FTP versus MAP?

So I’m pretty sure my FTP estimate is close based on past tests and eFTP on intervals.icu.

The interesting thing though is that intervals.icu spat out a MAP power and duration (almost 4 minutes) that is 20w into the anaerobic zone on strava’s 7 zone graph.

My “zone 2” (ISM) seems to be more or less exactly between z2/z3 on strava’s graph.

What should I do with this information, if anything?

Custom Training zones for power/watt without FTP but % of MMP 5m - Feature Requests - Intervals.icu Forum

I guess I wandered into a rabbit hole with this whole grappe MAP situation!

Over 5 years ago Coggan replaced zones 5, 6, and 7 with a new set of individualized zones. Because there are enough differences in say 4-minute vo2 repeatable interval power that someone might do them at 110% but a more anaerobic athlete might be able to do them at 140%.

Of course if you did them by feel - repeatable but just barely hanging on - then it was never an issue. You learned the right power target thru simple experimenting. TR’s adaptive training also does this by taking easy/hard post-workout feedback to adjust future intervals, or if you give it a hint by completing a harder workout.

Before Coggan came out with TSS and power zones, Rick Stern was writing about the ramp test and using % MAP for training levels. Below is an article more than 20 years old on just that:


if you are having lactate measured, didn’t you get a set of HR/power zones?

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I’ve never had my lactate measured but I triangulated the value by using the talk test and other bits of data.

One bit of confusion I’ve realized is the definition of MAP itself could mean grappes tMAP number (3-4 minutes, or any duration) or zwifts maximum 1 minute power on the ramp test.

What I’ve gathered however is my FTP equates to exactly .8 MAP (3.8 minute duration apparently)

The “problem” though is like I said the zones vary, and I’m curious if I should take the MAP number or FTP as the main basis for training (which relates to the can of worms I was talking about).

do enough threshold training and you can push that percentage up, and it will no longer be exactly .8 MAP. Search the forum for “PD Golnick” and see what they learned 40 or 50 years ago.

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I was hoping this is possible. If I could get my FTP remotely close to my MAP I could be stronger than I thought was possible.

that paper is the basis of all the coaches saying “FTP is highly trainable”

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MAP is always going to be higher than FTP. I know that some coaches prescribe training by percentage of MAP. My question is why bother when FTP is a much more common standard. And if you use TR, it is their standard.

I’d just use it to set your FTP correctly after ramp tests. Otherwise, if you are still within the bell curve, AT should be able to accommodate you.

What @WindWarrior wrote about VO2max intervals is correct, but unless you are an extreme outlier, you’ll likely be served “easier” VO2max intervals (i. e. the percentage relative to your FTP will be smaller and/or the duration shorter). (I put easier in quotation marks, because it won’t be easy for you, and it doesn’t mean you are doing worse.)

Changes are slow, though, and tend to be small since you cannot change what type of athlete you are. A season with the crit plan changed that relationship by 1 %age point for me.

I’d be cautious here and say that training to make your FTP be closer to your MAP means you are stronger. I’d say it simply redistributes your strengths and weaknesses. If you consider two athletes in the same class, and one is like you and another one is more like me (FTP ≈ 75 % MAP), then you have an edge when we ride threshold. But I have an edge on VO2max climbs.

Ask yourself: why do you want your FTP to get closer to your MAP?

with the same MAP, the one with threshold at 75% MAP will be at a disadvantage in a lot of situations to the other athlete with threshold at 85%.


That’s obvious. But that wasn’t what I was saying, though. If both athletes had the same MAP, but one had a higher FTP, it stands to reason that the athlete with the higher FTP is simply faster in most circumstances, i. e. they wouldn’t be of comparable strength.

I wrote two athletes of comparable strength (= “in the same class”), but one had a higher FTP-to-MAP ratio. In my mind one athlete has an advantage for steady-state efforts close to threshold, the other is punchier and can tackle short, steep climbs at VO2max better or bridge up to a breakaway more easily.

“Comparable strength” means both nothing, and whatever one imagines it to mean. You can’t debate that.

The point is ftp is highly trainable, until you hit a ceiling of roughly 85-90% MAP. Go read the classic PD Gollnick study. My fractional utilization moves between 82-88% throughout the year.

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Yes, I did not give a definition, but I think you are overextending your argument. Yes, I did not give a definition, but I think it makes sense to e. g. say that a diesel and a sprinter may be athletes the same class even though you’d be hard-pressed to find numerical criteria other than e. g. race wins.

Moreover, in my mind the point I was trying to make came through clearly: an unusual FTP-to-MAP ratio points to different strengths and weaknesses of an athlete. Whether you should train to raise your FTP-to-MAP ratio as opposed to pursuing other training goals depends on your goals, the events you want to compete in, etc.

But you could also spend the time raising your FTP and your MAP while keeping the ratio the same. Which is going to lead to better results? Which is better for the type of riding or racing you do? I don’t think there is a simple, straight-forward answer to that.

Two riders with same MAP but rider 1 has a FTP at 80% of MAP, and rider 2 has a FTP at 75% of MAP.

They are riding together at 77% of MAP. Rider 1 is in Sweetspot and can hold this power for a couple of hours. Rider 2 is riding above threshold and burning matches. They come to a steep hill and rider one is able to rise up to their MAP for 3.5 mins to crest it. Rider 2 is burnt out from riding above threshold and can only rise to MAP for 1 min before needing to drop below threshold. Rider 1 has a snack whilst they wait for rider 2 to catch up.


From his write-up:

Do not undertake the (ramp) test: If you are over 35 years of age… without first seeking approval off a qualified medical practitioner.


This is what I’m thinking.


.88 would be wild, I wonder how someone can know what % they are capable of…

Except it’s spelled Gollnick (two Ls). Thank you for that suggestion. That lead me to the below post which really solidified some understanding for me.


FWIW, to add to what has already been discussed w/t/o MAP and FTP being separate (but related) aspects of your fitness, notable coach Steve Neal tracks/watches both. As does Ric Stern. I’m pretty sure most coaches use some WKO foo to track both as well, but taking the plunge into that world is not necessary (but potentially fun if you like that sort of thing). Also, I only have direct experience with those two coaches.

So now you have some science (Gollnick), anecdotal evidence (Brennus’ classic post, as well as other forum discussion), simple logic (again, Brennus post), and the experiences and practices from coaches outside of TR bubble, all triangulating on the same idea.

Because they reflect two different aspects of your fitness. And yes, by definition, MAP will always be higher.

I think I see where what you mean here, but better to think: “I need to start watching the relationship between the two and adjust accordingly”. FTP will never be MAP (as AJS914 pointed out), by definition.

Right around the time Brennus posted that, I noticed many ppl on the forum starting the practice of doing a ramp test (MAP) and turning around a doing a 20-min test, or the progressive TTE 35-40 (ish) test popularized by Kolie Moore.

I agree with this. And then ask (or ask here): what other ways can I get faster besides making my “long test” number (FTP) closer to my “max ramp test” number (MAP).