If there is a popular term in the cycling world, it is undoubtedly FTP (Functional Threshold Power). This refers to the highest average power range -expressed in watts- that a cyclist can develop during one hour.
This FTP is an element or data that is very important in the cycling world mainly for several reasons:
- It is a very reliable indicator of the physical condition -the state of fitness- of a cyclist.
- It is a good tool to measure the amount of work that an athlete can perform in a given time interval (usually long).
- It serves to delimit the different work zones (Z1, Z2, Z3, etc.).
Is my FTP always the same?
No. As we have already mentioned, the FPT is a reliable indicator of our fitness level. In other words, it varies according to our physical condition. What does this mean? The fitter we are, the higher our FTP should be. Or vice versa, the higher our FTP, the fitter we are.
The point is that, in theory, the fitter we are, the greater our ability to sustain high power for the same amount of time. If our fitness declines, the opposite will happen: the FTP will be lower because we will no longer be able to sustain a particular power range for a certain period of time.
Can my FPT be incorrect?
An athlete’s FTP can – and should – vary quite a bit over time. Typically, it will improve with cycling training. This is the main goal: to generate as many watts as possible for as long as possible.
At the beginning of the season, when we resume training after a vacation or a short break, it is normal for our FPT to be lower than in the competitive period, where we want the data to be as high as possible.
Some athletes make the mistake of maintaining the same FTP throughout the months, without periodically reviewing this data. This can lead to unfavorable scenarios: we may find ourselves at the beginning of the season trying to get numbers that we can’t reach because our form has dropped after the end of the previous season, or we may find ourselves in the middle of a specific period running training sessions that are too easy because we haven’t updated our FTP.
So, to answer the question, yes, your FTP may be misconfigured.
Signs of a misconfigured FTP
If you’re unclear if your current FTP is the right one, here are some tests that may help you clear up any doubt:
It’s been a long time since your last FTP test.
As you know, FTP is evaluated through different types of tests (the most common are the 5 and 20 minute tests, to which a correction factor is then applied).
However, at BKOOL you can carry out these tests and not worry about it, because we take care of extracting your threshold, as well as your training zones.
If you are training regularly, you should perform an assessment at least every 6-8 weeks. Keep in mind that the longer the time between tests, the more likely it is that your fitness has improved and the FTP of the last test is now too low.
And, on the other hand, the case mentioned above. If the last test you underwent was at your peak of fitness, but you have now resumed training after a period of rest, it is likely that your FTP is too high for your current fitness.
You are a novice cyclist
By definition, a FTP test is a very demanding test. Keep in mind that we are looking to push our body to the limit for a certain amount of time, but without collapsing prematurely.
That search for the limit requires some learning and experience, so as you do more tests, evolve as a cyclist and get to know your body better, you will probably be able to control the test better and get better results.
Intervals are too easy
If your training rides or demanding intervals don’t challenge you much, if you are able to ride well above your target power (either in the hard interval or at rest), you have evidence before you that your FTP is too low.
How to achieve an accurate FTP
There are no tricks. It’s simply a matter of carrying out an FTP test periodically. At BKOOL you can do so easily, without leaving home and without help. In addition, you can choose to do so in Workout or in Velodrome.