FTP too high/too Low?

What do you all think in regards to training with an FTP which is too high vs too low? Which is worse in the long term. Currently i have mine set 313, and have been able to finish everything in rolling road race without too much issue (although pretty hard at times). However, i’m skeptical if i could hold that for an hour. I definitely find long sustained stuff far easier than short hard stuff.

Which side do you tend to lean?

The best way to understand is to take a Ramp Test. FTP is prediction, it does not guarantee you that you can hold that power for an hour. It is a baseline for your training.

I usually pay more attention to my CP (Critical Power) more than FTP as thats the power that I can keep pushing for longer hours. But also keep an eye on my FTP for training, improvements’ etc.

I’d err on the side of low. If your FTP is too high and you try and try and try to train well above capability, you’re going to fail workouts consistently and risk injury. Failing workouts wears on your confidence and mental state. When FTP is too high, you just bludgeon yourself every time you get on the bike.

When it’s too low, and I assume we mean 5% or so, you’re still getting generally the same adaptations in most cases, you’re able to handle the volume, and you’re still getting fitter, just not as fit as you would if it were accurate.

The ramp test has given me good training baselines. I had my FTP too high for a little bit, and it was misery. I’ve backed off a touch (2.5%) and am training base again to get a better foundation at these higher levels (13% higher than I started the season.) I may be training too low, but I always have the option of dialing up intensity if things feel too easy. That always feels better than the alternative.


Great advice @kurt.braeckel.

1 Like

I’d generally agree lower is better, as it can be unmotivating to have to bail out etc, but what what if you can complete all workouts, but probably coulnd’t hold that FTP value for an hour. Any reason not to just keep that as your training baseline?

No. Don’t conflate FTP and hour power. Roll with what you have if you’re finishing workouts and they are challenging.

1 Like

It depends on how much but generally an FTP set too high is much worse IMO. Too much power early in any interval leads to a fade in power and HR which is sort of the opposite physiologically of what you want to happen. Average power and HR for each interval will be less.

If you ever have some extra time do a ramp test at the end of a training block when fatigued. For me it’s about a 30W difference from a fresh ramp test. I’m not sure what to think of this not being an exercise physiologist. Perhaps the ramp has this thought out and built in to the algorithm. I don’t know. I do know that the traditional 20 minute power test protocol requires you to do a 5 minute all out max effort just prior to the 20 so you are a little fatigued. The intent is to come up with a number that will not set unrealistic zones/levels. I’ve learned I can not use my fresh ramp test results for the trainer. Something to think about…

I’ve had experience with too high ftp.

Last season I used an old elite trainer (got it from a studio) to do my ftp test. I got between 270 and 280 for my ftp. I trained and raced with it, buuut…

…I burned out spectacularly. Turns out I had been training too hard.
This season is more reasonable, and I’m using a power meter indoors and outdoors which helps.