Throughout our website, blogs and Training sessions you may come across some terms you may not be aware of. We have put together this easy to follow glossary that should help you understand the consistently changing world of training.


What is power?

Power = energy per unit of time and is expressed in Watts.

The human body requires food for energy. This energy we deliver performance, for example, a time trial of 40 kilometres on a bike. When we talk about human power, we are talking about the speed that a person can travel on one’s own for a longer period of time. Power is the term used to describe energy per unit of time.

How is Power Measured?

On the bike, trainer, Power can be measured as the amount of force or torque generated at the Cranks, pedals or hub multiplied by the speed or angular velocity of the cranks, pedals or hub.
Power output is a product of how hard you push on the pedals and how fast you are pedalling. To produce more power, you can either push harder or pedal faster. Simple, the higher your power output, the faster you go.


A common unit used to express effort or intensity amongst cyclists and sport scientist.


The amount of pressure applied to the cranks, pedals or rear hub.
Power divided by velocity.


A force applied through a turning axis at a point some distance away from that axis.

Force x Distance.

Peak Sustainable Power or Peak Power

The highest average power output that can be held for a given duration.

For most individuals a peak sustainable power or peak power output lasting 4 to 8 minutes is equivalent to an intensity known as VO2 max.

For most individuals a peak sustainable power output lasting 20 to 40 minutes is simular to an intensity of their lactate threshold.

For most individuals a peak sustainable power output lasting 40 minutes to 2 hours is similar to an intensity of their Aerobic threshold.

FTP,  Functional Threshold Power

Most agree that your Functional Threshold Power is the maximal power output you can sustain for the duration of one hour.  It’s NOT your “average” power.  As average has a different meaning in a power context to “sustained”.

Power Training Levels


% of FTP


Based on rider with Functional Threshold Power of 300 watts


Active Recovery



Active recovery, spinning


Endurance, (Aerobic Threshold)



2 hours plus steady.


Tempo (Hard Aerobic)



Strong tempo up to 2 hours.


Lactate Threshold (LT) (Anaerobic Threshold)



20min to 60min TT pace





3-8 minute interval pace





1-3 minute interval pace




Jump Intervals

Peak Power Curve

The relationship between time and a person’s capacity to maintain a given power output. In general, the highest peak absolute power outputs occur in short 1 to 5 second burst, with a rapid drop between 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and a slower drop between 5 minutes to an hour, and a subtle downward slope in power from an hour on.

NP – Normalized Power

An estimate of the power the rider could have maintained for the same physiological “cost” if the output power was constant.

IF – Intensity Factor

Comparison (ratio) of a ride’s normalized power to the rider’s threshold value.

TSS – Training Stress Score

A value based on a ride’s duration and intensity (IF). 100 points equals a one hour ride at rider’s FTP

Training Zones

Active Recovery,  less than(watts x.50% ) ( h/rate .65 to .80) (PRE 3 TO 5)Super easy recovery rides.1 to 2 hours. Suggested Cadence above 90 rpm. This intensity can be held as long as the athlete can maintain a supply of carbohydrates.

Endurance (Aerobic Threshold),  (watts x.51% to .69%) (h/rate .81 to .87) (PRE  5 TO 6 )  Build that aerobic base, 2 to 6 hours. Easy riding,  Suggested cadence 85 to 100 rpm A moderate to hard exercise intensity where the stress is controlled for long periods of time.

Tempo / Hard Aerobic.  (watts x.70 to .83.) (h/rate .88 to .92) (PRE 6 TO 7) Strong but steady training. Just below (5 to 7 beats) Anaerobic Threshold pace. 1 to 3 hours. Suggested cadence 90 to 100. For Aerobic endurance work (big gear stuff) 65 to 70 rpm. (1 to 2 hours)

Aerobic Threshold,  (Lactate Threshold. LT) . (watts 84 to .97%) (h/rate .93 to 100) (PRE 7.5 TO 8.5) Intervals ranging from 5mins to 20 mins in duration. Rest 1:0.5 or 1:1 Ratio. Suggested cadence, 90 to 100.

An intensity where the production of lactate in the blood exceeds the removal of lactate from the blood.

V02,   (watts .98 TO 111) (h/rate 101 to 105) (PRE 8.5 TO 9.5) Short intervals up to 5 mins in duration. Rest 1:2 to 1:3 Ratio. Suggested cadence 85 to 120 rpm.

An intensity that causes the body to reach its maximal capacity to consume oxygen

Anaerobic   (watts.112 above.) (h/rate 106+) (PRE 10) Very short explosive intervals, 5 sec up to 15 secs. Rest 1:4+. Suggested cadence, 85 to 130rpm.

A very short, all out effort that exceeds the power output associated with VO2 max or a person’s max zone.

Training terms:


The number of pedal revolutions per minute.


A measure of energy when a fuel is burned.


The actual or perceived difficulty of a workout or ride.

The power output or rate of energy expended.

The degree of difficulty.

Perceived Rate of Exertion (PRE)

An individual’s rating of effort or intensity typically scored on a 1 to 10 scale where 1 is equal to rest and 10 is equal to a maximal or all out effort.

Rest Interval (RI)

The amount of rest between intervals or sets


The distance travelled  over a period of time eg kilometers per hour


The energy transferred when a force is applied.

The amount of energy released over a time period.

Elevation, (Hills)

Elevation Gain or Rise

The total vertical distance in feet or meters travelled or climbed over a given distance ridden.

Percent Grade

The increase in elevation divided by the distance travelled multiplied by100

To rank the difficulty of a climb that is based on a combination of the length, grade, and location of the climb on the course. A category 1 climb is considered the most difficult while a category 4 climb is considered the least difficult.

EASY  Grade or Hill (Category 4 climb)

A road with a percent grade between 2 to 4%.

Moderate Grade or Hill (Category 3,2 climb)

A road with a percent grade between 4 to 6%

Steep Grade or Hill (Category 1 climb)

A road with a percent grade between 6 to 8%

Hors Category Climb

A climb that is so difficult that it is beyond categorization.

Any climb longer and steeper than a category 1 climb.

The most difficult climb in the Tour de France.