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Functional Threshold Power in Cyclists: Validity of the Concept and Physiological Responses

Borszcz, Fernando; Tramontin, Artur; Bossi, Arthur; Carminatti, Lorival; Costa, Vitor


Fernando Borszcz

Artur Tramontin

Lorival Carminatti

Vitor Costa


Functional threshold power is defined as the highest power output a cyclist can maintain in a quasi-steady state for approximately 60 min (FTP60). In order to improve practicality for regular evaluations, FTP60 could theoretically be determined as 95% of the mean power output in a 20-min time trial (FTP20). This study tested this assumption and the validity of FTP20 and FTP60 against the individual anaerobic threshold (IAT). Twenty-three trained male cyclists performed an incremental test to exhaustion, 20- and 60-min time trials, and a time to exhaustion at FTP20. Power output, heart rate and oxygen uptake representing FTP20, FTP60 and IAT were not different (p>0.05), and large to very large correlations were found (r=0.61 to 0.88). Bland-Altman plots between FTP20, FTP60 and IAT showed small bias (–1 to –5 W), but large limits of agreement ([–40 to 32 W] to [–62 to 60 W]). Time to exhaustion at FTP20 was 50.9±15.7 min. In conclusion, FTP20 and FTP60 should not be used interchangeably on an individual basis and their validity against IAT should be interpreted with caution.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 15, 2018
Online Publication Date May 25, 2018
Publication Date Oct 1, 2018
Deposit Date Aug 16, 2022
Journal International Journal of Sports Medicine
Print ISSN 0172-4622
Electronic ISSN 1439-3964
Publisher Thieme Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 10
Pages 737-742
Keywords cycling, time trial, performance, pacing strategy, noninvasive test, anaerobic threshold
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