FAQ for the Rubber Glove FTP test

Our video, Rubber Glove, isn’t quite like the other Sufferfest videos. Yes, there is still the structured workout, the killer music, the humour and the clear instructions, but Rubber Glove has a purpose, and that’s to help you determine your Functional Threshold Performance (FTP). Here are some of the more common questions.

What is FTP? Most often, FTP means Functional Threshold Power. We prefer Functional Threshold Performance, however, since we can also talk about thresholds in terms of heart rate, not just power (watts). In either case, FTP is a key metric for cycling performance. Defined as the maximum sustained effort a cyclist can maintain over one-hour. It’s a general indicator of how fit you are.

What is an FTP test? It’s a repeatable test that helps you consistently determine you FTP. The most common test, developed by Dr. Coggan, is based on a 20minute interval in which you go flat out for the duration. When you’re done, you take your average power and subtract 5% from it (as the assumption is that you could ride for an hour at that level). FTP tests can be done inside or outside – what’s important is that the test is done the exact same way every time so you can compare results over time. The workout in Rubber Glove was designed by our partners at Dig Deep Coaching, so you know it means business.

I thought FTP meant you had to have a power meter. Is that true? Without out a doubt, the best way to determine your FTP is with a power meter. However, they are expensive and not everyone has one. So, we suggest you can also use a heart rate monitor to determine your threshold by heart rate.

What does an FTP number look like? It looks like a number. That number will vary for everyone, depending on your fitness, age, etc. Just as an illustration: Here at Sufferfest studios, our Chief Sufferlandrian measured his FTP in power and it is 270 watts. For someone doing a FTP test using heart rate, the resulting heart rate would look something like 150 beats per minute.

I did my FTP in power and my friend did his in heart rate – can we compare them? No. Only power-based FTPs can only be compared with other power-based FTPs and the same goes for heart rates. If you’re comparing power-based FTPs, be sure to divide by your weight in kilograms to get a watts per kilogram number. That’s the best way to compare.

What equipment do I need to do the test? You need all the stuff you normally need to do a ‘fest video, plus either a heart rate monitor or power meter. If your equipment doesn’t automatically record your data, we suggest you have a Minion around to record your performance for you, as you need to be fully concentrating on the task at hand, not taking notes.

Once I’ve got my FTP, what do I do with it? If it’s good, brag to all your friends about it. ; ) Then you can use it to help you maximise your training. The first thing you can do is use your FTP to map against power zones (if you measured by power) or heart rate zones (if you measured by power) and against our recommended perceived exertion (RPE) scale. When you’ve done that, and if you’re following a structured training plan that tells you how often to train in what zones, you’re ready to make the most of your training time.

How often should I test my FTP? It all depends on the kind of training you’re doing, but if you’re on a structured plan in which you’re progressively building up, we’d suggest doing it every 10-12 weeks.

What kind of changes should I see in my FTP number over time? If you measured FTP by power, you should see an improvement in your FTP number. If you measured by heart-rate, you won’t see a significant change in your heart-rate, but you should see your distance covered and average speed improve for the same heart rate.

I just want a good workout. Can I use the video for that without doing the FTP test? Yes, of course. Rubber Glove has a great warm-up based on increasing the effort from 2/10 up to 7/10 in one-step increments every three minutes. You then get four fast-cadence drills and then a maximum-intensity interval and a short cool-down. It’s a great workout even if you’re not measuring for FTP.

Why did you name this video Rubber Glove? Calling it “FTP Test 1.0″ or something boring like that would have been pretty boring, no? We think Rubber Glove gives you a good idea just how uncomfortable you’ll be during this examination.

You can buy Rubber Glove here >>



  • Anth Quinn

    Hi, just did Rubber Glove and got FTP, I took a rest day then tried 10 min FTP interval but found it very hard and could only manage one rep and for all rep was bang on new FTP power it was lower than average power from 20 min Rubber Glove interval.

    Just wondering how long after rubber glove it takes to recover enough for FTP interval sessions?



    PS: Rubber Glove truly horrible :-))))

  • Pingback: Take It Indoors: Rubber Glove: Session 1/7 | Evans Cycles | Ride It Blog | News, reviews, how-tos()

  • Simmo271

    still not sure of how to determine the difference between 2/10 & say 6/10??

    • bvduck

      Hey Simmo — Did you do the test and then fill out the pdf worksheet that came with the video? It explains everything. The worksheet is called ‘FTPMap.pdf’ if you’re trying to find it on your computer.

      • http://batman-news.com Mauricio

        wait, these videos aren’t cheap and I don’t see how the response was helpful. the chart maps FTP, something that you are trying to achieve w/the rubber glove video. So how does ur answer to his question help understanding what 2/10 or 5/10 or 8.5/10 mean?? they video looks great, but if i and others can’t determine what you mean by those numbers, then your video is worthless, despite the music, etc. So, do u think maybe someone can put the answer very in lamens terms: what does 5/10 mean?

        • BrentM

          It says it right on the worksheet. “This is a universal measure (that doesn’t require any fancy gadgets) of how uncomfortable you are on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 1 being no effort at all and 10 in a complete world of pain as, say, during a flat-out 15 second sprint).”

  • Jerry Chapmon

    I downloaded, unzipped and viewed the video. I attempted to use the FTP Map PDF file but can’t enter any data. Any suggestions why the form is not working. The first paragraph is red lined out. I am using Windows 8, and not very good with it yet.

    • bvduck

      Hey Jerry — It’s not an interactive PDF, I’m afraid. You just have to print it out and write the numbers in old school style with a pen. : )

      • Jerry Chapmon

        Print, calculator, and pen…now that is suffering. Thank you.

        • Miaow

          Hi there could you refresh my mem on how to calculate the zones 2-10 using your FTP number thanks Colnago Master x-Light AD10 and Colnago C50

  • http://www.nerphy.com/ Diego Cattaneo

    Hi, I’m a Strava premium member and I’ve access to this video, but can’t access the related .pdf. Can I find a copy somewhere? thanks BTW great work with the videos!

  • Mark Anderson

    Hi, I know my max heart rate is 190 BPM, how can I translate that into the RPE zones?

    • Stephen Gallagher

      The RPE and HR/Power zones are all based on your Threshold HR and not Max, if you can get that figure you will be able to translate that to the RPE chart.

  • K2

    Who is the girl making eggs and can you embed that video in the corner of all other videos just in case we need something else to look at?

  • boardman411

    just did the Rubber Glove video, I thought the workout was hard enough.. Must have gone out too hard to start with… Anyway I’ve completed the movie and now working out my average heart rate against the PDF…

  • James

    is it possible to do the FTP test on a Wahoo Kickr?

    • Guest

      Yes, it’s actually very enjoyable, but you HAVE to know the trick. Ideally you’ll do this with some software like TrainerRoad. TrainerRoad automatically puts your trainer in ERG mode for the warm up and the spins (high cadence). The most important thing about doing this test on the Kickr is this – right before the actual testing interval, switch to your baby gear – small front, biggest on the back. This is key. typically on the Kickr you simply don’t want to shift. But in this workout if you don’t shift you will have the most difficult time turning the pedals (like horrible minons are blocking their progress). If you shift properly and then wait for TrainerRoad to put your Kickr in resistance mode, you can then rather easily shift to a gear that enables you to hold reasonable power at the ‘right’ cadence for you. In my case I like to spin (triathlete) so I do the test ~100 rpm. Before, when I wasn’t shifting I simply couldn’t do 30 rpm = too hard.

      First image without shifting (then struggling and eventually dialing in the power with ERG mode = a failed test) second image = what it looks like if you DO shift to baby gear going into the testing interval. Note that the output matches the target for the most part in ERG mode before the test, exactly as it should. Thanks to the FAQ page on TrainerRoad for the original explanation.

      • James Paul

        I did the rubber glove today and wished that I had read this post before. I was using the kickr with the trainerroad iOS app, I was coasting along nicely in the warm up period, moved into a middle gear ready for the off and then the kickr changed modes and that was it, speed/cadence plummeted. I just couldn’t recover after 7 minutes of the 20 minute test. The final verdict saw my ftp score drop 16 points however the effect was larger as on the previous test I had cramp for the final 5 minutes and had to just do enough to get through.

  • Ian

    I hate you, but I am off to make an omelette.

  • Dayle Mcyclen

    The last 5 minutes has you pushing for an 8.5 effort. Should I not be trying to go all out 10/10?

    • http://www.digdeepcoaching.com/ Stephen Gallagher

      During a FTP test you should be holding a pretty much solid effort throughout the duration, once you reach the last 5min you should be trying to get every last ounce out of your body but this will normally be at an intensity not much above your current effort if you have paced it well in first 15min. So yes you should be going FULL GAS in last 5min, but this will probably a effort not much more than you are currently at. The more tests you do the better you learn how to pace it and understand how much effort your body can push. Hope this helps.

  • Corey May

    Is the FTP (if using heart rate) supposed to be the avg over the whole video, or the avg HR over the 20 min. intense effort?

    • bvduck

      Hi Corey – It’s supposed to be the average over the 20 minute test.

  • http://damselflydevelopment.com/ John Hobson

    So if you do the 20min interval correctly should I be seeing a fairly flat heart rate output over that time without any significant dips? Or would you expect it to steadily rise, or fall?

    • http://www.digdeepcoaching.com/ Stephen Gallagher

      Hi John, With HR you can normally see a drift in your readings with a gradual rises over the duration. This depends from person to person also depending on their current fitness and begin able to sustain a constant power through the 20min.

      • http://damselflydevelopment.com/ John Hobson

        OK, thanks Stephen!

  • Jonny Boy

    Hi. Above info says to multiply ave power for the 20 min interval by 0.95 to get FTP. If you’re using a HRM to calculate FTP, I assume you do the same for ave heart rate achieved over the same period.

    • bvduck

      Hey Jonny – No, you use the actual average HR for that 20minute period.

      • Jonny Boy

        Cheers for this bvduck, although would have struggled to keep at 175 for an hour. Actually I would have self-combusted if I’d tried!! Am i getting the wrong end of the stick?

  • CORoadie

    Just picked up a Bluetooth HRM to work with my iPhone/Android (its complicated) and found that the HR, while it records in record mode doesn’t record when I am doing a Sufferfest video on the phone. Am I doing something wrong?

    • bvduck

      Hey – hmm. Not sure what’s going on, but perhaps your device doesn’t let you run two apps at the same time (assuming you’re doing our videos on our app). Best to get in touch with device manufacturer if stumped.