FTP stands for Functional Threshold Power and represents the most watts 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 60 minute FTP test
- An abbreviated 20 minute FTP test (takes 95% of your avg. power over 20m)
- An estimated FTP based on your performance during non-workout rides.
During both of the FTP tests, you'll warm up before riding at a challenging effort level for the remainder of the test. If you choose to use ERG mode during the actual FTP test, note that you'll need to change gears like you would on a normal ride.
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.
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!