Spin® Life Blog

5-Minute FTP: Estimate Your Functional Threshold Power

5-Minute FTP: Estimate Your Functional Threshold Power

Posted by Spinning® on Apr 16th 2024

We love a great workout with Josh Taylor, but what’s even better is when that workout is also a training hack that will help you train smarter and track your progress! Clip in and ride with Josh as he coaches you through a 5-Minute FTP Test, also known as a 5-Minute Peak Power Value. In his signature style, he’ll explain the why and the how in an easy-to-understand way, and he’ll bring out the best of your grit and determination when you need it most! Watch now on YouTube or on the Spinning® app. Need a little more info on what Functional Threshold Power is and why it matters? Read on before you saddle up. 

Watch on Youtube

Watch on the app


Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is a value (in watts) that represents a cyclist’s hardest sustainable 60-minute effort on a bike. For example, an FTP of 160 means that the cyclist can sustain 160 watts for an hour. That FTP value is used to determine the person’s training zones. FTP is the marker that identifies the top end of the aerobic zone. So everything above FTP is anerobic, and below FTP is aerobic. Training Zones are further refined of course, ranging from Active Recovery to Peak Performance. You can see a 5-Zone breakdown in the article Zone Training for Results.  


There are other tests that we use in the indoor cycling world that are more accessible and not as grueling. The Personal Spinning® Threshold (PST) test is a ramp test that involves holding 2-minute intervals at increasing intensity.  

Another method is a 5-Minute FTP Test, which is a way to get a rough estimate of your Functional Threshold Power by riding at your highest sustainable effort for just 5 minutes instead of a full hour. (Phew, thank goodness.)  It’s the same concept as a 5-minute Peak Power Value. At the end of the test, you multiply your 5-minute average power (in watts) by 85% to get an estimate of your FTP. 


☑️ Set Your Training Zones: The estimated FTP value you get from a 5-minute FTP test is used to identify your training zones. Each power-based training zone is a percentage of FTP. (See above.) If you train with the Spinning® Indoor Cycling app, you can enter your FTP value into your profile, and the app will calculate your power zones.  

☑️ Establish a Benchmark: A 5-Minute FTP is also a great benchmark. Repeat the test periodically to track your progress and see proof that you’re getting stronger.   


☑️ Using an app: The Spinning® Indoor Cycling app features a built-in 5-Minute FTP test and will guide you with instructions. (Requires the Spinning® Plus subscription plan in the app.) 

☑️ With a video: Senior Master Instructor and former pro cyclist, Josh Taylor will coach you through every step of the test, explaining the purpose and process and keeping you motivated through to the end. In total, the video is a 30-minute workout. It begins with a thorough warm-up to get the body ready for the intense effort, followed by intervals with increasing intensity, to prepare you mentally and physically. 

Equipment needed:

⚡ A bike that measures power

 A console or app that displays your average power (watts) 

What the test entails: 

1. First off, a proper warm-up is key for safety and performance. 

2. Find a steady cadence with moderate resistance. 

3. Tap the button to start an interval. 5 minutes begins now! 

4. Increase your cadence and/or resistance to find that output that feels hard – the highest effort you can sustain for the duration.  

5. Hold steady. You’re here for 5 minutes.  

6. Keep your pedal stroke smooth and consistent. Resist the urge to pull back or shut down. 

7. In the final 30 seconds, give it everything you’ve got.  

8. At the 5-minute mark, tap the button to end the interval. Take off the resistance and begin to cool down.  

Results: Your estimated FTP is your average watts from the 5-minute test x 85%. 

Example: If your average watts for the 5-minute test is 165, your estimated FTP is 140. 

165 x .85 = 140 

Ready to ride? Let’s do this! 

Watch on Youtube

Watch on the app