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Cycling Training and Power Measurements AP, NP and FTP

cycling training power measurements


Cycling Training and Power Measurements AP, NP and FTP

It is a consensus that regular and proper cycling training can help riders to improve their ability in a short time and there is already a complete and scientific training system to help riders and cyclists. Among lots of training theories, power training occupies a more important position. 

Well, do not rush into power training when you are not ready to. Here are some basic data and information that cyclists should understand before you get to start your training workout.

Know a few measurements

AP (Average Power) simply averages the changing power data, which cannot fully reflect the intensity of this ride.

NP (Normalized Power) is the average power adjusted after considering various variables on the basis of average power, which can pay more attention to the output above the threshold.

In Cycling Training Power numbers vary greatly, influenced by slope, wind speed and other road factors, so it is difficult for cyclist to maintain a smooth output. Under this occasion, we can only simply average the value to get the AP. As for NP, it takes into account all variable factors and shows a difference that cannot be reflected by the average power, which can more objectively reflect the cycling effort, and that is why we think NP is more important.

FTP (functional threshold power) is the maximum output capacity that can be maintained in one full hour and is an average value. “FTP220” means that this rider can maintain the maximum capacity of one full hour with an average output of 220W. FTP quantifies a rider’s cycling ability. This numbers are dynamic and is also basically a critical zone between aerobic and anaerobic zones, which can be used as a reference number for training.

How FTP contributes in cycling training

Riders are pretty much different in cycling ability and physical qualities. For example, for a beginner to ride 10 kilometers at a 40-average speed, that is much impossible to make it, even for some rider with some basic FTP knowledge and training experience. While those with systematic training experience will not feel too much pressure. So, for beginners, tired out, exercise too much and get injury; for low-level riders, exercise intensity is appropriate, bring good training pressure to the body; for professional riders, the intensity of the training stimulation is not enough to achieve the expected training effect.

So, with the FTP, people with different abilities can separately make their workout plans at their suitable intensity, and help you identify your weaknesses, and can help you train more specifically. That is one of the main functions of FTP.

How to know your FTP?

Adjust your physical state, avoid large amount of exercise so as to restore the fatigue state of your body to some extent after your exercises and rides and then go for a FTP test to any cycling training center.

When testing, warm up thoroughly. After 10 minutes warming up, do 1-3 groups of high-stepping and each group maintains 1 minute. Get your body ready for the test.

The next stage is going to be a five-minute full pedal around with the full output as much as you can. At this stage, you will quickly get into a anaerobic state, and your body’s large reserves of glycogen are quickly depleted. By the end of the five minutes, your basic anaerobic capacity is exhausted. The purpose of this phase is to deplete your reserves of anaerobic capacity.

Next, do a 10-minute relaxation exercise to calm your heart and allow your body to recover from exhaustion, when your body’s energy metabolism relies more on fat for energy.

After 10 minutes of mitigation, the testing of threshold output begins, which takes 20 minutes. Intensity should not be too high, but try to keep in a stable output of moderate intensity. Riders wearing the heart rate monitors need to take more attention to keep it in the range of 80-85% of maximum heart rate (at least in 78%-79%) besides the power output.

At the end of the 15 minutes of this session, evaluate your own ability. If you feel that you can increase the output appropriately, try to increase the output and do a sprint in the last three minutes. But if the heart rate reachs 95% of the maximum heart rate and above, just keep pedaling at your current speed to finish the phase.

At the end of the test session, a 10-minute gentle cooling should be performed. This phase of relaxation must be completed, allowing the heart rate to gradually drop and the body to ease off. After the threshold test, the NP obtained is CP20, and the value multiplied by 95% is the FTP.

FTP tests are recommended to be done four times a year, and professional riders or cyclists are recommended to do six times a year. Since all the subsequent training is carried out around FTP, the subsequent training is more targeted only when the accurate FTP is obtained through measurement.

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