How To Increase FTP By 50 Watts – A Guide For All Cyclists
If you are cycling regularly and training with power, most likely you are trying to increase your FTP (Functional Threshold Prower).
The best way to improve your threshold power is by developing your aerobic energy system.
Since FTP is a measurement of aerobic fitness, by improving your aerobic energy system, you can increase your FTP.
This article gives you a complete guide on how to increase FTP by 50 watts. It is suitable for anyone with an FTP of 250 watts or less.
– What is FTP?
– How to measure FTP?
– Ways to increase FTP through training
– How to increase FTP by 50 Watts?
What Is FTP? (Function Threshold Power)
Functional threshold power (FTP) is the highest average power (watts) a cyclist can maintain for one hour. This value (watts) provides the rider with a baseline for their training. Because of this, it is an important number to know how to gauge fitness levels and appropriate training intensities.
To measure your FTP, you will need to purchase a power meter. Power meters come in many models and can be located on the cranks, in the crank axle, in the pedals, and the hub. You will also need a cycling head unit, so the power meter can transfer the numbers to your computer so you can view them while riding.
Once you have a power meter and a cycling head unit or watch, you can then plan on doing an FTP test.
How to Measure Your FTP?
There are multiple ways to measure your Functional Threshold Power (FTP).
If you already own a power meter and have been riding with one for at least a month, you can estimate your FTP by finding your best 20-minute power value and taking 95% of that number. You can also estimate your FTP by your recent best 60-minute power output (don’t multiply the number by 95%).
While both results are not the most accurate ( a lot depends on the intensity of your riding the past month), they can be used as a quick start until you can do a test.
The most common way to measure your FTP is through a 20-minute test. A 20-minute FTP test includes a 5-minute full-out effort, followed by a 10-minute recovery and a 20-minute all-out effort. You then take 95% of the 20-minute average power, which will give you your estimated Functional Threshold Power (FTP).
20-Minute FTP Test
20-30 minutes of easy riding to warm-up
4 x 1 minute at 100rpm with 1-minute recovery
5 minutes recovery at a low intensity
5 minutes almost at 95% effort (close to maximum effort)
10 minutes of recovery at a low-intensity effort.
20-minute all-out effort
10-15 minutes recovery at a low to moderate intensity.
Last but not least is the 60-minute test. The 60-minute test requires you to perform 1 hour of riding at maximum effort.
However, the 60-minute test isn’t used that often, as many beginners and even amateurs struggle to concentrate for that period of time under fatigue. Many beginners don’t have the fitness to push their bodies to exhaustion over one hour either.
How To Increase FTP By 50 Watts
There are numerous ways to increase your FTP through training. The most important way is to strengthen your aerobic energy system. Because FTP is a measurement of your aerobic fitness, it means you will need to do training that improves your aerobic capacity and muscular endurance.
To do this, you will first need to focus on your aerobic base fitness if you haven’t already done so.
Aerobic base fitness is achieved by spending a period of time (for example 12 weeks) building up your mileage (weekly volume). By doing this, you will increase the number of capillaries and increase the strength of your mitochondria. It will also strengthen the heart, improve muscular endurance and improve fat metabolism.
In general, the more base fitness you can develop, the higher you will be able to build your functional threshold power.
Once you have spent some time building your aerobic base (base training, build phase), you can start moving on to more specific workouts.
The next block of training should involve building your muscular endurance and strength even more. This is done by adding low cadence workouts a few times a week. This period should last around eight weeks and slowly progress the duration and intensity of the low cadence intervals.
Example of a low cadence workout
– Warm-up for 10-15 minutes
– 4×1 minute @ 90-95% of your threshold power
– 5 minutes recovery (under 55% FTP)
– 5 x 5 minutes at 85-92% FTP and 50-60 rpm
– 1-2 minutes recovery (under 55% FTP) between each 5 minutes
– 10 minutes warm down
Once you have completed a period of low cadence workouts, you can then move into doing threshold work. Your threshold work should begin at around 92% of your FTP and progress up to 100% of your threshold. These intervals should increase in duration before moving up in intensity. For example:
4 x 5 minutes at 91-93%
3 x 10 minutes at 91-93%
2 x 20 minutes at 91-93%
3 x 15 minutes at 91-93%
4 x 5 minutes at 93-95%
3 x 10 minutes at 93-95%
2 x 20 minutes at 93-95%
3 x 15 minutes at 93-95%
4 x 5 minutes at 95-97%
3 x 10 minutes at 95-97%
2 x 20 minutes at 95-97%
3 x 15 minutes at 95-97%
4 x 5 minutes at 98-100%
3 x 10 minutes at 98-100%
2 x 20 minutes at 98-100%
3 x 15 minutes at 98-100%
Each week try to include two dedicated threshold sessions in your training.
Once you have finished a period of threshold training, you can then start improving your V02 max. This is done by implementing workouts at 106-120% of your functional threshold. For example: four sets of six-minute intervals at 106% FTP, 8×15-second efforts at 125% FTP or 6×2-minute repeats at 120% FTP.
Just like threshold workouts, the duration and intensity should be increased each week. This helps to prevent the body from adapting to the training.
Final Notes – How To Increase Ftp By 50 Watts
Once you have finished your V02 max block of training, you can either implement workouts that focus on building your anaerobic capacity (30 seconds to 3-minute workouts at >121% FTP).
However, you can also do a block of racing on Zwift 3 times per week (for three weeks) before spending another three weeks building your anaerobic capacity.
Make sure every 3 to 4 weeks you place a recovery week into your training. It is also a good time to test your FTP to make sure you are making progress. By following this basic guide, it should give you some tips on how to increase FTP by 50 watts.