WHY TAKE AN FTP TEST
It is crucial to achieve an accurate FTP "score" as this will decide the difficulty of every bike session to come. You will repeat this test 4 weeks into the program to ensure that your training continues to adapt to your fitness level as it improves.
HOw it works
There are many ways to accomplish an FTP Test. In fact, there may already be an FTP test preloaded into your cycling computer (or if you use a software like TrainerRoad or Zwift). If that is the case feel free to use that protocol, or follow the instructions below. However, it should be noted that I am a huge fan of the "Ramp Test" style of testing. It seems to take less time over all, and feel just a little bit less brutal than the standard 20min test. If your software gives you multiple options, select the “Ramp Test”.
**It should also be noted that you should be adequately rested prior to attempting this assessment. Give yourself a day or two of recovery before the attempt.
Completing the FTP Test
If you have taken an FTP (Functional Threshold Power) test in the past I would recommend starting at around 50% of your previous FTP. If this is your first FTP Test I would recommend starting at a wattage of around 50-75 watts.
You will ride at 50% FTP for 5 minutes, then increase by 20 watts every minute. Continue this increase of 20 watts per minute until you cannot pedal any more.
BUT, don't give up early, every minute counts, so go deep and try hard. At the end of the assessment you will take the highest wattage you held for 1 minute and multiply that by .75 to learn your FTP.
Example: highest wattage held for 1minute = 400watts
400 x .75 = 300 watts.
Upon completion of your assessment be sure to update your TrainingPeaks power zones as well as the FTP in whatever training software you are using i.e. Zwift, Wahoo computer, Garmin computer, etc.