FTP short test - confusing interval numbers

Noob here. I am running a new Neo 2T and Zwift on Android 12.x.

I completed the 45 minute FTP short test. After the initial warm up, there were several intervals of 5 minutes each, with each interval specifying “ride at 5 watts for 5 minutes”. I naively tried to keep the power low, to keep Zwift from warning “reduce power”. I averaged about 20W or so during that pointless section.

Finally, the “real” FTP test began: ride at the highest power I could maintain for 20 minutes. Then came the cool down for five minutes. The companion app shows that I produced 82W average with 245W max. I also “won” two weird badges: one for breaking 30 mph and one for breaking 40 mph. Maybe those were really awarded for my Neo 2T, since it will simulate downhill by making the rotor spin.

The weird 5-watt 5-minute intervals can’t be correct. What caused this?

possibly it just had your FTP set ingame as something insanely low since you hadn’t performed an FTP test before, it will update automatically as you improve and the workout intervals will scale appropriately from now on

Yes I wondered about that FTP setting. I presumed that it would be automatically set after the test was complete, to show how I’d performed. I guess it’s for the user to impose a goal.

No the test will set the FTP value IF you exceed your past FTP.

That 5-min effort should be all-out. If it isn’t, the 20-min effort won’t be accurate enough to determine FTP.

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At the least, I “won” two weird badges: one for breaking 30 mph and one for breaking 40 mph. :roll_eyes:

As Gerrie mentioned, Zwift will only update the FTP in your profile if the value you record during the test exceeds your current value (i.e. FTP = 95% of the power recorded during 20’ free-ride portion of the test workout).

If the value of 125 W shown on the graph is your current FTP (?), then you would need to ride for 20’ at a power in excess of 132 W for Zwift to record an FTP increase. Might I suggest you repeat the test (when you’re fully rested) and maybe change the FTP value in your profile to 100W before you start. I think that might give you a more representative result for your current FTP.

I’m not too sure about Zwift’s instruction to “ride at 5 watts for 5 minutes”; that doesn’t seem right for any part of this test (see Zwift workouts: FTP Tests » FTP Test (shorter) | What's on Zwift?)?

prolly just cos going downhill at some point

Ben’s comment brings up another important point. You might find it easier to do this workout on a flat course; I’d recommend Tempus Fugit in Watopia. Why?

Well, the 20’ free ride is supposed to be a steady-state test where you try to maintain a fairly constant power output throughout. For that, it’s a good idea to know what gear & cadence is going to work best for you beforehand (so that you can concentrate on hitting your power target from the start and not be fiddling around trying to find an appropriate gear etc).

It’s a lot easier to maintain a constant power output if the gradient isn’t changing much during the 20’ free ride. Good luck (these kind of tests can take a few attempts until you’re happy with your performance).


The free ride block do not simulate the terrain, so you can do this down the Alpe if you feel like it. You need to adjust the resistance using the Companion app.

Mentally it feel better having a flat or slight up hill.

Thank you all for the tips. I wondered why the resistance on my fancy trainer was not changing. I’m still in free mode, so no terrain sim yet.