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What is FTP (Functional Threshold Power)

What is FTP? FTP is the acronym for Functional Threshold Power and in cycling it represents the average power output (calculated in watts) that you can maintain for an hour.

FTP - Functional Threshold Power - Cycling

Programs like Zwift use your FTP results to base workout difficulty on.  People who have a higher FTP will get interval workouts with higher wattage targets.

There are usually 2 protocols for calculating FTP.  An abbreviated 20 minute session + warmup and cool down and an hour session.  Most cyclists perform the shorter 20 minute session because it is quicker and about as reliable as the hour session.

If you are a Zwift user, Zwift will also calculate your FTP during races and adjust the result accordingly.  One caveat in Zwift is the FTP result will always be adjusted higher.  You will have to manually edit your FTP it if you want to lower the result that is saved.

Her FTP IS Larger Than Mine

Having a higher FTP than someone else doesn’t always equate to being faster on the bike.  It really an indicator of fitness of the individual rather than an indicator of speed and is used to personalize their training based on the results.

Let’s say at the beginning of the year you have a FTP score of 200.  After a month of training the FTP score rises to 220.  That would mean you have improved your FTP score by 10%, which should equate faster cycling times.

FTP is only one factor in a series of factors that equate to slower or faster times on the bike.

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About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about photography, cycling, running and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of,,,, and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the photography and cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.

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