20-minute FTP Cycling Test

Calculate your training power and heart rate zones​

When you look at your training program, have you ever wondered what the best power or heart rate zone would be for each training session?

As no two athletes are the same, you could benefit greatly from individualising your power or heart rate zones.


What are your individual training zones?


The 20-minute FTP test can help you calculate your optimal cycling training zones so that you get the most out of each training session.

The 20-minute FTP test, also known as the Functional Threshold Power test, is a widely used method for determining an individual’s cycling performance and endurance.

This test provides valuable information that can be used to track fitness levels, set training goals, and monitor progress over time.

Table of Contents

What are the benefits of the 20-minute FTP test?

The benefits of the 20-minute FTP test are numerous.

  • It is a relatively simple and straightforward test.
  • The test requires minimal equipment.
  • The test provides an objective measure of fitness,
  • The test results can be used to compare and track progress over time.

What equipment is needed for a 20-minute FTP test?

The simplest way to perform the 20-minute FTP test is on a stationary trainer like a WattBike in the gym.


The more reliable way to perform the 20-minute FTP test is on your own bike and with a power meter.


The equipment list for your test

  • Your own bike (Road, MTB or TT).
  • An indoor trainer (wind, fluid or mechanical).
  • A heart rate monitor is highly recommended.
  • A power sensor is not crucial but will provide important data.
  • A speedometer is optional but will provide more good data.
  • Water bottles
  • Carbohydrate drink or gel.

The test could be performed outside on a flat or slightly rolling course, but it will not be as accurate as hills and temperature can greatly affect the results.

How to perform the 20-minute FTP test

The protocol of the 20-minute FTP test is well-established.

The cyclist should be well-rested and properly fuelled, as fatigue and lack of proper nutrition can also affect the results.

Additionally, the test should be performed in similar environmental conditions, such as temperature and clothing choice, to ensure consistent results.

Furthermore, following the established protocol is crucial to get the most accurate results and to make the test comparable over time.

The 20-minute Functional Threshold Power test

The methodology of the 20-minute FTP test is relatively simple.

The cyclist will begin by warming up for at least 15 minutes. This warm-up should include a combination of easy pedalling, light stretching, and a few short, high-intensity efforts to get the heart rate up.

Once the warm-up is complete, the cyclist will begin the actual test by pedalling at maximum effort for 20 minutes.

The power output during this 20-minute period is recorded and used to determine the individual’s FTP.


WU: (Warm-Up)

20 mins easy at 80 to 90rpm

1 min  “wind up’s” start at 70rpm and build to 110rpm followed by 1 min easy repeat 3 times

4 mins of easy spinning.


MS: (Main Set)

5 mins at a good solid effort

10 mins easy spinning

20 mins TT effort keeping a controlled, hard but steady pace so that you can complete the last

5 mins with an all-out effort


LD: (Loosen Down)

10 mins easy spinning


  • record your Maximum and Average Heart Rate for the 20 min TT
  • *record your Maximum and Average Power for the 20 min TT
  • **record your Heart Rate, Power and Distance at 5 mins, 10 mins, 15 mins and 20 mins of the 20 min TT.

Your Training Zones

Upon completing the 20-minute FTP test, submit the data requested in the form above.

You will receive your individualised training zones via email within minutes.

Z1 – Warm-Up and Loosen-Down Zones


Z2 – Aerobic Endurance Zone


Z3 – Muscular Endurance Zone


Z4 – Threshold Zone


Z5a – Anaerobic Endurance Zone

  • Z5b – Speed Work
  • Z5c – Force Zone


In conclusion, the 20-minute FTP test is a valuable tool for cycling enthusiasts and athletes, providing an objective measure of fitness levels and endurance.

Its relatively simple methodology, minimal equipment requirements, and ability to track progress over time make it an ideal test for anyone looking to improve their cycling performance.