Power Zone Training, a popular training method used by elite cyclists, is a great tool to track your fitness and watch yourself improve over time. We’re excited to give you the full rundown on this beneficial method so you can get the best results possible in Matt Wilpers’ specialized Power Zone Rides.
Power Zone Rides are focused on achieving specific output levels at different times throughout a class in order to improve your performance. There are seven power zones, each zone representing a target output range. These output ranges are customized for each rider (which we will show you how to calculate for yourself below). During a Power Zone Ride, your instructor will cue a specific zone, which will direct you to hit the corresponding output range on your bike. By using these customized output zones as a guide, you will be able to see and feel yourself improve as each zone becomes easier to achieve over time.
Average Output (FTP)
To start using power zones, you will first need to identify your 20-minute average output. This number will allow you to calculate your FTP (Functional Threshold Power) and then customize your target output for each zone using that number. Here’s how to find your average output:
- First, we recommend you take Matt Wilpers’ “10-Min FTP Warm Up Ride” in order to prepare for your test ride and to get more background on power zones. You can access this ride on your bike or on the app under “Specialized Ride Type.”
- Next, find your average output by completing Matt’s specially-designed “20-Min FTP Test Ride” on your Peloton bike. This ride can also be found under the “Specialized Ride Type” section. You got this!
- At the end of your ride, you can find your 20-minute average output displayed on your ride recap screen.
Now that you’ve identified your 20-minute average output, we need to do a little math to translate that number to your FTP, and then figure out your target output for each zone:
- First, subtract 5% from your 20-minute average output number. This result will be an accurate estimate of the average output you could hold for 60-minutes (i.e. your FTP). For example, if your average output is 115, find 5% (115 X 0.05 = 5.75), then subtract it from the total number (115 — 5.75 = 109.25). Round up or down to find your FTP.
- Now that you’ve found your FTP, you need to multiply this number by the percentage ranges of all seven power zones to identify your target outputs. For example, using our FTP of 109 from above, we can calculate Zone 1 by finding 55% of 109 (109 X 0.55 =60), then calculate Zone 2 ((56-75%) by multiplying each by 109 to arrive at 61-82. These numbers represent your customized target output ranges for each zone, and therefore, are the output ranges you will need to hit when each zone is cued.
- You can print the chart below and record your calculated target outputs, then display near your bike for visibility. Note: We highly recommend calculating each percentage and recording your target output numbers before you start a Power Zone Ride.
As you continue your Power Zone Training, you will likely notice each zone’s output becoming easier to achieve. Feel free to re-take the 20-Min FTP Test Ride to see if your 20-minute average output has increased. If so, you can then use your new 20-minute average output to calculate your updated FTP, and apply that number to the percentage calculations for each zone above to update your target output ranges.
Now that you’re a Power Zone expert, it’s time to get started. Count yourself in for one of Matt’s live Power Zone Rides here or find some of his past rides in the “Specialized Ride Type” on-demand section of your bike and app.
Good luck with your training! We can’t wait to watch you power through.