Many riders discover their FTP for the first time on Zwift. And once they’ve done that, the next question is usually, “Is my FTP good?”
There are many ways to answer that question, but let’s start by saying the most important thing is that you’re working to get stronger, no matter your fitness level. Constantly comparing yourself to others can be discouraging, since there’s always stronger riders out there!
That said, let’s look at two ways to compare your FTP to others, so you can see where you stand in the universe of cyclists.
A Quick Intro to FTP
If you’re new to riding with power, you’re probably unfamiliar with the FTP (functional threshold power) as well. Read “All About FTP and Why It Matters On Zwift” to learn the basics of this important cycling metric.
Method 1: Coggan’s Chart
Here’s a handy chart showing typical power numbers for various categories of cyclists in real-world racing. (The “FT” column is your FTP number.) This chart was originally created by Andy Coggan.
The numbers are in watts per kilogram, so you’ll need to know your weight in order to calculate your FTP in w/kg.
Example: if you weigh 75kg and have an FTP of 250W, your FTP w/kg would be 250/75=3.33
This is a useful chart if you race IRL, or want to begin doing so. It helps answer common racer questions. Are you racing the “right” category? Are you underpowered for your category, overpowered, or in the right place? And what sort of potential do you have as a racer given your current fitness level?
The chart can also help you spot weaknesses holding you back from top race results. Two examples:
- If you’re racing as a cat 4 but have a cat 2 FTP, this might indicate a lack of racing skill. Perhaps you ride very efficiently, wasting that cat 2 power and thus allowing yourself to be beaten by smarter cat 4 riders.
- If your FTP places you in cat 3, but your 1-minute power places you in cat 5… you need to train that 1-minute power!
Method 2: ZwiftPower’s Critical Power Charts
If you’ve signed up for ZwiftPower (highly recommended for all Zwifters), the site has built a power profile for you based on your ride history. This includes a chart showing your highest 20-minute average power in the past 90 days.
Note: 20-minute power is a good proxy for FTP. Just reduce it by 5% to estimate your FTP – so a 300W average power would work out to a 300 x .95 = 285W FTP.
How does your FTP rank? Mouse over the two 20-minute bars to see a percentile ranking against a sampling of “serious cyclists”. (More on those numbers here. The percentile grade is split by gender.)
For more on ZwiftPower’s critical power charts, see our post “All About Your Critical Power Chart on ZwiftPower“.
Looking to improve your FTP? Of course you are! There are plenty of resources available to guide you, but you’ll have to put in the work!
Zwift has FTP Booster training plans, and here are the two most popular books around for helping cyclists train smart with power – increasing not only your FTP but your overall racing fitness!
Questions or Comments?
We hope this post helps to the “how good is my FTP” questions. Got FTP-related questions or comments? Share below!
Hi Eric, this old guy wonders how age factors into it? Any ideas?
Joe Friel’s book “Fast After 50” will tell you a lot about how age affects performance. But as for FTP, it’s an individual measurement that has nothing specifically to do with age. At some point in a person’s life, your FTP will go down, but when it happens and why it happens is dependent on a lot of variables, not just age. I started riding at age 61 and since then (now age 66) my FTP has varied from a low of about 210W to a high of about 282W (which it is now). I doubt that I’ll ever get… Read more »
I’m 55 male . Can I improve my fitness to go from cat c to cat b .
If you can put the work in…
I suspect most people, including 55 y/o’s can improve their FTP unless they have health or physical issues that prevent them. It’s just a question of putting the work in as Keith replied to your question. Simply riding more and at higher effort will even provide some gain. But the best way is to do specific training with a goal, a plan, an understanding of what it takes to achieve the improvement and the commitment of time needed to do it. I recommend you check out the books in the article above and also Friel’s other book “Fast After 50.”… Read more »
Yes, I am 56 and was able to briefly move from C to B by Zwifting regularly for about 8 months. Admittedly other life priorities pulled me out of regular riding/racing in Zwift and I am back down to a C.
The lesson is you can certainly improve by working for it.
I’m 52 and for the last 10 years I’d been happy to finish in the bottom third of the CX races I entered. I just didn’t think I could improve much, so resigned myself to lowly end finishes. During lockdown, I really got into Zwift and training with power. I started to track my power curve on Strava, using a spreadsheet to keep a record and trying to beat last months numbers. Over the course of the last 12 months my FTP has increased by 101 Watts, moving me into cat B. Firstly I’d say you need to put in… Read more »
How come my FTP calculated outdoor with my Garmin vector is at 305W or 3,5W/kg and on Zwift it’s at 240W or 2,8W/kg?
Because you don’t go as hard indoors, apparently.
Do you use two different power meters, Vector outside and your trainer inside?
If so I think that’s the answers. The vector pedals needs to be installed very exactly to be reasonable accurate, for what I know they are not the most accurate power meter and power could vary between training sessions.
The only ones had to be installed carefully; the new ones are like installing any other pedal. Calibration is key, of course, but they are more than acceptably accurate; there’s a reason DCRainmaker says the Vectors are his go to pedal.
As Eric says – it’s common to go less hard indoors, even if you *feel* like you’re absolutely emptying yourself out in the ‘safe’ environment of a trainer (can’t fall off, can close your eyes, you’re already home so no need to worry about getting home etc).
It’s at least partly because when you’re sitting on any static trainer you’re mostly just using your legs and lower back, but riding IRL uses your core more, you pull on the bars more effectively, all of which adds a few percent.
Just a small correction. “Overall cycling population” isn’t quite right. It is the population who uses Cycling Analytics. They categorize their average user as a “serious cyclist” and half of their user base races. Definitely not a representative sample of the overall cycling population.
Good point! I tweaked the language.
Thanks Eric, keep up the great work!
I second that! 💪work!
And we have so many 40+, 50+ and even 60+ WorldClass Pro riders on ZwiftPower, even in teams and the team leaders dont realize these people’s power are all fake numbers..
I’ve got an FTP of 225 W which gives me 3.125 W/kg or mid-rage for CAT4 🙂
But now I am sad about my 5 second power…
I really thought that 850 W (11.8 W/kg) was good (turns orange when I hit it!) till looked at this chart that puts me on the bottom….the BOTTOM of CAT5
Any thoughts about sprint training? 5-10s all out every 1-5 minute(s)? how many reps?
The Coggan chart doesn’t work for sprinting in the sense you are thinking of it. World class on there are track sprinters who are only sprinting, not doing 200km and then sprinting. These numbers might make you feel better (but perhaps not much)! Bear in mind that when Viviani races on the track, he does the endurance events. https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/racing/data-reveals-the-most-powerful-sprints-of-2018-and-the-numbers-are-pretty-mind-blowing-359140
Look into weight training program specific to sprinting strength. You need to add fast twitch muscle mass to gain anything appreciable.
I did my first ftp test and noticed I couldn’t maintain 90rpms if my life depended on it. Was I supposed to be in ergo mode or switch gears? Thanks!
Free ride all the way for FTP. 5 mins warm up then 45 mins at 6/10 RPE and go harder if you’re still feeling strong in the last 15 mins. Should end about 8-9/10 RPE. No specific RPM required, 70-95 is an ok range. If you’re going under or over then switch gears to keep within a comfortable RPM range.
Brand new to Zwift , 65 years old , 5’8” 192 lbs , I know my w/kg will be very low . Today I averaged 63 watts for 19km over 43mins .It seems unusually low .How can I improve .
l ve been riding for 20 years outside and average around 27km an hour for 60km through the year .
Sounds like your trainer isn’t calibrated properly. If you can ride at that speed for that long outdoors, you should be able to average more than 63 watts! I would guess more like 100-150 watts…
checked my hover % on zwiftpower (thanks for that tip Eric) … 48.1% on the 20min, let’s say it gets far worse on the shorter timeframes. I’m putting the pants numbers down to only the upper end of talent hooking up with ZP (I’m often inside the top 20% in races/group rides & claimed a few sprint jerseys) … anyway, I’m loving riding indoors this last year, definitely getting fitter/smashing PBs when do get to go outside & beer handles are much smaller (49yrs / 78kg / ~3w/kg … lost nearly 2 stone since I jumped back on the bike… Read more »
Deeply discouraged 🙁 . I’m 51, 90Kg 6’1″ reasonably fit, been Zwifting for 2 years on my Kickr snap. Wheels kept at 90psi. 10 min warm up then spin down calibration to 37kph before each ride. Roller knob always turned 2 full turns from contact (as instructed by Wahoo). FTP ranges from 155 to 180 depending on time of year and frequency of training. So frustrated though because this means I ride at around 1.8 W/kg which means I can never find a group I can actually compete with. I ride at 3rd hardest rear cog on my lovely Canondale… Read more »
How fast are you outdoors on flat paved ground, and on what sort of bike setup?
could be many issues. Have you considered medical conditions or medicines. For example many kinds of beta blockers suppress cardio output. Have you ever had a serious leg injury that left you none weight bearing for a while like an Achilles injury or severe fracture? If so You could have a muscle subtle muscle imbalance which a therapist could help you identify and correct. Have you followed a workout routine to specifically designed to increase your FTP? Or, you could be over training? Being 51 and reasonably fit may not get you above 180 unless your training is spot on.… Read more »
Hur sänka FTP??
Hello!!!! I weigh 253.3 pounds and my FTP is 205w based Zwift’s Ramp test. Where does that place me at?
I am a 65-year-old female. On level ground I can usually cruise along with no wind between 14 and 16 miles an hour. My average is 12 with 800-1300 elev gain. I could afford to lose about 10 pounds. I work out regularly but I’m just started using some of the swift FTP applications and a little bit discouraged that I am around 2, my ave wattage around 117 according to Strava with 43 sec ramp up test. I find it interesting that age does not have anything to do with FTP considering you lose muscle mass overtime. Can you… Read more »
I’m in my 40’s, 100kg, and have been an avid MTB cyclist since 2014.. Which means twice a month if ya don’t live near the mountains..
I’ve gone back to Zwift but find it much harder than last winter. And FTP is down round 200, just over.
Granted, I had a full Ultegra 11 speed setup previously, and now there’s a 10 speed 105 cassette on back. But it shouldn’t make THAT much difference,right?? I’m sure it’s just declining fitness, over a pandemic of bad habits..