FTP test on Zwift: course? settings?

I’m going to do my FTP in Zwift because it’s miserable out and I need the distraction. There is a ton of conflicting info out there and no clear answers on these forums so can I get some guidance?

  1. should I use Zwift’s native FTP test workout
  2. why settings should I use? Erg? Can I turn off drafting? Does bike choice matter - TT bikes can’t draft by default, right?
  3. Which course? I’ve seen some people suggest something flat and some people suggest a big climb like the Epic KOM.
  4. anything else I need to know specific to Zwift for doing this?



Hi Andrew - look no further than here for guidance.

#1 read this training tip:

Do not do your test on Zwift, I think it will be distracting based on the questions you are asking - FtFP and give it all you got with your legs, your heart and soul + your brain.

Go old skool low tech if need be. Even better - perform your test outside up a hill! But if not (we understand) just make as many watt as going as hard as you can for 20 minutes straight.

Try that simple approach for your first test and then later on maybe use Zwift as a tool (do not use ERG mode, course doesn’t matter, nor bike choice, do not use Zwift’s native FTP test) but do export your 20 minutes test from your plan to zwift if you must use zwift). Here are the instructions:

My two cents- I don’t have a power meter on my bike, so I only get watt measurements when I ride on the trainer. Thus, I do all my FTP tests on Zwift. I usually use the Tempus Fugit route since it is very flat and steady. I haven’t found a steady enough climb on Zwift to use for 20 minutes. I import the FasCat workout from training peaks and leave erg mode on for the warm up. I turn off erg mode about a minute before the 20 minute effort to make sure that I’m in a suitable gear for my effort (erg mode can really trick you into a bad gear selection). It is my understanding that bike selection, drafting, difficulty, etc only effects the speed you get from a certain power output. Since FTP is based solely on power output, none of those settings should matter. After the workout, I can look at my results in training peaks and set my zones. This plan has worked pretty well for me over the past year, and has the added bonus of being very repeatable in a controlled environment.

Hope that helps!


Extremely helpful, thanks!

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I’m also a Tempus Fugit course fan for my tests and find changing the view to that of the rider on the road (ie don’t see my avatar) helps me get in the mental “zone”.

The TF course is pretty crowded at times so I create a meetup and set it to Meetup-Only view so I don’t see any other riders on course (just invite one friend and tell them to ignore the invite). Alternatively, I’ll get the ride going but just before the test I’ll turn off Wifi so all the other riders disappear and I only see myself (just remember to reconnect Wifi before you end the ride so it’ll properly upload it).

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I’m actually the opposite as far as course. I have issues keeping my watts up on a flat course, probably because all my riding is up and down. Either the alpe du huez or ventoux climb will give you 20 minutes of sustained climbing to do your FTP test. I’ve only done my ftp test on alpe du huez since that climb was released and it’s worked great for me. The incline forces me to keep my watts up but it is personal preference. I know a lot of people that can maintain higher watts on a flat course.


I’ve never done a FTP Test indoors yet but I’ve done AdZ many times and I cant see me attempting an FTP Test on any other course either.

I also use AdZ for most intervals and I’ve done ftp tests on it also. I generally drop the trainer difficulty in zwift down to 30-40% for this purpose. Just trying to keep a consistent resistance to pedal against without ending up grinding.

If I’m riding AdZ to really enjoy it as a tough climb I’ll bump the difficulty right up (and put a couple of books under the front wheel), and grind away.

I sometimes use Tempus Fugit for Z2 spins and tempo.

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How about using races to assess FTP? My highest numbers consistently come from Zwift races, so I now just do every 6-8 weeks a Zwift crit race which takes about 25 minutes. The anaerobic contribution may be a bit high at the beginning, but are there other drawbacks of using this „field test“?

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You can only use the average power and not normalized power from a 25 minute event. But if your actual average is coming out be over 105% of your FTP you could adjust your FTP. Zwift racing is like group rides where you can use them to determine a change in your FTP.


If you are getting out of the saddle i.e. sprint so as not to get dropped, that will influence the average or does it not matter?

Anaerobic power such as sprints with ON / OFF power will effect the normalized power when compared to average power. Your anaerobic power will inflate the normalized power so you have to be careful with how you use this number. If you are looking at an hour event event that was just mostly made up of zone 1 and zone 6 power this will probably be inflated. But longer steadier group rides / races you can use. One thing is certain your FTP will most likely not be higher than your highest 1 hour normalized power effort.


So someone who did a short Zwift Crit Race <30mins & hit a “New FTP” is probably not 100% accurate then?

Doing a Zwift ‘crit’ race can be good stimulation for an all out 20 FTP test. I would think that as long as average power and normalized power for the 20 min effort are close, it should be a good number

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