The FTP is the highest power which a cyclist can sustain for one hour. This is only possible with the intensity of a time trial, which is to be sustained for one hour. It takes experience to dose the intensity during the test drive well, which means cycling as constantly as possible and as hard as possible.

There are also shorter tests of 20 or 10 minutes by which the FTP can be determined. Also during these tests the intensity has to be as high as during a time trial. With the power delivered during these shorter tests the FTP can be determined by a simple calculation: Critical power (CP) 20 minutes and Critical power (CP) 10 minutes:

FTP = 0.93 x CP20


FTP = 0.88 x CP10

Repeat the shorter tests more frequently. That is the only way to learn to ride them in a perfect way and to dose them properly. Therefore, the quality of the test continues to improve and create a better picture of the performance at FTP.



  1. warm-up 20 minutes. Intensity: 65% HR max or zone 1.
  2. accelerations: 3 x 1 minute. Cadence > 100 / minute. Pause 1 minute.
  3. 3 minutes easy biking. Intensity: 65% HR max or zone 1.
  4. 3 minutes biking at 110-120% of the estimated FTP.
  5. 10 minutes by bike. Intensity: 65% HR max or zone 1.
  6. 20-minute time trial. So fast and constant as possible.
  7. 20 minutes cooling down.

The average HR, during the short time trials, can also be converted to the HR at the deflection point and to the HR max.

Test regularly and at least once a month. Especially the shorter tests of 10 and 20 minutes can easily be incorporated into the training. Thus one gets a good impression about the progress of the condition and can, if necessary, adjust the training program. Do not assume that a single test immediately provides the correct information. It takes some time, learning to drive the time trial in a proper way. That means as intensely and as constantly as possible. After this learning process the test results are an ideal starting point for a perfect training program.

The tests must always be performed under similar conditions. Always on the same course, the same bike, same time of day and as much as possible under similar weather conditions. It is also important that the rider in a good physical condition starts the test. Take care of a good night’s sleep the night before the test. Test not too soon after a tough workout or race, from which one has not yet fully recovered.

The data of the FTP test are mainly used by cyclists who train with a power meter. However, the test can also be done with only a heart rate monitor in whom the HF, the average speed, and the distance is recorded. By comparing these data in time with one another one can objectively determine  to what extent the previous training period has been effective.

Time trial is a specialty.