3 minute power as a percentage of ftp

Hey guys I’m new here and a new cyclist. I’ve been riding 10 months now and have been riding more and doing structure for the past few months. I recently tested my ftp and it came to 302 (332 for 20 minutes) at 148 pounds. My question is about trying to figure out my strengths and weaknesses. I feel as though I am a bit more natural at the longer efforts but the other day I surprised myself on a 3 minute segment on an outside ride where I averaged 415W. I was a bit surprised by this number. Is this a stronger or weaker effort than my ftp test? What % of ftp should your 3 min power be? I don’t think I am as natural of a sprinter right now as my peak power measured out a 1034.

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I did 400 watts, give or take, on a hill climb that took 3 minutes, give or take, when my FTP was around 280, give or take.

So, exactly 143%.

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Have a look for Andy Coggans power profiling charts on Training peaks.

Ftp doesn’t scale the same for everyone for short efforts- different riders will have strengths in different areas, hence some people are sprinters, some are climbers etc

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First of all, congrats on being 300+ at under 150lbs, great job! I am 304w ftp and 174lbs and here are my power PRs

1m- 656w
2m- 554w
3m- 456w
4m- 413w
5m- 377w

You’re pretty similar to me. I’m around 141 pounds and 301w FTP. My 3 min. power in season is around 410w, and my 4 min. power is just under 400w. I’ve done quite well as a cat. 1 with this power profile, but like you I’m actually more a diesel engine - which is strange for my size. I think it’s above average, but nothing exceptional (for people our size and power).

Edit: If I do damage on a climb, it’s almost never on hills less than 3 min. I can do over 6w/kg on a 5min. climbs, and I’ve noticed that’s where I can do the most harm to others.

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Thanks guys! I guess it would make sense if I’m stronger in the longer efforts as I’ve pretty much focused on z3 and ss work. Thanks for the input.

@Ian747 how have you found it best to race crits and shorter events as a smaller guy finding success as a cat1?

As I mentioned above, I’m more of a sustained power rider. I have almost a zero percent chance winning a bunch sprint! I would consider myself a breakaway rider, so I’m always looking to get into the break. I rarely initiate one, but look to be brought up by an eager rider or a teammate. I have won and been on the podium in quite a few crits, but all from a break. Wins have come from team tactics opposed to outright power.

I’m good at reading a race and staying small in a paceline, so my tactic is to be frugal with my power.

Your 3minute power (and other short duration) will depends alot of your anaerobic capacity. Everyone will have it at a different % of ftp.

For an extreme exemple, 7 month ago my ftp was around 200W. And back then I managed to do a 5min effort at 340W. Didn’t test my 3min power back then but if I had to guess I would say it would have been close to 400W (200% lol).

And so for 7 month, I focused only on my aerobic power. Got my ftp to around 270W right now. And my power on effort of less than 5minutes actually didn’t change much.

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That’s pretty mad - after less than a year cycling and you’re over 4W/kg :+1:t2:

Interesting - I’m (much) heavier than you at 223lbs but we have almost the same FTP.

However my power PRs are a little different - not sure what ‘type’ of rider this makes me? (My friends would probably say a poor one :joy:) My power tails off badly after 20m

1m - 726
2m - 533
3m - 475
4m - 446
5m - 428
20m - 338
1hr - 261
2hr - 234

when I was still a middle-distance track coach (early 2000s) I got to hear a presentation on “The Mystery Zone” by a USTAF coach. I was using an Accusport with my guys, and the presentation was on the huge variation in lactate response for all-out efforts from 60 sec up to 4min.

Some slow twichers may be pretty aerobic for 3min. some may be as much as 70% anaerobic for 3min (think pursuiters who are also good road sprinters, or Johnny Gray-type 800m guys in track).

Because of that huge variation, you can’t come up with a good “rule of thumb” number for what 3min power is as a percentage of FTP. All you can do is look at one particular athlete’s PD curve and see what it is for them.


My 1HR is 286 and I don’t think I’ve ever had a chance to do a proper 2 hour effort, so the 2HR shows 238 but that was during a ride with a lot of hills and soft pedaling down. TR has my 5 hour PR at 177 because it was a ride where I stopped for lunch for a while and it takes the stop time into account and averages it in at 0w. It was a 100mi ride done in 5 hours at 200w even according to my wahoo, but because TR averages in the breaks it only shows that average being 177.

Point is, unless it was a race, your 2hr power is probably not comparable to the others. It’s pretty hard to find somewhere to do a proper 2 hour effort with no breaks

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This calculator (http://fft.tips/curve) provides the answer based on the data from about 5000 cyclists with power meters (enter 3min in the custom yellow box), obviously it depends on your cycling profile/phenotype and ability…as these all influence curve shape; ie 3min ability (sprint) vs 60 minutes ability (read about that here: https://medium.com/fastfitnesstips/rate-yourself-as-a-cyclist-from-0-100-8f507162fc29). Hope that helps! alex from FFT