60 minutes at FTP

FTP tests (all sustained high power output tests) are also a skill. The more you do the test, the better you are at completing it, even if your fitness doesn’t change much. You learn how to better pace it and deal with it mentally. Personally, I would rather just repeatedly hammer up a long climb and skip the tests.

Thanks to everyone who took time to leave useful input.

@MRBaldi_T-ZHR : Yes, I did the full FTP test, not the ramp test. Wanted to get an accurate result.

@Matt_Sammekull : Thanks for the great input & info, I’ll def be looking into this 80/20 thing.

I’m not sure I understand the following statements then:
“For ref, I did the proper FTP test and was given 229.”

“I would explode trying to hold 229 w for even 10 mins. Impossible.”

If you were given 229 in a proper FTP test (a full test) then you shouldn’t have trouble keeping 229W in 10 mins correct?

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One ‘fun’ fact is that Zwift and ZwiftPower don’t take into account your 60 minute effort, even if it’s higher than 95% of your 20 minute effort. For example, in an Alpe de Zwift ride my 20 minute max was 207 W, and my 60 minute max was 201 W. You’d think Zwift would set my FTP to 201 W, but instead it set it to 95% of 207 W = 197 W. Not a huge difference, but still…

Not trying to be “smart” with this comment, but you do realise that the FTP value is calculated from your average power over 20 mins not your max power?

Sorry about the imprecise wording, with “20 minute max” I obviously mean the 20 minute segment with the highest average power. That’s what’s displayed in Zwift and ZwiftPower, right?

Miro, yes you’re absolutely correct.

The thing to remember is that the 20’ effort has to be a continuous one. In your 60’ effort, perhaps you had multiple, short (sub-20’) but very high-wattage efforts followed by periods of recovery at low watts. I’m guessing this could give you a higher overall 60’ wattage than your current FTP without actually increasing your FTP?

It was Alpe du Zwift, so it was a steady grind with very little variation in power. But that’s beside the point: if I can sustain X Watts for 60 minutes, then my FTP should be upgraded to at least X Watts.

You can manually update your FTP if you feel your 60 min power if you feel like that is more representative.

At the risk of hijacking the thread, how does zwift calculate FTP when it manually does it on a ride.

I had a notification after a ride to say it had a new value for my FTP but the value was lower than the average for the whole ride which was over an hour.

been meaning to ask for a while - out of curiosity not complaining or anything.

This is my own opinion form using Zwift for some time. So my assumption is they look for the peak 20 minute and then take 95% of that.


That might make sense - I think my power was pretty steady for the whole ride so my 20 minute max was probably about the average anyway

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@SeattleSauve Yeah, that’s exactly where the confusion started for me. I thought that was the case. But as I’ve found out, that’s a strong “No, that’s not what ‘FTP’ means.”

Yes, my tested FTP is 229. [Full test, not ramp or short test.] If I had to guess max I could hold for 10 mins before the lunch fountain came on, I’d say prob 212 - 215… maaaybe 220, but I doubt it.

Holding 229 for an hr is just insane. No chance in heck.

Thank you again to everyone that has commented, I’ve learned a ton in this thread, and doing some side looking up of some things mentioned here.

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Am I missing something here if you did the full test (20 minute long) and it gave you a FTP of 229 then that would mean you were riding at 241w for 20 minutes?

FTP = 20min power x 0.95


Right, what I’m wondering is if it was somehow manually set to 229 accidentally after the test.

Chris, the FTP test has a 20 minute block, and as Gerrie mentions you would have needed to hold an average of 241W in that block for the test to give you a 229.

So it might be worth re-doing the test and seeing what it says, because if you can’t hold 229 for 10 mins then there is no chance you will get a 229 FTP out of the 20 min FTP test.

In fact, if you held 229 for the full 20 mins of the FTP test you would be given an FTP of 218W.


@Chris1982, - what I would do, and pretty mush what I myself have done, is to perform a ramp test, maybe even a few times over a couple of days. Get an average and then subtract 5-10% from that number. They are easy to do, don’t take much time to do and wont fatigue you too much, neither physically nor mentally.

Ramp tests I did a while ago gave me between a 250 to 260 FTP, and I currently base my workouts on an 240 FTP, and I do the majority of my riding beneath 200W, usually averaging around 180W, no matter for how long the session lasts 60 minutes of three hours. I occasionally do easier rides, at ca 120-160W, for what I call active recovery rides. And those as well, btw, are great for increased fitness.

Not working out at a measured max FTP will in NO WAY make the training inefficient in the long run. Make sure to do what you have to in able to enjoy your riding while also seeing improvements (which is of course what we strive for). But don’t be in a hurry, results WILL come in time.

I’d do Zwift’s “FTP Test (shorter)” to get some kind of confirmation. It’s only 45 mins in total but it does include two short pre-fatigue intervals and a 20’ free ride evaluation :+1:

Just to add if you decide to do a FTP test because you think it is to high then First set it lower I should suggest to 200w.

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Hey Chris,

That was a quote from Cogan’s book, yes.

Without “fatiguing” means that to be able to maintain a steady effort as opposed to an effort with a peak followed by declining power because of fatigue. The latter would still give you an maximal mean power value for the hour but would not be representative of your aerobic capability and probably would be less.

The traditional 20 minute FTP test is preceded by a 5 minute all out, VO2 max effort to remove the aerobic contribution. Often overlooked but omitting this can squew the results especially for people with very good W’ (the capacity to do short above FTP efforts).

Today’s FTP tests are used as proxies for the hour long FTP test. They are derived by observing statistics. They found that for the majority of the tested subjects, 0.95xMMP20 is representative for their FTP. Somebody else came with the 2x8 minute test saying it is good enough too. Then we got the various ramp tests and there are others. Like with all statistics, there are things consider to consider such as the population used for the data and the fact that individual results vary.

If the tests subjects for the data are well trained athletes (which they were at least a few years ago), the conclusion that their 20 minute mmp is directly representative of the 60 minute one my not apply to more casual, less trained athletes. I would suspect that modern platforms like trainer road and zwift should have more data but I am not sure.

The other is the individual can vary form the average of the group. There may be individuals that can sustain above or below the predicted power.

An argument in favour of the shortest tests is that few people can pace themselves well, keep focused and motivated and sustain the pain required for an hour of maximum effort. Therefore, the full hour may not be so representative of the physiological ability and the 20 minute test is a much better alternative.

This argument can the be extended to ramp tests. The population that is using now zwift etc is very different than the more traditional athlete cyclists spending hours and hours on the bike and a very short test sounds a better idea.

Given that almost nobody is doing doing nowadays hour long tests, unless you like 25 mile TTs or enjoy hundreds of velodrome laps probably the 20 minute test is the most golden standard for calculating FTP and will give you comparable values with other people’s FTP.

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Wow, can’t say how much I appreciate all the input. I’ll try to share some info back. Hopefully it can help.

@Gerrie_Delport_ODZ @SeattleSauve Sorry, when I say I did the full test, not short test, I mean the long one that is approx 73 min long. So I think that’s where part of the confusion is coming from.

I thought that was more accurate than the 20 min test. Pacing felt pretty decent. Not perfect, def over-maxed it in the fist couple mins, but smartened up pretty quick, held an OK line, and finished pretty strong. Right? But I could be wrong, could be terrible, and maybe most ppl could hold a much straighter line. [I’m going to try to add a screenshot below, wish me luck!]

Does this look like a test that could have produced a 229 result? The ‘hold the line’ section bounces between about 225 - 245-250 ish. Sorta does to me, but IDK what I’m talking about!

@SeattleSauve Yeah, your note about maybe bumping it accidentally is very possible, but I was suuuuper careful not to. I’m like 99% sure I didn’t do that.

@John_Timer_DIRT Great, thanks so much for confirming, always cool to have the original source info! I understand what you mean, and that makes a lot of sense.

@Matt_Sammekull Thanks again, great info.

Worthy note: I’m pretty much spiced out approaching 160 BPM. Starting on a full tank I can hold 162 - 163 for a few mins, maaaybe 5 - 10 ish. But when the tank is low, 157 - 159 is a hard press to hold, pretty much maxed holding 160 - 161, and 162 - 163 feels to me like the “runaway zone”. I can surge to 170 - 172 for only very short times. So, given the HR in the ‘hold the line’ section at the end, I really couldn’t have done tooooo much more, without lunch fountain action.

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