Untrained FTP for a New Cyclist

What’s average for a healthy but untrained 18-20 year old? About 45?

Pulling a random statistic which wasn’t even asked about to label someone average makes you look like the hungry one.

That would be the textbook value. An estimated VO2max of up to 50 is therefore no more than ~10% greater, or “slightly above” average as I originally stated.

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It’s not a random statistic. The OP provided their estimated FTP, from which it is possible to estimate their VO2max. They wanted to know where their aerobic fitness currently stands, and I answered them correctly and factually.

As for being hungry, well, I retired after I earned my avatar.


To be fair, the OP literally asked how he compares so I would think a data point to contextualize their fitness might be helpful.


@Aussie1 If you look through the threads this can be found.

Within that there is a bell curve for 18-30 year old males.

Also Intervals.icu gives you a comparsion to your age group against other cyclists.

Enjoy your cycling, good luck with your journey.

Why is this with younger cyclist?

I get what you tried to do though @old_but_not_dead_yet also got a point. Quite often on the forum it’s less about facts and rather about stroking egos and bro science. Neither leads to getting faster. :joy::wink:

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What do you use to find out how FTP corresponds to VO2max?

I assumed that you did TR’s ramp test? If so, it uses 75% of Wmax (i.e., highest 1 minute power) to estimate your FTP. Multiplying the value you gave 1.33 therefore told me your Wmax, from which I estimated your VO2max by assuming an economy (and also knowing that Wmax is greater than the minimal power requiring VO2max).

TL,DR: voodoo. :wink:


How long is this string?

Dont let these folks tell you anything. If you are 5’3" have never run a mile in your life and are pretty obese at 80kg and you are at 257 day 1 you may have the tour in your future. If you are 6’ and cut, been running 30 miles and week and play D1 ball your ftp is pretty low for just starting out. Anything in the middle, nobody can tell a damn thing about how far you can go from where you start.


That is exactly the ego stroking bro science I was referring to.

OBNDY has explained it very well based on sound empirical data. What you did was answering a question OP didn’t even ask.


Prior to taking up cycling would you consider yourself an active person? Not so much endurance as you stated but other more explosive power sports?

If you’ve got a good base of fitness that could be why (in my opinion) you’ve got a really strong starting point there. You could have the ‘engine’ and it’s a case of tuning that to cycling now. Keep going and I hope you are enjoying it :slight_smile:.

Yeah I played football/soccer and Aussie Rules growing up

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Similar to me. My first FTP test was 250 but I was 67kg (3.7kg). Seems 250 is average for someone that is relatively active. Now my untrained power is about 270 at 64kg and I haven’t hit 300W FTP yet but I’m new to structured training!

But remember - FTP tests ESTIMATE what you can do for an hour. Since you are new to the sport you are likely to have over-contribution of other energy systems that are not relevant to your threshold power over an hour. ALSO - FTP is relative to every individual rider, your setup, power meters all read slightly different (or a lot) from rider to rider so make sure the number you get estimated from the test is genuine and not a factor to assess your self worth or comparison to other riders.

Always be truthful with that number as a training metric - I tend to scale back ramp rests if I genuinely don’t believe I can hold that number for an hour.

Yes but you have 3 years of unstructured training so you are likely to respond better and handle workouts better. I think this rider should continue to just enjoy riding and forgo any structured workouts - unless ofcourse he/she is a triathathelete and your primary focus on the sport is to get fit quick and you have other sports you are focusing on.

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FTP will rise for a short period of time then no doubt plateau.


That is better explained than what I did. I focussed too fast on FTP and ended up with a lot of problems

Not aimed at the OP, but on reflection, it’s worth noting that FTP can be a fairly crude measurement for estimating fitness, and it’s not that unusual for people from athletic backgrounds to come into cycling with a relatively high FTP (as measured on a ramp test, in particular), that doesn’t translate very well into sustained on road speed.

At the risk of opening up a HUGE can of worms, I’m not sure that ‘hour power’ is a quite accurate definition of FTP. It’s going to be roughly an hour, but varies quite a lot from individual to individual and with training. See here https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/abs/10.1139/h2012-088 This looked at time to exhaustion of trained individuals working at ‘FTP’, average 54.7 +/- 10.9 minutes, i.e. 43.8-65.6 minutes, i.e. a range of over 20 minutes - and that’s in trained individuals. It is also very possible for an individual to be able to sustain 95% of max 20 minute average watts for, say, 50 minutes, and increase that with training to say, 58 minutes, without improving their max 20 minute average.

So the applicability of an FTP to a brand new cyclist is a bit moot, IMO.