Improve your FTP

I did a post of FTP for the Train Smooth private Facebook group (for current and past Train Smooth athletes) and I had a current Train Smooth athlete ask a follow up question so I thought I would share everything.

I thought I would do a quick post of Functional Threshold Power (FTP)
FTP is simply the maximum power your body can maintain under aerobic condition for typically one hour. Most of us do not do the one hour FTP test as it can be done doing a 20 minute time trial and your FTP will be 95% of the average of that 20 minute time trial.

VO2 Max
FTP is actually a percentage of your overall VO2 max capacity. So next time someone says triathletes don’t need to worry about VO2 max, you can tell them to rack off.

You will need to raise your VO2 max ceiling to allow room to build your FTP. So for the past Train Smooth athletes who are interested in what to do next?
Start off 5-8 minute efforts @110% FTP, move towards 3 minute efforts @ 120% of FTP. Start off doing 3-4 reps and slowly build towards 9 reps.

FTP intervals:
Building functional threshold power is more a case of building endurance at high percentages of VO2 max. The standard interval is 2x 20 minutes at sweet spot (84-95% of FTP), as you progress, you can slowly increase this to 100% FTP then do 3x 20min @ sweet spot.
Don’t have a power meter?
Moderate: keeping it all aerobic:
Medium: this will be your FTP intervals
MAD: this will be your VO2 max intervals
Easy: when doing these intervals, easy is EASY

Question from Anibal:
When is the best time to raise the FTP, off season?

There are a couple of ways to go around this.
• Do more aerobic and strength endurance sessions in the off season and as you head closer to tri season you ramp things up. This is normally a traditional way.
• In the off season you cut the hell out of the volume and increase the intensity. Many athletes and coaches are moving more towards this way in the past few years. Brett Sutton has been doing it this way for years.

Personally it depends greatly on the athletes. I have some athletes training at MAF in the off season, some more aerobic and strength endurance work and others we are really focused on strength and speed.

If an athlete is going into the off season really aerobically fit, it would make sense to go into VO2 block. If the athlete isn’t aerobically fit, it makes sense to focus on this aspect first.

Tim Egge
If you have a question, please email


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