What Is FTP and How Can It Improve Your Workout

What Is FTP and How Can It Improve Your Workout

Simply choosing between an easy, intermediate, and hard workout can be a lot tougher to decide when everyone’s body fitness is built so differently. That’s where Functional Threshold Power (FTP) comes in!

Updated on February 28, 2024 by Joash Guevarra

When it comes to building a killer exercise that truly works you out, it can be quite difficult to determine how hard you really need to go. This is because our body is shaped by individual lifestyle choices and adapts to the physical activity (and inactivity) that we exert upon it. That means simply choosing between an easy, intermediate, and hard workout can be a lot tougher to decide when everyone’s body fitness is built so differently. That’s where Functional Threshold Power (FTP) comes in!

How Does FTP Work?

FTP is traditionally used in competitive sports to determine the theoretical maximum power a rider can sustain for one hour; this is useful in predicting the precise pedal power a rider has down to the wattage. The results can then be used to ramp up training effectiveness and intensity in a highly personalised manner.

FTP is such an effective measuring stick for training intensity that it has rapidly become the must-have smart feature among exercise bikes on the market today—and one of the reasons why our recently released smart bike comes with FTP assessment technologically baked in!

AI Gym App Power Zone

The RENPHO AI Smart Bike uses FTP to evaluate an individual’s fitness level and then personalise courses and challenges that align to the tolerance threshold of each rider. The core purpose is to push people to their limits without breaking their will to succeed; this feature can be found by accessing Cycling Power Test in the AI Gym app.

How to Prepare for an FTP Test?

It may sound like a daunting task, but FTP is nothing to fear. Just know that you’re guaranteed break a sweat, so it’s best to dress in comfy clothes and warm-up in preparation for an intense session.

The FTP test will last 10 to 15 minutes and the difficulty will increase every minute until you can no longer pedal any more. Various courses in the RENPHO AI Smart Bike AI Gym app are then automatically calibrated to your FTP result, so it is recommended to cycle as long as possible in order for each training course to be calibrated correctly to your fitness level.

What Happens During an FTP Test?

The benefits of an FTP test in assessing cycling fitness and customising training plans are numerous. It provides a clear benchmark for measuring improvements in fitness over time and helps cyclists understand their strengths and weaknesses. This allows for the customisation of training courses to focus on areas that need improvement, leading to more efficient and effective training.

Some key advantages of an FTP test include improved overall fitness, increased cycling efficiency, and the ability to track progress and set specific goals. By regularly conducting FTP tests and adjusting training based on the results, cyclists can make significant strides in their performance and achieve their personal fitness goals.

What if You Get Too Tired to Pedal After 10 or 15 minutes?

The FTP test ends when the rider can no longer pedal anymore. The test is designed to push the fitness of each rider by increasing the pedal resistance each minute until the rider can no longer continue. This is intended to stress the body and assess how effective it is at withstanding fatigue by adapting to dramatic leaps in weight resistance.

We use FTP to accurately understand a person’s fitness threshold so that the AI courses can learn and adjust to your upper limit without ever pushing you beyond what cannot be achieved. Our belief is that the most effective workout regime is not the one that breaks you and leaves you tired for days. Instead, the aim is to provide a reasonable challenge that allows your body to recover faster from fatigue and adapt to a new threshold of strength that is much higher than before.

AI Gym App Power Courses

Should You Take Multiple FTP Tests to Get an Accurate Reading?

One FTP test is enough to calibrate the courses found within the AI Gym app. We do however recommend performing a new FTP test every 4-6 weeks to check your power increase and benchmark the leaps in improvement made after attempting several AI personalised courses.

What Benefits Does an FTP Test Give You?

An FTP test, or Functional Threshold Power test, is a valuable tool for cyclists looking to improve their performance. By establishing your FTP, you can personalise your training to match your specific fitness level and goals. This allows for more efficient and effective workouts, ultimately leading to improved performance on the bike.

Knowing your FTP provides valuable context for your rides, allowing you to tailor your training to your individual strengths and weaknesses. It also enables you to scale your workouts appropriately, ensuring that you are challenging yourself without overtraining or undertraining. Additionally, it can be used to create pacing plans for endurance events, helping you to maintain an optimal effort level throughout the race.

By using your FTP to tailor your training, you can work towards specific fitness goals, whether it's improving your overall power output, increasing your endurance, or becoming more competitive in races. This personalised approach to training can lead to significant improvements in performance and make your time on the bike more enjoyable and rewarding. Overall, an FTP test provides a solid foundation for building a successful and sustainable training plan.

How to Improve Your FTP?

To improve your FTP, it is essential to incorporate structured training plans that include specific intervals at or above FTP, longer intervals, and sweetspot training. These types of workouts are designed to push your limits and increase your functional threshold power over time. Utilizing cycling platforms that offer dedicated training programs can help tailor workouts to your specific ability and effectively increase your FTP through structured intervals. These platforms often provide a variety of workouts and plans to choose from, allowing for a personalized approach to training.

In addition to specific interval training, it is important to incorporate longer-duration, lower-intensity rides into your training approach. These types of rides can bring about a range of aerobic adaptations without a great deal of physiological stress, ultimately helping to improve your FTP. By incorporating a variety of training methods and utilizing cycling platforms, you can effectively increase your FTP and become a stronger, more efficient cyclist.

How Often Should Your FTP be Tested?

Cyclists should re-test their FTP (functional threshold power) every 4 to 6 weeks to ensure accurate and up-to-date training data. However, factors such as fatigue, hydration, and heat can affect FTP results, so it's essential to consider these when scheduling re-tests. 

Is a Personalised FTP Workout Suitable for You?

The RENPHO AI Smart Bike embraces the philosophy of scientific fitness which is why it uses FTP to customise the difficulty of training courses to each rider’s physical performance. This differs from traditional exercise bikes on the market which provide a variety of training resistance difficulty levels without taking the individual rider’s fitness into consideration. Therefore, FTP personalised workouts are effective and suitable for those above the age of 14 and should be an option to consider when looking for an active cardio workout from home.