There are several reasons for you to periodically take a performance test: from keeping your motivation high as your fitness progresses, to being able to properly plan and execute training sessions throughout your athletic development.
FTP (Functional Threshold Power) is defined as the estimated power – one of the most important metrics in cycling – that you can sustain for one hour.
Knowing your FTP is important for both athletes and coaches, as it gives you a clear idea of fitness. It also helps quickly and easily establish your training zones.
Most coaches today are guided by FTP when planning training sessions for their athletes.
The FTP Test
The FTP test is a performance test that establishes the Functional Power Threshold of each cyclist.
There are coaches who simply prescribe a one-hour time trial (the average power result would be your FTP), but that requires significant physical and mental demands. Few amateur athletes are adequately prepared to take on a 1 hour TT. That’s why simpler ways to find Functional Power Threshold have been developed.
At BKOOL, we have two FTP tests that can be performed on your trainer: a 20-minute test and a 5-minute test. After completing either one, BKOOL automatically calculates your power and heart rate zones, and establishes your training zones.
When you take an FTP test on BKOOL (here are some tips to help you get through it), the platform makes the calculations and defines your training zones: the different intensity ranges at which we should train to achieve certain objectives.
To improve performance, it’s not simply enough to rack up miles on the bike. Specific training is required to achieve specific goals.
When you train most effectively, you’re doing it for a specific purpose: it can be to improve your FTP, your VO2Max, or to work on your endurance. That purpoise will dictate the zones you train in.
This is one of the basic principles of training, that of individualization: personalized training is fundamental to improving as an athlete. Therefore, it’s essential that you have your own individualized training plan.
Your FTP test will be used to define six training zones: Z1 is the lightest and Z6 the most intense. Once you know them, you can create your workouts with specific objectives.
- Z1: 1% to 56% of your FTP – Helps recovery.
- Z2: 56% – 76% of your FTP – Improves endurance.
- Z3: 76% – 91% of your FTP – Improves aerobic performance.
- Z4: 91%-106% of your FTP – Increases maximum performance capacity.
- Z5: 106%-121% of your FTP – Helps improve speed.
- Z6: 121%-150% of your FTP – Increases anaerobic capacity.
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