FTP vs 5min power discrepencies

Hi All,

I’ve been trying to understand my fitness and decide on training goals based on my numbers.
What bothers my that I have a fairly large discrepancy between an actual FTP tested via 20min on trainer, and hard outside rides vs 5-minute power.

My FTP is currently at 265W @ 67kg, while I can also do 360W for 5 minutes (I did if few times on the climbs)

Based on the 5min power i’m thinking my FTP should be more in the levels of 290+W, or my thinking is wrong and i’m just in that very small group which Vo2Max efforst are very small % of the Threshold power.

Given the FTP vs 5min power numbers, what would be the recommendation for traning to boost the actuall FTP.

Cheers !

In that case, just see how long you can hold 290W on the trainer… :wink:

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On a long climb, I managed to do 290W for 12minutes.
Are you suggesting that maybe my FTP testing is not ideal, in a way i didn’t push myself enough?

Kolie Moore’s FTP tests are your new best friend Kolie Moore's FTP test protocol

To your original point I think it depends on the type of riding you do. If you do lots of short to 5 min efforts, and not much sustained FTP riding, then your FTP result is likely to be fairly representative of your current performance. You do probably have lots of room to improve your FTP by working on it though

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Longer outside rides i usually do at Tempo zones. But i also do lots of z6/z7 1minutes intervals on local climbs, which i suspects is the key to the short power development.

Yes that is my hope too, but is that possible to do in winter using TR in the 1/1.5h sessions ? Should i just try to do Long (45min+ single) Sweet spot intervals ?

You want to be able to hold your FTP for about an hour, so if you only managed 12 minutes, 290W is too high.

Regarding your initial question - you likely have a good anaerobic capacity, which allows you to go extra hard for a few minutes, but then you’ve used that energy up. Riding at FTP uses your aerobic energy system that kicks in over longer durations.

5min, 20 min and FTP are all completely different things. I know it’s always tempting to want to have a higher “score” for your FTP but it’s only really a calibration tool for your training. If your FTP is 265 and you set it to 290W because it sounds cooler then you’re going to really suffer in your workouts.
If you can only hold 290W for 12 mins then you have a fair way to go before you can call it your FTP.
Stick with the plan and keep doing sweetspot work and you’ll get there. A lot of times people will have a certain power/time profile that makes them a punchy rider or more of a diesel. You can train this to a certain extent.
As a guide (from my power curve): I can hold 94% of my FTP for an hour but my 5min power is only about 1.2x my FTP. And i can sprint like an 8 year old girl.

@RCC thanks. Just to be clear, I don’t want to claim my FTP is 290.
I know 265 is backed by some real solid data.

I guess the main question here was/is. “Based on high 5 minute power, what sort of workouts should i focus to boost my FTP which is relatively low (in my opinion) to the 5min power”

So looks like SweetSpot, and actually riding at FTP levels should be my goal for winter.

Sweetspot is the answer to most questions.

It’s hard enough to be meaningful and not too hard that it grinds you down.

Good luck.

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It doesn’t work that way. Across a group of people, there are large differences in 5-min power vs FTP. In other words, 5-min performance is not a good way to predict FTP.

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Two thoughts. One is that your 20 minute test may nor be reflective of what you’re capable of. E.g. you didn’t pace it well, you weren’t quite in the zone that day, etc. Takes a lot of mental commitment as well as good pacing to really nail your best 20 minute number with nothing left in the tank at the end but with steady power throughout.

Other is that lots of people, myself included, put out more power outdoors than indoors. Particularly if there’s a hill and/or other people involved. Chasing to stay on somebody’s wheel can be much more motivating and distracting than staring at a number on a screen. And the different inertia involved in climbing a hill can make it easier to apply more watts. Plus when you’re outdoors you’ve often got better air flow and more movement on the bike which can help.

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Yes, i read that the range of FTP vs max 5 min power is broad. In my case, FTP vs 5 Minute power was for 1.25 level for a longer period of time (1.5Y as I measure those), just in the last 6 months, 5 min power grew much quicker than the FTP. It’s interesting in one point that i don’t actually train specific for the 5min power boost.

I assumed, based on the above, that my FTP is too low now, and i should focus more on a different type of riding.

Sure, doing a block or two of tempo or sweet spot or threshold might help push FTP up from below.

I was going to ask if you were relatively new, but then i noticed that your W/KG is nearly 4W/Kg so you’re already pretty good.
What sort of training have you been doing up to now?

You say you do lots of 1-min efforts on local climbs, but then say you don’t train your 5-min power? That’s a contradiction to me. These 1-min high lactate efforts increase your Vlamax. What you want to do is decreasing it if you care more about FTP.

I am also on the more anaerobic side of the spectrum, FTP somewhere around 295 W, I can do 325 W for 12 mins and like 375 W for 5 mins. Seems like the same profile as you.

Sorry i wasn’t specific, i do lots in the sense that i do 15x 20x 1min intervals, but not so often. I think in the last 3 months i did it 5 times.

Indeed your power profile looks similar 0.74 vs 0.76 of 5min. Did you tried increasing near sweet spot training?

I ride since 2017, mostly for fun. I don’t race, basically just ride whenever time permits. Trying to mix longer z2 (which is hard given my schedule) and some SS/Tempo rides. In the winter i did 6 weeks of SweetSpot Base MV, which gave me a good boost in power.

Riding for fun i often try to hit some local strava segments, in 1-7 min range (This is where I’m good :smiley:) .

The more i think about it, the more i’m convinced this contributes to the high anaerobic power than anything else.

I also follow your approach, and It has worked great for me. H