Kickr FTP Test: An Essential First Step

You might have noticed that on Mondays we offer several Kickr Threshold Tests. If you have participated in a riding class on the Wahoo Kickr you know that the efforts are all relative to your ability and the resistance applied by the trainer is based on your “Threshold.” If you are unfamiliar with what Lactate Threshold, Functional Threshold Power (FTP), or Blood Lactate are by definition,  Source Endurance Coach Mitchell Sides wrote an article over the summer all about threshold and why it’s so essential for good training.
In short, Mitchell states “A rider’s Functional Threshold is the maximum number of watts he or she can hold steadily for roughly an hour. While not precisely the same in terms of physiological definition, Lactate Threshold, the point at which your body can no longer buffer acidity created by anaerobic work, and FTP are used interchangeably.
Knowing your threshold power is pretty crucial to get the best workout in the training center. If the interval set calls for 6 minutes at 100% of FTP and your power is set too high in the software, the Kickr will have you riding at near V02 max pace instead of at Lactate Threshold, you may not be able to complete the interval set. In the other direction if your LT power is set too low then we aren’t achieving the overload stimulus we are looking for because you are riding too easy. Some people try to guess their FTP based on a comparison to another rider they usually ride with. While you may have the same abilities of another rider, you may even have a very similar watts per kilogram “threshold” but your absolute wattage will vary greatly because you are different weights and body composition. Guessing is not recommended so we suggest you do the FTP test for the best overall training experience in and out of the training center.
In Mitchell’s words “A properly set LT can play a huge part in implementing a smart training and recovery plan to maximize time efficiency, training stress, and adaptation that ultimately improves performance. “
In our Monday Kickr Threshold Tests, we start off with a solid warmup on the Kickrs and when you are ready we jump into a 20 minute all-out threshold test. We want to find your best possible 20-min time trial wattage in the Kickr FTP test. From there we have a reasonable place to start for your Kickr FTP.
We do 20 minutes because we find it’s a the best balance of duration and mental fatigue on the trainer. We make adjustments to the results based on the concepts Mitchell talks about in his article. We find this number to be pretty accurate. It’s important to show up to your Kickr test well rested and not fasted. This test is plenty good for most athletes. See our current class schedule for our next available test.
For super elite athletes, we do recommend doing a blood lactate test which is the most accurate test for finding lactate threshold power, heart rate and current training zones. For a blood lactate test we slowly increase the resistance on our computrainer while taking small blood samples through a finger prick at each level of resistance. Once you surpass your ability to buffer the acidity, measured as blood lactate concentration, the test ends. Learn more here.
We hope this aids with understanding the role of threshold testing in training. For more questions, please email marketing@source-e.netLearn more about the Source Endurance Training Center of the Rockies’ services.