Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is a key metric benchmark in cycling; it is the highest average power that you can sustain for one hour, measured in watts. It is the most common training metric used by athletes and coaches to determine training sessions and plan programmes effectively when using a power meter or smartphone app. Your FTP score is highly individual to you and is NOT a statement of your ability as a cyclist. It is merely a value used to calibrate training – however, this doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Along with power-to-weight ratio, repeatability and cycling technical skills, FTP can be a key determinant of performance.
This doesn’t mean that strength training should be used alone to improve performance; it must be done alongside endurance training in a method known commonly as concurrent training.
However, all cyclists want to know what a good FTP value is, and where they lie in comparison to others. In reality, a good FTP score is one that is recent and reflective of your current output ability. If you are worried that your current output is low, or you are new to endurance training – don’t panic! This is where a tailored programme set by our experienced coaches at Technique Health and Fitness can help! With the correct training plan, your FTP will increase and the performances will get faster and more powerful!
In order to draw more of a comparison between riders, power-to-weight ratio (P/WR) AKA watts per kilogram (W/Kg) can be a great predictor of performance. It is calculated by dividing your absolute maximum power output by your weight in Kgs. This metric is a key benchmark to consider if the course during a race is hilly. For example, if Athlete A has a maximum power of 250w and weight of 80kg, and Athlete B has a maximum power of 225w and weight of 68kg, their P/WRs would be 3.13w/kg and 3.31w/kg, respectively. This means that despite Athlete A having more absolute maximum power, their relative power is inferior therefore Athlete B would win. Recent research states that typical P/WRs are dependant on experience and ability levels; Professional (7.0+w/kg), Amateur (3.7-6.9w/kg) and Recreational (2.5-3.6w/kg). Softwares such as Garmin can provide you with this information during training sessions or testing.