How to Increase Your Cycling Threshold Power (FTP)

by | Jun 19, 2024 | Training

If you’re on a quest to elevate your cycling performance, you’ve likely heard the term “Functional Threshold Power” (FTP) thrown around and wondered how you can increase it. This post will give you a quick definition of FTP, help you understand why you should care about it and guidelines for what a good FTP focused training plan would include.

What is Functional Threshold Power (FTP)?

We have a bigger post called ‘What is FTP and How to Set it‘ if you want to go deep on the theory. Since hte important thing is to get out and start training, we will cover it quickly here. Your Functional Threshold Power is the highest power output you can sustain for around an hour of all-out steady effort.  When you increase your FTP it means you can move faster without going into ‘the red zone’ and that your endurance pace will generally be faster. Mountain bikers may find their lap times or average speeds start coming up while road riders may notice they can stay in a group or that they can upgrade their group or category.

Follow our 8 week FTP Boost Training Plan to incorporate all of these concepts automatically into your training

The Consummate Athlete Approach to Elevating Your FTP

1. Structured Intervals for Specific Gains – Follow a plan

Random rides won’t cut it. Structure your training with purposeful intervals. We like to vary the workouts during the week to include shorter 5-10 minute efforts at or just above threshold and then longer (usually weekend) sweet spot efforts below threshold but held for longer durations (15-60min).  If you are new to sprinting or really short efforts it can be helpful to include some of those in the warmups or do a block of sprint or VO2 efforts prior  to focusing on threshold to help train that system and, most importantly, develop the skills and coordination to pedal hard at high outputs before working at threshold or ‘moderate’ loads and speeds.

2. Consistent Endurance – Don’t just go hard (or medium)

While threshold gets lots of attention the benefits consistent rides (even short ones) and a few longer rides 90+minutes each week are one of the biggest gaps in most programs. So if you aren’t drawn to threshold intervals or you have been trying to do hard intervals for a few months (or longer!) try reducing the intensity and focusing on steady endurance.

3. Mindset – reduce the stakes and expectations, focus on feeling

While its popular to debate the nuances of threshold training, the block for most athletes is mental. There is a lot that we put into the idea of threshold, hard, max, race pace and other associated terms and situations. Think of threshold training not as a test to rule them all ( or as ‘precious’ as we discuss in this post) but rather as a opportunity to practice sitting with discomfort. This is learning to put your hand in the fire and sitting with discomfort and using tactics like positive self talk ( You can do this, keep going!)  and focus-refocus ( what’s next rather than ‘I suck’ , why don’t I stop).  Start easier than you think both in terms of the threshold settings and zones and also in your expectations. If you think you can do 2 x 20 min at 200 watts , challenge yourself to ONLY do 175 watts this week and then come back soon and do a little more next time.  Regardless of power output on a given day focus on how you feel and sitting in discomfort more than breaking your personal best every time you train.

Measuring Progress and Setting Specific Goals

This post is about increasing threshold so if that is your goal then you will need to ‘prove’ the threshold at some point. We tend to take the approach of beating peak powers or time trial times (e.g. 40k TT) rather than setting goals to increase threshold since FTP can be modeled now and is complicated and contentious to pinpoint. All that to say, track your progress, regularly using a structured protocol, such as a 20-30 minute time trial. As your FTP improves, adjust your training zones accordingly, if not conservatively (e.g. lower).

Final Thoughts

Improving your cycling Functional Threshold Power is a journey that requires dedication, strategy, and a dash of grit. By adopting a Consummate Athlete’s approach you can work to achieve your goal of increasing cycling threshold power while also enjoying the training process.

Follow our 8 week FTP Boost Training Plan to incorporate all of these concepts automatically into your training


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