Peloton FTP Test: What is it and How to Do it on Your Bike

When the idea of embarking on Peloton Power Zone training on my bike intrigued me, I understood that undertaking the Peloton FTP test would be necessary. Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation, eager to delve into Power Zone training on Peloton while pondering the significance of this FTP concept. Allow me to provide some guidance.

Within this blog post, I aim to address several frequently asked questions regarding the Peloton FTP test. This comprehensive guide will cover topics such as:

  • What does FTP stand for?
  • What is the FTP test?
  • Where do you find the FTP test on the Peloton Bike?
  • How to take the Peloton FTP test?

Furthermore, it’s important to note that this particular blog post will not delve into inquiries such as determining what constitutes a good FTP score or the average FTP based on age. The reason behind this omission is that your FTP test results hold personal significance specific to you. Additionally, these results are influenced by the unique calibration of your individual bike.

How Peloton calibration affects your FTP results

Before delving into the details of the FTP (Functional Threshold Power), I’d like to explain how Peloton calibration affects your FTP.

Each Peloton bike possesses its own unique characteristics, especially in terms of calibration, particularly with the original Peloton bikes. It’s worth noting that the Bike Plus models automatically calibrate, so if you happen to own a Peloton Bike Plus, you can proceed to the next section without any concerns.

However, for those of us with an OG Peloton like mine, it’s essential to understand that these bikes can provide varied experiences to different individuals. You might have a bike that feels either too easy, too challenging, or just right. Determining this can be quite tricky unless you’ve had the opportunity to ride a Peloton bike at a hotel or perhaps tried a friend’s bike.

Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that recalibrating your Peloton, similar to what I did, will have an impact on your FTP test results. But rest assured, this adjustment is perfectly fine and part of the process.

What is an FTP test? 

peloton ftp test

So, let’s dive into the details of the Peloton FTP test and its significance. First and foremost, it’s important to understand that the FTP test is not a written exam or anything of that sort.

In actuality, it’s a 20-minute class conducted on the bike itself. This test is taken to obtain a result that reflects your average output, which is a combination of cadence and resistance.

Why is it essential to determine your average output? Well, it allows you to activate the Power Zone bar on your bike. To illustrate, here’s an example of the Power Zone bar displayed on my Peloton screen during a ride with Christine D’Ercole.

The Power Zone bar serves as a metric to gauge your power output on the bike. Remember, power is the outcome derived from your overall output.

Whether you’re utilizing a Peloton bike or one of the other top-rated exercise bikes available in the market, an FTP test proves to be an excellent method for monitoring your progress in cycling. FTP, which stands for Functional Threshold Power, represents the highest average power you could sustain over the course of an hour.

What are the benefits of knowing your FTP zones? 

The main motivation behind the majority of individuals I know, including myself, taking the FTP test is the desire to embark on Power Zone training. Peloton provides two dedicated programs specifically designed for Power Zone training. These programs are titled “Discover Your Power Zones” and “Build Your Power Zones.”

The “Discover Your Power Zones” program spans over a duration of five weeks and consists of 25 classes. On the other hand, the “Build Your Power Zones” program, also lasting for five weeks, comprises 16 classes. Both programs serve as excellent resources for individuals looking to engage in Power Zone training.

peloton ftp test

Indeed, upon examining the structure of the Discover Your Power Zones program, you’ll notice that it commences with the FTP test in Week 1 and concludes with another FTP test in Week 5. Similarly, in the Build Your Power Zones program, it is expected that you take the FTP test at the conclusion of Week 5.

Why would one undertake the FTP test multiple times? The primary reason is to gauge and track the progress achieved throughout the training period. Rest assured, even a small increase of just one point in your FTP test results can signify notable improvement.

You’ll need test results for PZ challenges

An additional reason for considering the FTP test might be your awareness of the Power Zone Pack challenges. The Power Zone Pack holds significant popularity as a Facebook group comprising Peloton enthusiasts. At the time of writing, the group boasts approximately 124,000 members.

Personally, I began participating in Power Zone challenges a few years ago. In recent challenges, I had the opportunity to co-lead a team comprising several hundred riders. Unfortunately, I had to sit out the most recent challenge, named Rock and Roll Zones, due to an injury. However, now that I have completed my physical therapy and regained my well-being, I am eager to participate in the upcoming challenge. Since my fitness level has likely changed since my last FTP test, it is highly probable that I will need to retake the test.

How do you find the FTP test on the Peloton? 

To locate the Peloton FTP test, you can access it through the cycling section of the Peloton app (if you don’t own a bike). Alternatively, if you have the bike, you can use the filter feature. Simply tap on “Class Type,” choose “Power Zone,” and proceed to “Length” to select a 20-minute class duration. This will display the 20 min FTP Test Ride in your search results.

As of now, the Peloton FTP Test Ride is led by the following instructors:

Indeed, the Power Zone classes are instructed by a dedicated group of five individuals. Additionally, it’s worth noting that Matt and Denis, being the original Power Zone instructors, offer multiple FTP Test Rides for your convenience.

What is it like to take the FTP test?

During my initial FTP test experience, uncertainty loomed over my ability to complete it. As I approached the end, I found myself engaged in an internal debate, contemplating whether to give up or push through. It was in that moment that I summoned the mantra of Peloton and Power Zone instructor Christine D’Ercole: “I am, I can, I will, I do.”

Essentially, the FTP test begins with a Zone 4 effort, which corresponds to a specific intensity level within the Power Zone training system consisting of seven zones. However, if you haven’t engaged in Power Zone training before or don’t have the Power Zone bar displayed on your bike’s screen, the significance of Zone 4 may not be clear to you. This underscores the importance of taking the FTP warm-up ride, which can provide essential context and understanding for those new to Power Zone training.

Always take the FTP warm up before the test

To better prepare for the Peloton FTP test, it is highly recommended to include FTP Warm Up Rides in your filter settings. By adding 10 minutes and 15 minutes under the Length category, you will be able to access these specific warm-up rides.

Why are these warm-up rides essential? Firstly, the instructors provide valuable insights and explanations regarding what to expect during the FTP test. This information proves to be highly beneficial. Secondly, considering the intensity of the FTP test, it would be unwise to jump into it without adequately warming up. Therefore, a warm-up ride is a crucial component of your preparation.

For your information, personally, I have only taken the 10-minute FTP test warm-up rides, and they have served me well. However, if you are interested in a longer warm-up ride, it’s worth noting that only Matt Wilpers offers a 15-minute warm-up ride specifically designed for the FTP test.

What happens after your FTP test?

Once I completed my FTP test, I took note of my average output and entered it into my bike settings. However, in recent times, the bike has become “aware” of when the test is finished. As a result, it prompts you when the test concludes, asking if you would like to adjust your FTP in your settings. In this case, be sure to respond with a resounding “Yes.”

These newly adjusted numbers will be incorporated into your Preferences, accessible through your Profile section (represented by a gear icon located above your profile picture on the bike screen). On the same screen, you have the option to select the “Display Power Zones” checkbox. Enabling this feature will showcase the Power Zone Meter on your screen during all subsequent rides.

Now you have your personalized power zones, tailored specifically to your performance in the FTP test. What truly excites me about Power Zone training is that it allows me to train according to my present level of fitness.

It’s important to keep in mind that the more you ride, the fitter you will become. Eventually, you may reach a point where you realize that your zones feel surprisingly manageable. And guess what? That’s a clear indicator that it’s time to retest and take the FTP test once again.

How often should you take the FTP test?

As previously mentioned, it is recommended to retake the FTP test when your Peloton zones begin to feel relatively easy. However, it’s equally important to acknowledge that the opposite can also hold true.

In my case, since I opted out of the previous eight-week Power Zone challenge, I am well aware that my fitness level has likely undergone some changes. I am currently not engaging in as lengthy or intense writing sessions as I did when I was regularly participating in Power Zone classes. Given these circumstances, it is sensible for me to consider retesting and retaking the FTP test to reassess my current fitness level accurately.

Peloton FTP test: Final thoughts

I must be honest—the Peloton FTP test is not an easy endeavor. However, it’s crucial to bear in mind that it only requires 20 minutes of your time, and the sense of pride you’ll experience upon completion is truly rewarding.

Furthermore, as you embark on your Power Zone training journey—now equipped with the Power Zone bar displayed on your screen—you have a legitimate metric for gauging your fitness progress. This Power Zone bar also enables you to transform any Peloton ride into a Power Zone session.

So, if you ever find yourself questioning the value of your Peloton rides, rest assured that by taking the FTP test and periodically retesting when you feel stronger, you will witness tangible results displayed right on your bike’s screen. These visible outcomes serve as a concrete testament to the effectiveness of your efforts.

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