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Thread: Establish FTP

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    Establish FTP

    Hey,

    if I know my threshold heart rate which has been established and confirmed several times during training and racing; If I now ride during several training sessions for 5 minutes at my threshold heart rate and my Watts number is always around the same number, is it save to say this is my FTP?

    The reason why I do not want to make the 20 minute test is that I am current racing every weekend and this would not fit the training plan.

    Lars

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    Threshold HR established and confirmed? Against what? Lactate testing? A powermeter?

    A 20min effort to test FTP will not upset your training (and may just add to it). Avoiding a valid and correct method of test underlies one of the benefits of training with power. Soon you'll be able to bin the HR strap.

    For reference: Alex Simmons and the Seven Deadly Sins (of FTP estimation)
    Alex's Cycle Blog: The seven deadly sins

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    Quote Originally Posted by larsd View Post
    Hey,

    if I know my threshold heart rate which has been established and confirmed several times during training and racing; If I now ride during several training sessions for 5 minutes at my threshold heart rate and my Watts number is always around the same number, is it save to say this is my FTP?

    The reason why I do not want to make the 20 minute test is that I am current racing every weekend and this would not fit the training plan.

    Lars
    I would not rely on 5 min's, but then again In his book The Time Crunched Cyclist, Chris Carmichael prescribes a field test of 2x8 minutes. Using the interval that produced the highest power number, he multiplies that by 90% and uses that figure to establish training zones.

    You would get a good idea with racing and training pending on length of event / workout. Like Tape said, A 20m effort should not upset your training. But it sounds like you have a good idea where you are at - I would not get to hung up on #'s. Plenty of people do their training at 90% SST Sweet Spot Part Deux | FasCat Coaching :: Cycling Coach for all Cyclists

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    Good advices

    A single 20 minutes effort to *estimate* your FTP will not hurt your training. The physiological consequences of a 20 minutes test are not that compromising on the medium term. It is hard, but will add a nice chunk of intensity to your training and will give you a relatively good baseline to work with.

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    Thanks guys

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    Quote Originally Posted by larsd View Post
    Hey,

    if I know my threshold heart rate which has been established and confirmed several times during training and racing; If I now ride during several training sessions for 5 minutes at my threshold heart rate and my Watts number is always around the same number, is it save to say this is my FTP?

    The reason why I do not want to make the 20 minute test is that I am current racing every weekend and this would not fit the training plan.

    Lars
    If a 20 minute time trial midweek negatively affects your weekend racing, you need to be better trained to begin with before considering racing. It's really not that much to recover from.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post
    If a 20 minute time trial midweek negatively affects your weekend racing, you need to be better trained to begin with before considering racing. It's really not that much to recover from.
    Not sure where it said that it would negatively effect anything. I simply mentioned it does not fit in the plan. And with all due respect, it is not for you to worry about racing or not racing given you have no idea about the actual competitions I participate in or the level I am competing in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by larsd View Post
    Not sure where it said that it would negatively effect anything. I simply mentioned it does not fit in the plan. And with all due respect, it is not for you to worry about racing or not racing given you have no idea about the actual competitions I participate in or the level I am competing in.


    You asked for opinions. No need to be snarky if a very legitimate one does not fit your already made up mind.

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    Like these guys said, do a full test for FTP. It will give you a more complete picture overall.

    Personally, I highly suggest The Sufferfest's Rubber Glove video to do this with. It has the fitness test built right into the video. All you have to do is put your bike on a trainer and follow the directions. Highly recommend it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by larsd View Post
    Not sure where it said that it would negatively effect anything. I simply mentioned it does not fit in the plan. And with all due respect, it is not for you to worry about racing or not racing given you have no idea about the actual competitions I participate in or the level I am competing in.
    My apologies if I misunderstood. I will point out that testing = training and a hard 20 minute testing effort could simply be treated as an intense interval day.

    Of course it's not for me to worry about you. I do coach athletes, but you are not my client. I simply meant to provide information.

    The level of competition shouldn't matter in the slightest, by the way, only frequency. If you were racing twice weekly I'd say wait until you have a week with only 1 race, but most people don't regularly race 2x/week on the MTB.

    I'd tell a beginner or a pro the same thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by larsd View Post
    Hey,

    if I know my threshold heart rate which has been established and confirmed several times during training and racing; If I now ride during several training sessions for 5 minutes at my threshold heart rate and my Watts number is always around the same number, is it save to say this is my FTP?

    Lars
    I do similar every once in a while to get an estimate of FTP, but I use a slow ramp up method.

    I know my LTHR is around 155-160, so I sit on the trainer and slowly ramp up to that HR. I keep a steady rpm round 90rpm and click the gear up one gear every minute.

    I'm pretty much simulating a Conconi type test. Once I ramp up to 155-160, and my ventilitory threshold and PE seem right, then that provides a decent estimate of my threshold power.

    I've had professional tests done (one with blood being sampled), so from those tests I've learned what clues to look for in my own tests.

    The biggest mistakes I've done in the past in LTHR testing is not keeping the power and RPM consistent and steady, not staying seated, and thinking race HR data is good. Race HR data is always too high, sometimes by 15 bpm.
    Last edited by Poncharelli; 11-13-2013 at 05:55 AM.
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    Establish FTP

    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    I would not rely on 5 min's, but then again In his book The Time Crunched Cyclist, Chris Carmichael prescribes a field test of 2x8 minutes. Using the interval that produced the highest power number, he multiplies that by 90% and uses that figure to establish training zones.
    There was a nice quote in Dr Andrew Coggan's recent webinar about some of the changes in WKO 4. His comment was that if FTP was so easy to calculate there wouldn't be so many questions on the wattage group about how to decide what your FTP actually is.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZC8wTYlhR6Q

    The 8 minute Carmichael field test result, as used in the Time Crunched Cyclist book, isn't the same thing as FTP (Functional Threshold Power, defined as your best 1 hour time trial power) and used in the Training and Racing with a Powermeter book. They give differing results for a different set of training zones according to which book you're using. The CTS field test consists of two 8 minute efforts and you take the power from the highest one. You then use that highest figure itself (not the highest figure multiplied by 90% ) to calculate the different zones:

    http://trainright.com/assets/downloa...ptions2010.pdf

    Last year for example my best 8 minute power was 298 watts whilst my best 20 minutes was 281 watts (267 watts FTP estimate x0.95), my best 1 hour power in reality last year was 233 watts.

    There are some suggestions for estimating FTP here from your existing power data, although ideally you'd want to do an actual test to see what the result looks like.

    http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articl...old-power.aspx

    Heart rate is a measure that can vary wildly and often be unreliable. If you're training and racing hard every week maintaining the same heart rate for the same power output week to week isn't always the case. My heart rate after a few consecutive weeks riding drops like a stone, even if my power output is still good or improving.

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    Accurately estimating FTP is difficult. Even a 1hr full out effort has flaws, pretty hard to keep your focus for an hour.

    So at best FTP is going be guess. Being super accurate with your FTP isn't really that important anyways.

    I would look at the tail end of any intervals longer then 6 minutes. IE suppose you are doing 4x8 minutes @best effort with 4 minutes recovery. Look at the last 3 minutes of the last two reps. Those values are probably pretty close to your FTP, probably a little bit over but close.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post
    My apologies if I misunderstood. I will point out that testing = training and a hard 20 minute testing effort could simply be treated as an intense interval day.
    Sorry, no issue I appreciate your comments. Another question: As per the standard 220 - Age formula my max HR should be 188 and with some other formulas I found it should be 189 or 187. However during all my training and racing I never went above 183 (while my Threshold HR is 173). Does that mean that 188 is NOT my max or I simply did not push hard enough? (I do not think I can push harder though)

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    Quote Originally Posted by larsd View Post
    Sorry, no issue I appreciate your comments. Another question: As per the standard 220 - Age formula my max HR should be 188 and with some other formulas I found it should be 189 or 187. However during all my training and racing I never went above 183 (while my Threshold HR is 173). Does that mean that 188 is NOT my max or I simply did not push hard enough? (I do not think I can push harder though)
    The 220 - age formula is only an estimate. It's hardly precise as max. HR varies from individual to individual. It sounds like 183 might be closer. By the way, 183 is still pretty close to what the formula says. I've heard much bigger differences than that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WR304 View Post

    The 8 minute Carmichael field test result, as used in the Time Crunched Cyclist book, isn't the same thing as FTP (Functional Threshold Power, defined as your best 1 hour time trial power) and used in the Training and Racing with a Powermeter book. They give differing results for a different set of training zones according to which book you're using. The CTS field test consists of two 8 minute efforts and you take the power from the highest one. You then use that highest figure itself (not the highest figure multiplied by 90% ) to calculate the different zones:

    http://trainright.com/assets/downloa...ptions2010.pdf

    Last year for example my best 8 minute power was 298 watts whilst my best 20 minutes was 281 watts (267 watts FTP estimate x0.95), my best 1 hour power in reality last year was 233 watts.

    My apologies: I mis-quoted field test

    Thanks for link
    Per link you provided, under 'workout name':
    "STEADY STATE Increased power at lactate threshold 8690%" (of CTS Field Test)
    I would have thought this was a "Lactate Threshold" training zone.

    "In my experience, FTP is rarely as high as 95% of 20-minute maximal power. 88-93% is not an uncommon range." Alex Simmons
    Alex's Cycle Blog: The seven deadly sins
    Thanks to TapewormWW for link

    FTP and LT as I heard a coach describe (rough translation). "FTP is a fixed number people use based on a 'PR', that may be reached once in a year for example, while ACTUAL LT varies from day to day, based on training load, etc."

    WR - point being, I don't think 8 min test all that accurate (someone could have a lot stronger 5m power than 20m), but then again not many people are able to put down and concentrate for 60m either. Either way, all you are trying to do is establish some type of training zones.

    peace

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    That's why FTP is always an estimate and you should'nt bother with it that much with regard to precision. FTP is actually your best average power output for a 40km TT which lasts 50 to 60 minutes.

    Like you said, what people consider their FTP varies from day to day, which is why one should listen to his body and adjust workout accordingly. I find people often fall way too much in the FTP estimation puzzle and zones restrictions.

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    Wr304 : Last year for example my best 8 minute power was 298 watts whilst my best 20 minutes was 281 watts (267 watts FTP estimate x0.95), my best 1 hour power in reality last year was 233 watts.

    I fully agree about FTP estimates. This year my best numbers were 268W for 20 minutes, which would suggest a 254W FTP. But my FTP was only 244W (0.91 of FTP). I specialize in endurance, so the drop-off is not as large as you. I think the .95 number applies only to highly trained elite athletes. For the rest of us reality is harsher.

    BTW, these numbers were achieved at 147 lbs and I am 51.
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    remember FTP is approximately 50-60 minutes time trial while being fully motivated and with perfect conditions to acheive performance, hence why the numbers are hard to replicate, even when racing.

    If your training prescriptions feel in accordance to your FTP estimattion, then I would say everything is fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devincicx View Post
    remember FTP is approximately 50-60 minutes time trial while being fully motivated and with perfect conditions to acheive performance, hence why the numbers are hard to replicate, even when racing.

    If your training prescriptions feel in accordance to your FTP estimattion, then I would say everything is fine.
    Not to mention measured power differences due to different devices, different calculation methods, changing temperature... ...etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    Being super accurate with your FTP isn't really that important anyways.
    So true. The bulk of our training (80%?) should be in Zone 2. My FTP usually goes from 240 (winter) to 270 (summer) every year. That's a Zone 2 zone from 130ish to 200W. That's a pretty wide range. Hard to not get it right.

    When I'm feeling good I'll hit the upper part, and when my legs are feeling fried i hit lower part of zone.

    Tempo for me is fast fun above 200W. I should have 2 months of solid riding before even trying a threshold ride. So early season, I don't even bother testing, until I can hit a decent zone 2 wattage for a good while (1-1.5 hours at 140-150W, which is difficult the first few rides after a good break from riding).
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    Quote Originally Posted by larsd View Post
    Sorry, no issue I appreciate your comments. Another question: As per the standard 220 - Age formula my max HR should be 188 and with some other formulas I found it should be 189 or 187. However during all my training and racing I never went above 183 (while my Threshold HR is 173). Does that mean that 188 is NOT my max or I simply did not push hard enough? (I do not think I can push harder though)
    As someone stated above, the formulas are at best an estimate, and not very useful for trained athletes.

    I should have a max HR of ~180 per the formula. I saw 192 last week during a hard effort.

    Knowing max HR isn't really important at all if you already know threshold HR.

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    Establish FTP

    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    WR - point being, I don't think 8 min test all that accurate (someone could have a lot stronger 5m power than 20m), but then again not many people are able to put down and concentrate for 60m either. Either way, all you are trying to do is establish some type of training zones.

    peace
    The main thing I was trying to work out was why you'd mention the CTS field test. I think it's best to try and keep the different tests and zones from different books or methods seperate for clarity. It can get very confusing very fast if you begin mixing and matching multiple sources interchangeably.

    The 8 minute CTS field test, so long as it's done in the same way each time, should still be a fair enough method for extrapolating training zones at longer durations, although the percentages used will be different to if you began with FTP and calculated Coggan power zones from there. Those different percentages between Carmichael and Coggan power zones are where the confusion can cause issues.

    "FTP can be used to predict someone's power to w/in (on average) +/- 5% from 2 minutes onward:" Andrew Coggan


    Andrew Coggan Power Chart

    http://www.cyclingforums.com/t/49449...obic-endurance

    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    I fully agree about FTP estimates. This year my best numbers were 268W for 20 minutes, which would suggest a 254W FTP. But my FTP was only 244W (0.91 of FTP). I specialize in endurance, so the drop-off is not as large as you. I think the .95 number applies only to highly trained elite athletes. For the rest of us reality is harsher.

    BTW, these numbers were achieved at 147 lbs and I am 51.
    If you look at the Coggan chart above modelling power output at different durations you can see how there is some variation there. Not everyone fits the same exact power curve and there's some guesswork involved, just as with maximum heart rates.

    The big danger with overly focusing on the Training Peaks power profile chart and its emphasis on shorter durations (5 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 20 minutes) is that you can get sucked into "chasing numbers". If you train for a particular test then you tend to get better at that test, sometimes at the expense of other aspects of your training.

    20 minutes is particularly bad for that because it's also used as an estimate of FTP, which is then used for bragging rights. When you read about people doing their staple 2x20 minute intervals all the time I often wonder if they're focusing on 20 minute intervals to get better, or purely to get a higher score on the power profile chart. I'm just as guilty of that as anyone.

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    One more question: When doing the 20 Minute FTP test and there is no current FTP, how to start best? Go full out and try to hold and naturally get slower? Or start slow and go faster as you go and try to hold or go even faster? What would give the most accurate results?

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    Quote Originally Posted by larsd View Post
    One more question: When doing the 20 Minute FTP test and there is no current FTP, how to start best? Go full out and try to hold and naturally get slower? Or start slow and go faster as you go and try to hold or go even faster? What would give the most accurate results?
    You want to go out with a pace that is aggressive but that you can maintain for the entire duration. If anything you would prefer to start slightly slower and then get faster. But, the ideal is to maintain the same effort all the way through.

    That said, I've never been able to keep the same effort all the way through, I usually have a small decline about 80% through.

    Again, the Rubber Glove video from The Sufferfest is made exactly for establishing your FTP. Highly recommended as it keeps your focus up through out the duration.
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