Functional Threshold Power: Relationship With Respiratory Compensation Point and Effects of Various Warm-Up Protocols

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: The functional threshold power (FTP), which demarcates the transition from steady state to non-steady-state oxidative metabolism, is usually determined with a 20-minute cycling time trial that follows a standard ∼45-minute warm-up. This study aimed to determine if the standard warm-up inherent to FTP determination is actually necessary and how its modification or removal affects the relationship between FTP and the respiratory compensation point (RCP). Methods: A total of 15 male cyclists (age 35 [9] y, maximum oxygen uptake 66.4 [6.8] mL·kg−1·min−1) participated in this randomized, crossover study. Participants performed a ramp test for determination of RCP and maximum oxygen uptake. During subsequent visits, they performed a 20-minute time trial preceded by the “standard” warm-up that is typically performed before an FTP test (S-WU), a 10-minute warm-up at the power output (PO) corresponding to 60% of maximum oxygen uptake (60%-WU), or no warm-up (No-WU). FTP was computed as 95% of the mean PO attained during the time trial. Results: Although the FTP was correlated with the RCP independently of the warm-up (r = .89, .93, and .86 for No-WU, 60%-WU, and S-WU, respectively; all Ps < .001), the PO at RCP was higher than the FTP in all cases (bias ± 95% limits of agreement = 57 [24], 60 [23], and 57 [32] W for No-WU, 60%-WU, and S-WU, respectively; all Ps < .001 and effect size > 1.70). Conclusions: The FTP is highly correlated with the RCP but corresponds to a significantly lower PO, being these results independent of the warm-up performed (or even with no warm-up).

Barranco-Gil, Gil-Cabrera, Alejo, Montalvo-Pérez, Talavera, Moral-González, and Lucia are with the Faculty of Sport Sciences, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Madrid, Spain. Valenzuela is with the Dept of Systems Biology, University of Alcalá, Madrid, Spain, and the Dept of Sport and Health, Spanish Agency for Health Protection in Sport (AEPSAD), Madrid, Spain. Lucia is also with the Instituto de Investigación Hospital 12 de Octubre (‘i+12’), Madrid, Spain.

Gil-Cabrera (jaime.gil@universidadeuropea.es) is corresponding author.
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