Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 48 total)
  • Just did my first proper FTP test… and I was REALLY anxious before hand!!!
  • Premier Icon DrP
    Full Member

    My previous FTPs have all come from racing on Zwift. I know it’s not the ‘best’ way of getting an FTP as it involves a lot of standing up, sprints, and power surges.

    Not really sure why, but the thought of a proper 20 minute FTP test really scared me! Like, I wasn’t sure I’d have the staying power to really give it my all for the 20 minutes! AND..when you’re racing, the hurt is all part of it.. I thought I’d feel daft just me in my kitchen, grunting and gurning away!!

    Anyway…
    My previous (when I was fit, and taken from a race) FTP was 301 watts, and I reckoned I’d probably be at about 270-280 given I’ve been ill/had my balls chopped off etc…

    I did the Zwift ‘full FTP test’ and dropped the bias down to 90% (because in it it uses your current FTP ..so I knew the ‘pre FTP bits’ would probably be too much!) and gave it a go…

    I read up a bit about the best pacing strategy, so thought I’d aim for 280w for the first 5 min…. Then 290-300w..

    It was tough – not just physically, but the temptation to call “F this I’m off” was always there!!!

    Anyway..I did it, and am please I did as it’s not TOO bad…
    Averaged about 293w, so gave me an FTP of 277… pretty much what I felt i was at!

    I think I’ll sign up to another zwift training programme, and have a go at the FTP test again every 6-8 weeks or so, just to see how I get better..
    I reckon I’ll improve due to both fitness, but also practice.

    So..if you were like me and a bit afraid of an FTP test…just give it a bash..!

    DrP

    Premier Icon Trimix
    Free Member

    Ive done a few now, pacing does help, but I also realised its not the power that matters, its my weight. I look at the pros and realise they weigh half what I do. So even if I manage 300 watts, their power to weight ratio makes me useless !

    The secret is making sure your riding buddies are less fit than you are 🙂

    Premier Icon tpbiker
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    I find the 20 min tests good, equates to a full hrs test when I’ve done one

    Ramp tests however I dont have much faith in

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    Not really sure why, but the thought of a proper 20 minute FTP test really scared me! Like, I wasn’t sure I’d have the staying power to really give it my all for the 20 minutes!

    This is why when I had a coach he had us do it up a local (to him) climb. Because it’s mentally easier to push yourself on a climb.

    its not the power that matters, its my weight.

    It’s both, of course. I have a higher FTP than most people I know but I also weigh 20-30% more.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
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    Ramp tests however I dont have much faith in

    I found the sufferfest one got a fairly good result.

    But then I have a really wierd physiology. With my FTP hovering arround 290, but then AC and VO2max powers barely shift from that, then beyond that I can actually sprint.

    So if the sprint for the cafe comes out of nowhere I’m fine. If it ramps up slowly then I’m out the back long before anyone actually kicks for it.

    Premier Icon slowoldman
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    I find the 20 min tests good, equates to a full hrs test when I’ve done one

    I believe the rationale behind this is that very few people other than elite athletes have the mentality to do a real 100% effort to utter exhaustion, so the difference in the result from 20mins or 1 hour is tiny.

    Premier Icon tpbiker
    Free Member

    I’ve done one on a few virtual climbs on my turbo that last an hr. The correlation between the 20 min (95%) and full hr power was within a watt or 2.

    Ramp tests accuracy I suspect is far more dependent on individual physiology as mr spoon points out. The last few ramp tests I’ve done have definitely overestimated my ftp

    Premier Icon r8jimbob88
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    I think it depends what stage of your training you’re at. I find FTP is only really useful for gauging long efforts at FTP or below. Anything above that I prefer to go off perceived effort.

    Doesn’t Sufferfest do something called a 4DP test or something that scales all the different intensities to your ability? I’ve never done one of those tests but it sound way more valuable than your standard FTP test.

    If I did a ramp test after a load of winter base training I’d probably score rather low as i think it relies more on your anaerobic abilities. On the other hand it’d probably score higher on a ramp test if I’d been training my Vo2 and anaerobic systems more such as during race season.

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
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    I’m sneaking up on mine 😎

    Am steadily increasing (virtual) power on my sweetspot efforts, can do 2 x 15 intervals at a power not far off my old FTP so will just gradually increase and see what I can maintain for 2×15 and then 2×20 before committing to a test. At least this way I hopefully won’t waste a session by over-committing and aborting test half way through, which I’ve done before 🙄

    Premier Icon n0b0dy0ftheg0at
    Free Member

    Usually, I’ll simply do a Tempus Fugit TT on Zwift to get an FTP estimate, with a negative split power effort based on where I think my FTP currently is.

    I find the Zwift ramp test can overestimate my FTP by up to ~10%, but it’s fine for a rough ballpark when I’ve no idea where my fitness is at and it’s only just over 20mins long for me in total, including the freeride warmup 5mins and starting the 20W progressions from 100W.

    The local South Downs hills aren’t long enough or of a constant gradient to use, the ~6.9 mile Denbigh climb I did just before getting this lurgy is certainly long enough in total but that ~0.5 mile ~14% section ~2 miles in is brutal and then you basically descend for a mile before a steady ish climb to the summit.

    Premier Icon Oblongbob
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    I definitely don’t find 20 min tests good! I definitely find them bad! I’ve done a few and found the pacing quite tricky initially. I think it’s a good idea to do one or two without pressurising yourself too much to get it spot on – pacing gets easier with practice. Mind you, that practice is pretty horrible!

    Premier Icon Haze
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    My ramp and 20m efforts usually correlate quite well, as above I tend to stick to 20m efforts in base period and use the ramp test in build.

    Premier Icon mashr
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    Oblongbob
    Full Member

    I definitely don’t find 20 min tests good! I definitely find them bad! I’ve done a few and found the pacing quite tricky initially.

    Thats one of the big problems with the 20mins test, part of getting a better result is learning how to be better at doing the actual test (very few riders are used to sustaining the same level of effort, to exhaustion especially) for 20 mins). 2 x 8 test on Trainerroad attempts to overcome that, Ramp even more so. OTOH I just say bollocks to the lot of it and use Xert instead

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
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    Doesn’t Sufferfest do something called a 4DP test or something that scales all the different intensities to your ability? I’ve never done one of those tests but it sound way more valuable than your standard FTP test.

    Yep, it measures 20 minute power, five minutes, one minute effort and, erm, five-second sprint I think. People get fixated on ftp, but two cyclists with identical ftp figures can be markedly different elsewhere. My five minute power is/was disproportionately high relative to my ftp for example, whereas someone else might have the same ftp but a lower five minute figure, given equal weight etc, guess who’d be faster on a five minute climb. The test’s also structured so you can’t prop up your notional ftp with your anaerobic system.

    Been back on the bike for a couple of months now after around 15 months of long covid. My ftp is surprisingly/astonishingly still around 240 watts according to the Systm (was Sufferfest) ramp test, but my ability to recover from top-end and anaerobic efforts is pretty poor, so riding a mountain bike hard absolutely nails me. I’m better on the road, where it’s all more steady. Long covid owes me at least 60 watts.

    Anyway, the whole point of ftp is just to give you a training baseline. The point of the 4DP thing is that workouts can be automatically tweaked so they work for your individual power profile, whereas just using ftp could mean you’re working harder or less hard than you need to for some intervals / workouts.

    The downside of the 4DP test is that it’s a little brutal, but it tells you more than a straight 20-minute effort. Also the Systm ramp test gives you a five minute power figure alongside the ftp one, which is handy.

    Premier Icon mos
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    I can’t stand the 20 min tests. Usually do the ramp test but I’m well aware that my physiology skews the results. I did a 4DP once & that had my ftp around 10w lower than ramp but ultimately all I do is use it as a barometer of progression, the actual figure is pretty meaningless.
    The Sufferfest Half Monty looks interesting as the 20 min effort is meant to be done at a sub-threshold heart rate (i think).

    Premier Icon nixie
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    I’ve never done one becuase they sound scary. However have done lets see if I can hold a given power for 20 minutes in races before (you know just because, well really because of anger at being dropped).

    Premier Icon TiRed
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    I liked to base mine off of races. The 20 minute test is simply a predictor of your one hour functional effort. You could just do a thirty mile TT instead 😉 Under an hour and you’ll have that FTP just fine. Or a circuit race, they are mostly an hour as well.

    Premier Icon tonyd
    Free Member

    Sufferfest/Systm user here and quite enjoy the tests! Half Monty (ramp test) and Full Frontal (4DP) are both an hour long. They are quite brutal, but not as brutal as some of the sessions. I also found that my FTP from Full Frontal comes out about 10w lower than that from Half Monty, but I think I still overdo it a bit for the first half of FF

    Premier Icon oikeith
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    Thread Hijack:
    I’ve just picked up a direct drive trainer (Elite Direto X) to help me squeeze extra pedalling around life and the weather. I’ve read some training plans around doing stuff in diff zones and this is all based off FTP.

    I’ve never done an FTP test, part time roadie commuter and MTB rider. I’ve googgled “how to do a FTP test” but things I read just mention going all out for 5mins then rest and then 20mins, but how do I judge all out? Is this just going to be a trial and error thing?

    I’ve only been on the trainer once so far for an hour, reckon I could prob push 300ish watts for 5mins, dont think I could do that for 20mins though.

    Premier Icon ballsofcottonwool
    Free Member

    Another Sufferfest/SYSTM user here.
    Half Monty ramp test is brutal the 20min HR limited effort that follows is boring as hell they really need to add some video and music.
    Full Frontal 4DP test is brutal because it tests your weaknesses and strengths, 2x 7sec sprints feel ok, I find the 5 minute MAP/VO2 max the most mentally taxing, always feels easy to start with and impossible to finish. I don’t find the 20minute test daunting at all probably because my local ride has a 35 minute climb so I’m well used to riding at threshold. The 1 minutes Anaerobic capacity test at the end also seems to fly by before it starts to hurt to bad.

    I look at any fitness test with a positive mindset, I’m going to try as hard as I can, because that’s what training and riding fast needs. As the old saying goes “it never gets any easier you just get faster”. I believe that if I don’t try hard in a fitness test then any training I do based on targets set in that fitness test is not going to be worthwhile so I have to try hard.

    Premier Icon DrP
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    I’ve never done an FTP test, part time roadie commuter and MTB rider. I’ve googgled “how to do a FTP test” but things I read just mention going all out for 5mins then rest and then 20mins, but how do I judge all out? Is this just going to be a trial and error thing?

    You on Zwift? Prob worth getting a sub to that, and then the training plan section has the FTP tests…

    Your trainier will work it all out for you…

    It DOES kinda need a starting FTP to actually figure out how to grade the ‘all out’ section, so might be worth doing a ramp test first (again, in zwift) then after a week, doing the “20 min full FTP test”

    DrP

    Premier Icon slowoldman
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    Premier Icon choppersquad
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    Ok…I’ll be the first.
    What on earth is an FTP test?
    It doesn’t sound very nice.
    Does it stand for flipping terrible punishment?

    Premier Icon v7fmp
    Free Member

    or Fu.. This Pain.

    but in answer to your question…

    An FTP test is a simple way of determining your current cycling performance level. … The term FTP stands for Functional Threshold Power and it’s a measure of the best average power output you could sustain for 1 hour

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
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    I’ve never done an FTP test, part time roadie commuter and MTB rider. I’ve googgled “how to do a FTP test” but things I read just mention going all out for 5mins then rest and then 20mins, but how do I judge all out? Is this just going to be a trial and error thing?

    I got very confused about the “5 minute all out then 20 minute to exhaustion” test protocol, as most people just warm up then do 20 minutes to exhaustion and multiply the result by 95%. Needless to say, if I do the 5 minutes max first I can’t manage as hard a 20 minute effort.

    Turns out (I think) that if you do 5 minutes first, then you needen’t apply the 95% rule to your 20 minute power, e.g. if you do 5 minutes max, then 20 minutes, then your 20 minutes IS your FTP.

    I prefer just warm up then do 20 minutes all out, as is closer to the type of workout I do.

    I based my first test on what I WANTED my W/kg to be, so I multiplied my weight by 3W and got 255W. This wasn’t far off. Just accept you might get it wrong the first couple of times, I think someone on here has said before that ‘third time is the charm’ which rings true for me. Treat them as workouts so it doesn’t seem like a waste if you over-do it.

    Premier Icon DrP
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    FTP – functional threshold power..

    meant to be the maximum average power (in watts) you can generate/hold over the course of an hour..
    Most 20 minute tests take your average and then multiply it by 0.95 (cos you can average more over 20 min..).

    An indicator of lots of factors really, not jsut fitness (but the fitter an individual gets, the higher the FTP).
    What’s probably more useful/impressive to spout is FTP as watts/kg body weight, as the power to weight ratio is useful to know..

    FTP is useful to base training programmes around, but also for zwift racing categories.

    DrP

    Premier Icon tonyd
    Free Member

    The link from slowoldman above covers it.

    Also Sufferfest/SYSTM use some other measurements, explained here: Full Frontal and Half Monty

    they really need to add some video and music.

    I just stick a Spotify exercise playlist on and turn it up to 11. Also have TV and Sky box for the novids and gentler sessions.

    Premier Icon DrP
    Full Member

    Just accept you might get it wrong the first couple of times, I think someone on here has said before that ‘third time is the charm’ which rings true for me. Treat them as workouts so it doesn’t seem like a waste if you over-do it.

    I think this is what scared me about doing it!
    I didn’t want it to be frightening/wrong/ill paced, so I shyed away from doing it!
    But of course, you actually need to DO IT, to have done it!

    It was reassuring that after, I was thinking “Oh, OK..that’s that then…. not too scary”.
    I imagine with a few weeks of the’build me up’ programme, my next FTP test will be both stronger, and better prepared/practiced for.

    DrP

    Premier Icon DrP
    Full Member

    This bit from teh British Cycling link is the most pertinent:

    Why is it important?
    Knowing your FTP allows you to set accurate and personalised training zones. This is vital for constructing appropriate workouts and pacing rides. Also key power based metrics, such as Training Stress Score (TSS) and Normalised Power (NP), which we’ll discuss in more detail later, are intrinsically linked to and will only be valid with an accurate FTP.

    Also, on Zwift, for ensuring you’re in the right category for races, group rides and are riding at the right intensity on group and regular workouts, having an accurate FTP is essential.

    It’s fun to know for a ‘bit’ of willy waving, but really it’s a PERSONAL fitness figure to train around and judge you OWN fitness against…

    DrP

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    I imagine with a few weeks of the’build me up’ programme, my next FTP test will be both stronger, and better prepared/practiced for.

    Have you watched Dylan Johnson’s vids on Youtube?

    He’s very keen on Zwift for purposes of making indoor riding more appealing etc. but he’s not a fan of their workouts, too fussy/complicated.

    He’s a big fan of simple intervals e.g. 2×15, 4×8 etc. depending on what you’re hoping to achieve.

    Worth finding his Fast on 6 Hours a week or Fast on 10hrs a week vids

    Premier Icon peaslaker
    Free Member

    If your want a cheap FTP upgrade on Zwift, buy better fans. A cooled body can sustain power. You get that from pedalling IRL, but the low cooling air flow rate of fans for indoor training is seldom sufficient. Your heart rate will be elevated for any output and your stamina will suffer.

    Premier Icon DrP
    Full Member

    many steps ahead @peaslaker !

    I cycle really hot, so have 2 vacmaster fans up front, and a big rotary fan behind.. Plus doors open as well!


    @13thfloormonk
    – i have seen his videos, and I DO get where he’s coming from..
    However, I enjoy zwift, am already paying for it, and when I previously did the ‘build me up’ I found it VERY useful, and felt much fitter…
    It may not be the best programme out there, but I got from it what I needed.

    Also… I still ride MTB and commute in the week, so technically am ‘muddying my training’ with those things as well…

    DrP

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    However, I enjoy zwift, am already paying for it, and when I previously did the ‘build me up’ I found it VERY useful, and felt much fitter…

    Gotcha, and to be fair DJ does acknowledge that. I think doing anything consistently is better than sweating the details.

    Premier Icon steve_b77
    Free Member

    To be fair it’s all kind of pointless if you’re racing on Zwift as so many people on there cheat in a virtual sense its ridiculous, even the Zwift Power chap says so and the CAT’s can have such loose boundaries sometimes there’s people “winning” C with a 3.5W/kg average when the upper limit is stated as 3.2 W/kg and so on and so on.

    Really it’s W/kg that matter for real world racing, if that’s what you’re into.

    Premier Icon oikeith
    Full Member

    @slowoldman thank you for the link, very helpful.This line especially:

    If using a smart trainer it’s important to ensure you switch to slope/level mode as opposed to ERG mode when testing for FTP.

    My one play so far was with ERG mode (called Power in the app) and trying to maintain diff watts values. I’ll try level mode and use this for any FTP’s I try, maybe sunday or monday for trying my first FTP.

    ERG (Power) did allow me to just leave the bike in the small ring at the front and middle at the back, guess in level mode I’d be changing gears and using the full 2 x 10 range to produce higher or lower watts?

    Premier Icon jwt
    Free Member

    I use the ramp test on Zwift just as a basic pointer, 20 minute test is more about pacing your effort, so IMHO the more you do of those the better you’re FTP would be anyway as you learn how you react and what suffering you can endure.
    It’s all relative and if it gives you a figure to use to gauge results and improvement then it’s done it’s job.

    Premier Icon TiRed
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    Really it’s W/kg that matter for real world racing

    Depends on the racing. For TTs it’s basically WATTS. For road racing W/kg is more helpful, but ultimately it sadly still comes down to WATTS in the last 200m. I was good on the latter (4.2 W/kg) but rubbish on the former (weak). Being light gets you to higher W/kg, but being strong makes you a sprinter.

    Premier Icon ferrals
    Free Member

    I’ve nver done a 20 minute test, when TR didnt have the ramp I did the 8min tests a few times, then been doing the ramp test more recently. I find I mentally loose it on the ramp test and stop before my legs absolutely have to.

    Premier Icon goslow
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    I’m pleased someone else asked what an FTP test was before me. At least it has nothing to do with File Transfers.

    Premier Icon scaredypants
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    you can make yr own zwift workouts, so DJ-style simple intervals is easily possible

    I’ve made a few, mostly to try to mimic a race with a hard start because I’m shit at those once the first minute is in my legs (very similar for zwift and cross racing). Could probably do simple intervals & get much the same thing but it’s the surging that gets me every time, so I try to prepare for that

    (I don’t bother about my FTP because it’s irrelevant for both situations)

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