a superior cycling test and, if so, why? 

Before getting down to business as to what test is better, you won't be able to crunch any data unless you have some equipment with which to capture the measurements. It's well worth clicking through to out best Black Friday bike deals hub to check out some of the impressive discounts and deals that brands have on offer for the sale period, saving your self a decent amount of money.    

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