Your FTP improvements


#1

Would be nice to how much your FTP improved with what training plan.


FTP % gains following plan completions
Trainerroad User Percentage Tables
#2

I began just under a year ago and it was my first experience with structured training.

October 2017: 225
after SS Mid 1: 256
after SS Mid 2: 272
after Sustained Power Build: 284
after Rolling RR Specialty: 293 (May 2018)

Then I didn’t follow any plans all summer. Rode mostly outdoors, a few races, and indoors 1-2 a week. Felt a little burnt in late July, just in time for a weeklong vacation and break from riding.
Started Short Power Build Low volume about a month ago.

Latest FTP (Sept 2018): 299

I think my days of big FTP gains are long over, but I am looking forward to a 5-6 WATT improvement within the next couple of months.


#3

We are almost ftp twins so I hope o get a similar gain to you that would be incredible


#4

I startet with 260 W in October 2016.
One year later i was around 300W and now i’m at 312W.
In summer time i didn’t realy stick to a plan.


#5

I think some of my big early gains can be attributed to learning how to test more effectively. at least that first jump from 225 - 256


#6

Yes I did my first test last week but certainly had more in the tank


#7

Started TR beginning of August. Hadn’t ridden too much this year. 1,550 miles on the year. Mountain biker.
August FTP - 295 - at start of sweet spot base mid volume (I think I was fatigued when I took the test. First workout was difficult but every one after that was easy so maybe it should have been higher.)
September FTP - 315 - at start of short power build mid volume
4.31 w/kg


#8

When I first started structured training May 2017 I tested at 232 (3.2 w/kg) after a couple try’s at testing, and then after a consistent 12 weeks of SSB I & II I went up to 271 (3.85 w/kg) for September 2017. A variety of sicknesses have kept me around 260 since but can’t wait to see what a consistent round of Build will do.


#9

Thanks. Just be consistent, stay motivated and you will see those number go up!
I didn’t mention that I lost around 25 lbs over the past year- i went from 2.4 w/kg ----> 3.7 w/kg


#10

@PhatNinja, certainly the first several months of training have an effect on FTP, but you are correct that a lot of large gains have more to do with knowing how to test, but also your ability and willingness/motivation to really hurt. Reminds me of an old cycling quote “it doesn’t ever get easier, you just go faster!”

On a separate note, a lot of people spend winter building based on a plan and as soon as they are primed to do the super hard efforts, the weather gets nice and they head outside to enjoy cycling properly LOL. A lot of times as cyclists we push FTP up with sweet spot and hone it with LT threshold intervals. There has been a lot of scientific studies that suggest that higher intensities become necessary at a certain point to see gains. If you haven’t tried doing a block of intense VO2 Max intervals, to raise your ceiling, and then revisit another Sweet spot base and build to push up FTP under that new ceiling.

Congrats on the huge gains you made, but I suspect you might still have meaningful improvements to make. Which could be exciting for 2019!


#11

Hi all,

This will be my first winter of structured training.

I just started SSB Low Volume I, 3 weeks ago. Ramp test gave me a 180 FTP.
At 70kgs or 154lbs this gives me a 2,57watt per kg.

So far it has been hard but doable and I am getting used to the training stress.


#12

I’ve used trainerroad for several years, but last spring 2017 I decided to really try and follow some plans as I sought to regain fitness after dropping from a 265 ftp in October 2016 to about 235 over that winter. I followed the sweet spot base high volume pretty religiously and by the time I got done with it my FTP was 275. Over this past winter/spring, I did a general build but didn’t experience any improvements and I haven’t even through a bunch of riding this summer and doing the CX specialty program.

I’m not sure why I’m plateauing, maybe I shouldn’t try to do high volume build stuff. Personally, I think maybe I’ve maxed out my FTP (I’ve seen Andrew Coggan posit on slowtwitch that the average person might max out at just under 4w/kg), so I’m ok with that because I can always work on my ability to handle over threshold efforts.


#13

@ravivw That is really sound advice! This is actually where I am at right now- learning how my body adapts to higher intensity. I’ve been doing lots of VO2 and anaerobic workouts in preparation from cross season, and I can feel myself getting stronger. Thanks for the encouragement


#14

@Twan-v-B, Congrats on starting a structured plan. Just stick with the progression and don’t get ahead of yourself, you will see huge gains. Cyclists have dreams for years about their first winter using structured training wishing they could recapture the time when every test FTP kept going up insane amounts lol. Great choice, enjoy the journey. Feel free to ask any questions, just enjoy it and keep the motivation up!


#15

@PhatNinja, if you think about highly trained cyclists, their ftp will usually be around 80-85% of their VO2 Max power. To put that in perspective, a pro with an FTP around 400 watts, likely can average 470-500 watts for around 5 mins. Technically, everyone is different and VO2 Max can be held for different durations ranging from 4-7 mins. 5 minute power tends to be a good surrogate however. Since cycling tends to be an endurance sport, most people take somewhat of a cross country approach of going long and slow or mixing it up with Sweet Spot which is phenomenal training because it induces adaptations without overstressing the body. However, how does a cross-country runner run a 4 minute mile, or a cyclist set a PR for 5 minute power? After building a base that will allow higher stress training, you eventually have to do 30 sec, 1 minute and 3-5 minute repeats at crazy high levels so your body can handle that level of pain or sadism. You might surprise yourself at what your 5 minute power can be, and then realize that your FTP can be built up underneath that.

Suppose we take a psychological approach to our training. When you first do an FTP test, we almost all undershoot our FTP, because we have a fear of going out to hard and failing or blowing up. Rare is the new cyclist that just hammers it and explodes after 5 minutes of a 20 minute test, although they are fun to watch when said rarity is seen LOL. How does that manifest itself in our cycling however? I would argue that most of us take that same cautious approach and “limit” ourselves, myself included.

I think they discussed this on one of the podcasts, the mental approach that the brain has an incredible effect on limiting our bodies actual capabilities. For example, the first time you went off the front of a race, did you go all out or try to average a number you thought you could hold for 15-20 minutes? In general, endurance athletes tend to use the mental approach of halving their way towards PR’s. So we test at 250 FTP, our next 20 min test (or ramp test :wink: which is a great alternative and somewhat addresses parts of this issue ) you might go out at 250 the first half, and then bump it the second half of the test, which feels “safe”. Then in a race or group ride you find yourself alone either off the front of on a climb, and you settle in at that number for safety. Now that happens to be sensible and once you are a highly tuned athlete, may even be a fantastic approach, but it limits us as we grow. In other sports you learn to fail, and then try again. In cycling there is a lot of vanity, we don’t want to fail a “test” for example. In turn, we slowly push FTP up and eventually find that we can hold 300w for 20 minutes. When faced with a 12 minute effort, we try to extrapolate mentally how much above that 20 minutes power we can safely go without failure, same for 6 minutes.

The other mental approach, which can still coincide with normal training periodization, is to max out 30 second efforts, and over time as you progress as a cyclist, you find “hey I can now hold my previous best 30 second power for 1 min!” then what used to be a 1 min max you try to hold for 2 minutes and eventually can hold for 5 minutes. In this mental approach, you are gaining confidence from knowing that you can do it for 1 minute, and over time trying to hold it for longer periods. When you extrapolate that out and really know what you can hold steady for 5 minutes at max effort, not just the highest you’ve done in the midst of a ride or a race which was most likely limited by your not wanting to overexert yourself and get dropped, yes I’ve done that too LOL. With this approach you are trying to stretch know powers for longer periods utilizing structured training to build muscular endurance but also confidence. When we view it from the lens of “I wonder if I can do x for 2 mins longer?” as opposed to “I wonder how many extra watts I can push for a slightly shorter period?” They both are guestimates and both will have failure associated, but I would propose that the latter, will never get you to your absolute limit. Just as in math class, you are just halving yourself towards the limit, and over time you get pretty darn close to what that limit is. But is that our real physical limit, or just the one that our brains have limited us too to keep us safe? :thinking:


#16

Im sure you may know this but that is an awesome quote and I believe it was by Lemond. Which shows my age as I still riding a Lemond, a 2001 Lemond Zurich :slight_smile:


#17

I started riding April in 2017 to lose weight and get some excersize. Rode for about 14 months and built myself up. Then I just wasn’t getting any faster and I started to research online and found trainerroad, so I bought an indoor trainer and in July of 2018 I started sweet spot base mid level 1. I honestly thought my FTP was going to be around 220ish based on my avg speed ect. Boy was I wrong. I did the first ramp test and tested at 165 FTP. I was very disappointed. Finished the first plan and retested at 189 FTP. Went out for a few rides and wow what a difference, I actually broke almost all my strava segment records the first ride outside, I couldn’t believe it. What a difference just 24 ftp made. So now I am on week 3 of sweet spot base mid level 2 and cant wait to see what I test at when it is over. One other thing is I lost 12 lbs during sweet spot base 1 so I assume that had a lot to do with my new found speed as well.


#18

Began Feb 2, 2018: 182w
Sweet Spot LVII: 196w
Sustained Power MV: 222w
General Build MV: 236w
Currently Finishing Specialty Century MV Plan with 236w FTP

First crack at structured training


#19

I didn’t get a power meter until 3 months after I started training. Before that it was embarrassingly lo-tech “structured” training of my own design.

I kind of guesstimated my starting FTP using various formulas etc, and then did a few proper 20-min tests with the PM.

March: 200?
June: 307 (@4.87 w/kg)
August: Eating
September: 251 – joined TR


#20

Started TR last May 2018 with 228W FTP. Currently at 250W, not able to follow the plans to the letter but still improving.