Is the Functional Threshold Power Interchangeable With the Maximal Lactate Steady State in Trained Cyclists?

Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2019 Sep 1;14(8):1029-1035. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2018-0572.


Purpose: Functional threshold power (FTP), determined as 95% of the average power during a 20-min time trial, is suggested as a practical test for the determination of the maximal lactate steady state (MLSS) in cycling. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to determine the validity of FTP in predicting MLSS.

Methods: A total of 15 cyclists, 7 classified as trained and 8 as well trained (mean [SD] maximal oxygen uptake 62.3 [6.4] mL·kg-1·min-1, maximal aerobic power 329 [30] W), performed an incremental test to exhaustion, an FTP test, and several constant-load tests to determine the MLSS. The bias ± 95% limits of agreement (LoA), typical error of the estimate (TEE), and Pearson coefficient of correlation (r) were calculated to assess validity.

Results: For the power-output measures, FTP presented a bias ± 95% LoA of 1.4% ± 9.2%, a moderate TEE (4.7%), and nearly perfect correlation (r = .91) with MLSS in all cyclists together. When divided by training level, the bias ± 95% LoA and TEE were higher in the trained group (1.4% ± 11.8% and 6.4%, respectively) than in the well-trained group (1.3% ± 7.4% and 3.0%, respectively). For the heart-rate measurement, FTP presented a bias ± 95% LoA of -1.4% ± 8.2%, TEE of 4.0%, and very large correlation (r = .80) with MLSS.

Conclusion: Therefore, trained and well-trained cyclists can use FTP as a noninvasive and practical alternative to estimate MLSS.

Keywords: cycling; performance; time trial; validity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaerobic Threshold*
  • Athletes
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood*
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption


  • Lactic Acid