Cycling: Functional Threshold Power (FTP)

What is the 20-minute Functional Threshold Power (FTP) test?

During this test you should ride at an intensity that you can sustain throughout, but also one, which allows you to exert maximal effort. It provides with essential data, which you can then use to make and create your own personalised training programs. The main pieces of information that are monitored throughout this test are heart rate + power. You are looking to produce the most power you can (average) across the 20-minute timeframe. Sounds simple right?

Why complete this test?

The 20-minute threshold test can be used to calculate your Functional Threshold Power (FTP), you can use this information to set personalised FTP training zones and give structure to your training.

When to use the 20-minute threshold test

If you’re a more experienced cyclist, try using the 20-minute threshold test to determine you FTP at the beginning of a training plan. You can also use it sporadically to check your progress throughout your training.

Calculating your FTP

Your FTP score is calculated using 95% of your average power across your 20-minute test.

FTP training zones defined

Once you have calculated your FTP score, you can use this as a base for your training zones:

Training Zone



Zone 1

Active Recovery

< 55

Zone 2



Zone 3



Zone 4

Lactate Threshold


Zone 5



Zone 6

Anaerobic Capacity


How to improve your FTP?

In general you can improve your FTP through a personalised and structured training plan coupled with optimum nutrition. We will shortly be releasing some example programs, which you can try – watch this space.

Happy Cycling!

The Soho Fitness Lab Team

[1] Watt Bike UK (

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Published on 14th Dec 16