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How good is my FTP?

Updated: Apr 11




How Good is my FTP?


Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is a key metric in cycling, often used as a benchmark to gauge an athlete's fitness and performance. But how do you know if your FTP is good or bad? Let's dive into the world of cycling statistics to understand what constitutes a strong FTP and how you can interpret your results.


Understanding FTP


FTP is the highest average power output a cyclist can sustain for one hour without fatiguing excessively. It's typically measured in watts and serves as a reference point for setting training zones and pacing efforts during races and training sessions.


Contextualizing FTP


Assessing whether your FTP is good or bad requires context. Factors such as age, gender, training history, and genetics influence FTP levels. Therefore, comparing your FTP to others may not provide an accurate assessment of your performance. Instead, focus on your own progression over time and how well your FTP aligns with your cycling goals.


How good is my FTP? Statistical Benchmarks


While individual variation exists, statistical benchmarks can provide general guidance on FTP levels across different categories of cyclists. Here's a rough breakdown based on data from various sources:


  • Beginner/Recreational Cyclists: FTP around 1.5-2.5 watts per kilogram (W/kg). These cyclists are relatively new to structured training and may have limited cycling experience.

  • Intermediate Cyclists: FTP ranging from 2.5-3.5 W/kg. This group includes cyclists who have been training consistently for several months to a few years and are making steady progress.

  • Advanced/Competitive Cyclists: FTP exceeding 3.5 W/kg. These cyclists often have years of training under their belts, follow structured training plans, and compete in races.

  • Elite/Professional Cyclists: FTP upwards of 5 W/kg or higher. These athletes represent the pinnacle of cycling performance and possess exceptional physiological capabilities.


Below is a practical chart illustrating typical power figures for different categories of cyclists in real-world racing. The "FT" column represents your FTP number. This chart was initially devised by Andy Coggan.


The figures are measured in watts per kilogram, necessitating knowledge of your weight to compute your FTP in w/kg.


For instance, if you weigh 75kg and possess an FTP of 250W, your FTP w/kg would be calculated as 250/75 = 3.33.


How good is MY FTP Chart


Interpreting Your FTP


When evaluating your FTP, consider the following factors:


  • Progression Over Time: Focus on improving your FTP relative to your own baseline rather than comparing it to others. Consistent training and smart progression are key to long-term improvement.

  • Training Zones: Use your FTP to establish training zones tailored to your individual physiology. These zones help optimize training intensity and ensure you're targeting the appropriate energy systems during workouts.

  • Performance Goals: Align your FTP goals with your cycling objectives. Whether you're aiming to complete a century ride, compete in races, or simply enjoy riding, your FTP should support your specific goals.

Conclusion


Ultimately, whether your FTP is good or bad depends on your personal context and goals. While statistical benchmarks provide useful reference points, they don't tell the whole story. Focus on improving your FTP over time through consistent training, proper recovery, and smart goal setting. By understanding the nuances of FTP and its role in cycling performance, you can continue to push your limits and en


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