FTP Training In Cycling
FTP Training in cycling – When it comes to cycling, one factor above all others gives the largest indication of the level of a rider’s overall fitness, and that’s their FTP or functional threshold power. FTP is a term employed in cycling that defines the maximum power a rider can sustain for one hour. Riders will often perform a 20-minute functional threshold power test where the average power is multiplied by 0.95 to calculate FTP. This figure sets the bar for all FTP training sessions a rider undertakes along with establishing power zones for all seven specific areas of training; Recovery, endurance, tempo, sweet spot, threshold, VO2 & anaerobic.
FTP is directly related to Blood lactate threshold (LT) which is the point at which lactate starts occurring in the blood. This occurrence is what’s commonly known as ‘The Burn’ during hard efforts. Push yourself past this point and you won’t last for long.
Like most athletic abilities, a cyclists FTP can be improved upon with specific FTP training workouts. There are three main methods of training riders carry out to improve their FTP values namely, Sub-threshold/Sweet Spot Work, Threshold Climbing Work and Flat Land FTP Work. This type of training is also ideal to carry out on an indoor turbo trainer. For effective FTP training, it is important to have a power meter.
FTP Training Workouts
- Sub-Threshold/Sweet Spot Work: The ‘sweet spot’ is a state of balanced quantities of intensity and volume. You need to ride at 83 to 97 percent of your FTP to be in your sweet spot zone. Carrying out long intervals in this zone will increase your FTP over time without stressing your muscles as much as threshold work, meaning you can do these types of workouts more often. Another great benefit of sweet spot training is that it improves aerobic efficiency greatly by increasing glycogen storage capacity along with fat utilization. In this workout, begin with a 3x8minute ride at your sweet spot with a 4-minute easy spin after each interval. Upgrade to riding 3x10minute intervals at your sweet spot with a 5-minute easy spin between each interval. Work up to being able to perform a 2x 20-minute interval with a 5-minute recovery between.
- Threshold Climbing Work: Here you will have to ride sustainable efforts at 100 percent FTP. These workouts can be tough uncomfortable affairs so make sure you’re in the right frame of mind before starting. Each workout lasts for only 60 minutes but remember, it is quality over quantity you’re looking for here, try your hardest to fully complete each interval to get the maximum benefit. In this workout, begin with 3×10 minute intervals riding at 100 percent FTP with 5 minutes easy spinning between intervals. Once you can nail the ten-minute intervals upgrade to riding 3×15 minute intervals at 100 percent of FTP with 5 minutes easy spinning between intervals. Work your way up to completing a 2×20 minute interval session at 100 percent FTP with 5 minutes easy spinning between each interval.
- Flat Land FTP training Work: without doubt flat land riding presents the easiest terrain for riders to train on. However, it’s also one that many riders don’t take advantage of fully. Flat land work its great for combining FTP and cadence work together. On hilly terrain, your cadence will be dictated to you somewhat by the gradient you’re riding, but on the flat, you’re fully in control. In this workout any of the workout routines above can be employed here, however, a 95+ rpm cadence should be applied.
Try to add in two of these FTP training workouts weekly to your normal riding schedule and you should soon start reaping the benefits and see an increase in FTP. And remember, ‘determination almost always trumps talent’ so get to work!
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