We’ve been long supporters of the FTP.
For those new to the term – it stands for Functional Threshold Power (FTP) – in a nutshell, you ride as hard as you can for 20 minutes measuring your power output and heart rate and use the figures generated to structure your subsequent workouts.
Right here in the HURTBOX studio, our machines actually use this data (from your FTP) to structure your experience. You come in, ride a session and the whole tie our clever machines will ensure you are always riding at the correct level for you based on your FTP score.
However, is there a new kid on the block?
Sufferfest have recently been promoting the benefits of their 4DP which stands for Four Dimensional Power.
Here’s what they say: “FTP only measures sustained aerobic ability and is a poor predictor of how an athlete produces power above threshold. It doesn’t tell you how well someone can sprint, deliver repeated attacks, tackle punchy climbs or launch a solo breakaway”
All sounds good so far.
I’ll admit, with a one off 20 minute effort, you can’t measure how well someone can sprint, attack, tackle a climb or launch a solo breakaway.
But I am going to go a step further – the vast majority of the cyclists we work with in the studio don’t NEED this.
Our clientele are triathletes, sportive riders, endurance riders and Time Triallists. This specific type of rider requires none of the pre stated abilities.
In no triathlon have I ever had to launch into an attack, tackle a punchy climb or enter into a solo breakaway.
Nor in a Time Trial, where personally for me, it’s about sitting at numbers very close to FTP throughout and holding that level and trying to avoid overcooking things.
And in a sportive, well, I’d argue if you are attacking there or attempting a solo breakaway then you are missing the point of a sportive which isn’t supposed to be about the time, but more the achievement in covering the distance (although I’m sure many agree that the time does matter…)
So for my initial question – is FTP dead?
Heck no, although it really does depend on what you are currently training for. If you are solely training to become a Cat 1/2 or elite cyclist – you might want to look into 4DP as your method of analysis, but for everyone else, I’d ignore the marketing hype, ride more and stick to your reliable FTP test. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The 20 minute duration might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but in most if not all endurance cycling events, its still a very useful number to use.
On the subject of FTP tests, we are hosting our own in the HURTBOX studio, these are free to members of HURTBOX and non members can come and participate for £15.
With this you’ll not only get to enjoy the atmosphere that you can only get at HURTBOX, but you’ll also receive your test results via email.
All bookings for these are available via the Schedule Button (also on the top of this page) and the schedule for the FTP dates will look like this:
Tuesday 6th February: 1900-2000
Wednesday 7th February: 0930-1030, 2030-2130
Thursday 8th February: 0630-0730, 1730-1830
Friday 9th February: 1900-2000