WHAT IS FTP?
SHOULD I COMPLETE AN FTP ASSESSMENT TO START THE PROGRAM?
- You have never assessed or don’t know what your FTP is now
- It has been a long time (more than 4 months) from your prior assessment
- You have found initial sessions very easy or extremely challenging (to the point of failure)
- You are keen to dial in specific training intensity and would love to set yourself up for success
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I ASSESS?
WHEN TO ASSESS (ON JOINING THE PROGRAM)
HOW TO ASSESS
If you have a smart trainer or power meter:
- Locate the FTP Assessment in the On-Demand Library and click "Start Workout"
- IMPORTANT NOTE: THE FTP TEST IS IN ERG MODE. If you have a smart trainer with resistance control enabled, you WILL NOT need to shift gears during this session. This is the ONLY session in our library that is built in ERG mode. (If you have a basic trainer + power meter you will still shift gears as usual.)
If you have a spin bike that doesn't connect to the platform, but has a built-in FTP/threshold test feature and watts readout (e.g. Peloton):
- You can use your bike's built-in test to get a threshold value. Then, use the below calculations to get the zones we use in our training (note these may be different from other zone formats, including Peloton's 7-zone system):
- Zone 1: 30-55% FTP
- Zone 2: 56-75% FTP
- Zone 3: 76-90% FTP
- Zone 4: 91-105% FTP
- Zone 5: 106% FTP or higher
- You may also find this guidance helpful on estimating your zones based on effort.
If you have a basic spin bike or setup that doesn't record watts:
- That's OK! You will simply ride along by effort (using the guidance below), and match your leg speed to the instructor onscreen to ensure you're riding at the prescribed cadence.
Riding based on RPE Zone
Whether you know your FTP or not, it's important to ensure that you are training at the correct zone based on effort. Even if you do know your FTP, there may be days when your power reads Zone 3 but your effort feels like Zone 5 -- and on those days, you may want to moderate effort to bring your power output more in line with prescribed effort. And if you don't have a way to measure power, dialing in your training based on effort is still a powerful way to ensure you are working out at the right intensity and making progress in your training. The coaching in your bike sessions will always describe the zone and effort to execute each interval at, and you should follow this for optimal workout execution.
When we talk about perceived effort (RPE) in training zones, this is what we mean:
Z1: EASY. Blood is moving without big effort. This effort is utilized in warm up and recuperation sessions and is below an effort you would typically deploy in racing.
Z2: SMOOTH A conversational effort in which you can sustain your effort for extended periods without accumulation of fatigue or that leaves a residual effect the day following (such as soreness). Any global muscular and overall fatigue will be manageable from long periods at this effort. Many athletes maintain an IRONMAN ride at the very upper range of this effort.
Z3: STRONG This effort is sustainable for extended periods but requires real focus to maintain. You would not want to lead a conversation at this effort but are not breathless.
Z4: VERY STRONG This is an effort that allows the maximum amount of work you can sustain, over a set duration, combining your current fitness and good form, but without force. The result is an uncomfortable effort that requires all of your dedicated focus to maintain. This is also called your "steady state" effort. (A great rule of thumb for determining this is the intensity at which you can no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance. If you're struggling to get through a line of the Pledge without dropping words or pausing to take a breath, then you're likely right around your Z4 effort.)
Z5: HARD This effort is one in which high force is added to form and fitness to achieve a very high effort. This effort is not sustainable for more than a couple of minutes at a time, will put you into significant duress, and will result in residual effects from accumulating much time in this effort.