Want to know your combat power? Let me introduce you to FTP

After spending a long time riding road bikes, inevitably, you'll feel the urge to participate in races to test your abilities. Even if you don't enter competitions, you'll still want to break your own records on your regular routes. Imagine having a single number that could quantify your abilities. That's where FTP comes in. It's a magical and crucial figure that can reveal whether you're struggling or leading the pack. Let Bone introduce you to this fascinating number!

Recently, the phrase "everyone trains" has become increasingly common. So what does "training" mean? First, we need to understand what power is. Power is a key output indicator when riding, reflecting the rider's pedaling performance. Typically, power is calculated by multiplying the torque and cadence (P = τ × ω). From this formula, it's clear that increasing power can be achieved by increasing pedaling force or accelerating cadence. Since power reflects the rider's output level, it not only reflects the body's burden but also the rider's athletic ability (the higher the average power, the better the ability). Therefore, power has a wide range of applications in training, race pacing, and cycling ability assessment.

Power meter
"Power meters are becoming increasingly affordable, so why not get one to train?" (Source: TopPeak official website)

FTP, short for Functional Threshold Power, refers to the average power output sustained during a steady one-hour ride with maximal effort. With power meters and smart trainers becoming increasingly affordable and popular, the term FTP has become widely recognized. Since FTP reflects a cyclist's capabilities and their maximum sustainable power output during prolonged rides, it serves as a crucial indicator for power training and intensity zone delineation. FTP is divided into seven different intensity zones based on percentages (see table below), allowing for specific training in aerobic endurance, anaerobic, and sprint capabilities. According to the percentage, FTP is divided into 7 different intensity zones (see table below), allowing for corresponding training in aerobic endurance, anaerobic, and sprint abilities.

Power Zones
Find your FTP to allocate your energy more efficiently!

Before starting power training, the first step is to undergo an FTP test, which is used to develop a training plan. Although the FTP test only requires a long-duration (60-minute) maximal average power effort, maintaining the maximum power output within the testing time is often a challenge. Therefore, shorter and simpler testing methods for FTP have been developed, such as FTP20*0.95: a 5-minute + 20-minute individual timed test, where the maximum average power of the last 20 minutes is multiplied by 0.95 to estimate FTP. For example, if the average power during these 20 minutes is 200W, then FTP would be 200W x 0.95 = 190W. However, for cycling training beginners, it's advisable to directly undergo a 20-minute individual timed test, as poor aerobic base may lead to lower recovery capacity and difficulty in consecutive maximal efforts, which could compromise the reliability of the results.

FTP tests can be conducted outdoors or on indoor trainers. If most of your training occurs outdoors, it's best to conduct the FTP test outdoors as well. Choose a route with even gradients and less traffic. A recommended route during daytime would be the section of Beiyi Highway from the National Museum of History to Helen's Café. Similarly, if most of your training is done on a trainer, it's advisable to conduct the FTP test indoors. However, indoor environments may have poorer heat dissipation, leading to suboptimal power performance due to overheating. Therefore, it's recommended to maintain good ventilation, comfortable temperature, and adequate hydration indoors. For enthusiasts, it's suggested to test FTP separately for both outdoor and indoor training, as using two different FTP values for outdoor and indoor training can be more effective.

Power-related data
Data such as 3-second power and power zones can all be displayed on your cycling computer. Stay tuned for detailed introductions in future articles!
Power-related data
Data such as 3-second power and power zones can all be displayed on your cycling computer. Stay tuned for detailed introductions in future articles!

Indoor training is made easier with the Bone Magnetic Exercise Phone Holder, a great companion for your workouts. Free from the constraints of straps, it offers convenient operation with two usage modes—binding and suction—suitable for various indoor fitness equipment and daily applications. Your phone can be securely fixed or quickly accessed, and even if your phone doesn't have MagSafe functionality, there's no need to worry. With the included magnetic sheet, you can easily add magnetic suction capability, enhancing the convenience of indoor training!

Magnetic Fitness Phone Mount
Magnetic Fitness Phone Mount

In addition to serving as the basis for coaches and cyclists to devise training plans, FTP power training is also widely promoted by cycling software companies like TrainingPeaks and Zwift as a primary training metric. This enables sports enthusiasts to conveniently conduct FTP tests and personalize their training based on the results to improve cycling performance.

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