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What is FTP and how is it Used in Zwift?

FTP stands for Functional Threshold Power and represents the highest wattage number you can expect to average over an hour. In Zwift, your FTP is used to determine the difficulty of any workouts you do; the higher your FTP, the higher the wattage targets you're going to see during an interval.

In order to determine your FTP, Zwift provides you with a few different options:

  • The full FTP test - 73 minutes total
  • An abbreviated FTP test (same test interval, shorter warmup, cooldown) - 45 minutes total
  • An estimated FTP tied to a Fitness Level profile you select before your first workout.
  • An estimated FTP based on your performance during non-workout rides.

Note: both the full and abbreviated FTP tests take 95% of your average power over 20 minutes.

See this article for more information on Fitness Level profiles and this article for more information on how to take an FTP test.

We highly recommend doing one of the FTP tests before starting an in-depth training plan as the estimated FTP can be inaccurate and make the difficulty level of the workouts too high for your current fitness level.

Some Disclaimers 

FTP is obviously pretty important for workout mode, but other than that, it doesn't have any impact on Zwift.

This may also seem obvious, but you need to be using a supported Zwift setup in order to get an accurate FTP reading. "Not Listed" trainer and roller setups are out. If you're using a zPower setup, make sure it meets the standards we calculated the power curve on.

Finally, keep in mind that FTP is not an absolute metric: it's a current estimate. You'll likely have good days and bad days that will cause it to fluctuate. And as you continue to train, you'll probably see your FTP rise!

Double-check your FTP!

One of the most common problems we see on Zwift is users with an over-inflated FTP. This typically happens for one of the following reasons:

  • They incorrectly estimated their FTP without an FTP test
  • Their FTP test was done on a setup that wasn't Zwift compatible
  • They chose to use the estimated FTP without feeding it enough ride data

You can get a feel for how accurate your FTP is by comparing your w/KG over a set period of time with the table below. For more information on how to read it, you can read Andy Coggan's full article on TrainingPeaks

For example, if you're cruising around Watopia at 5.5 w/KG for an hour...something is probably wrong with your setup. Either that, or you've missed your calling for the TDF.

 Good luck with your training! Ride On!

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