When it comes to measuring ability, your Functional Threshold Power doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, your power-based abilities are a lot more dynamic than you may realize. That’s where Progression Levels come in—Progression Levels are a real-time measurement of your power-based abilities in each power zone. You can use them to train your strengths, target limiters, and better understand how your training is impacting your fitness. 


What Are Progression Levels? 

Within the boundaries of your functional threshold power, you have individual power-based skills and abilities. In TrainerRoad, your unique ability to express power in individual training zones is represented by your Progression Levels. Progression Levels are a dynamic metric that quantifies your power-based abilities in all seven power zones. As your fitness changes, your Progression Levels adjust to reflect those changes. Progression Levels are designed to help guide Adaptive Training’s specific plan adjustments as well as to provide you with insight on your abilities as they grow and change. 

Example of a TrainerRoad Progression Levels Chart

You’ll find seven Progression Levels on your career page (one level for every power zone). Each level is individually measured on a scale from one to ten, with one representing the baseline and ten representing the highest level of ability at any given FTP. In general, your Progression Levels will start out in the lower range as you begin a training block. As you progress through workouts and training weeks your Progression Levels will change to reflect your development in each zone.  

What Affects Progression Levels?

Progression Levels adjust based on completed workouts, the relative difficulty of the workouts, and your performance in the workouts. In TrainerRoad, workouts are categorized by difficulty and training zone with Workout Levels, so you’ll always have a sense of how difficult your workout is likely to be in proportion to your current levels. After completing a workout, Adaptive Training analyzes your performance and adjusts your levels in response. When you successfully complete a workout categorized in a particular training zone, you might see changes in the related Progression Level as well as other ones that are residually impacted by increased fitness in that zone.

Progression Levels also respond to FTP changes and time off. When you spend an extended period away from the bike, Progression Levels adjust to reflect the natural decline in performance that happens when we aren’t training. This helps ensure that when you return to training your workouts remain productive. Similarly, when your FTP increases your levels will lower so that your upcoming workouts aren’t suddenly more difficult.

The Benefits of Progression Levels

While Progression Levels are a complex calculation of many factors, using them couldn’t be simpler. Here are some benefits you can expect when you take advantage of Progression Levels.

1. Understand Your Developing Fitness 

With Progression Levels, you can thoroughly understand your fitness and how it’s changing. That way, when it comes to time to race, reach for a goal, or simply go out and conquer a big training ride, you’ll have a better understanding of your capabilities. Knowing how your abilities are developing in response to your training can help you grow your strengths and target limiters too. 

As you become familiar with Progression Levels, you can gain insight into which zones are challenging for you and which ones you excel at. For example, you may start to notice that every time you have a sweet spot workout on the Calendar, you have no trouble nailing every interval. As a result, your Sweet Spot Progression is quickly creeping upwards. When it comes to your VO2 Max workouts, though, maybe you’ve had a few workouts where the intervals are a bit too intense. As a result, your Sweet Spot Progression Level increases more rapidly than your VO2 Max level, making your relative strengths apparent. With this in mind, you can tailor your preparation to your individual needs. That could be as simple as spending a little extra effort on fueling or your mindset before VO2 Max workouts.

2. Gain Insight Into Your Training Plan

Every TrainerRoad plan follows the Base, Build, Speciality progression to develop the specific fitness needed for your goals As a result, your Progression Levels will coincide with the specific phase of your plan. As a result, Checking your Progression Levels after workouts is an excellent way to gain insight into your training plan too.

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If for example, you’re doing a Sweet Spot Base phase, most of the workouts you’re completing are sustained power-based workouts. As a result, you’re likely to see more growth in your Endurance and Sweet Spot levels than your Anaerobic Capacity or VO2 Max levels. With that said, it’s important to note that your Progression Levels won’t always change after a successful workout. For example, if you complete a workout that’s categorized lower than your current Progression Level, your level for that zone won’t lower. It will remain the same. 

3. Use Your Levels to Choose Workouts

If you’re building a training plan or choosing workouts on the fly, Progression Levels can be a great tool for choosing productive workouts. To find workouts that fit your current Progression levels, use the filters in the TrainerRoad library to find workouts that are within range of your current Progression Levels. If you don’t want to go through the effort of manually choosing a workout, TrainNow uses your Progression Levels to inform its intelligent workout recommendations.

When you’re following a training plan with Adaptive Training, you can also use Progression levels to better understand your training and how Adaptive Training is making adjustments. When you look at your Progression Levels alongside the Workout Levels in your training plan, you’ll get a clear picture of how it’s targeting your current abilities.  

Progression Levels FAQ

Q: Where Can I Find my Progression Levels? 

You’ll find your Progression Levels on your Career page. Your Career page is available on the TrainerRoad app and your online TrainerRoad account. If you’re not seeing your Progression Levels in the TrainerRoad app, you may l need to update the app to see them.

Q: Why Didn’t My Progression Levels Change After a Workout? 

Your progression levels don’t always change after every workout. When your performance in a workout aligns with your current Progression Levels, those Progression Levels won’t change. When you successfully complete a workout above your current Progression Level, your level will adjust to reflect your higher capabilities.

Q: Why Did my Progression Levels Adjust After a Ramp Test? 

Your FTP is a decisive factor in how challenging your workouts are relative to your abilities. When your FTP goes up, your Progression Levels adjust downward proportionately. This is to prevent a sudden increase in workout intensity caused by a higher FTP and facilitate a smoother progression through your training plan.

Q: Why Didn’t My Progression Levels Change After My FTP Lowered? 

If you complete an FTP test and your new FTP is lower than your previous FTP, your Progression Levels won’t change. A lower FTP naturally lowers the overall difficulty of your workouts for you as an individual. Adaptive Training will only lower your Progression Levels if you have trouble completing workouts with your new FTP and Progression Levels.



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Meghan Kelley

Meghan Kelley is a writer, XC MTB racer, and an all-around fan of trails, rocks, dirt, and the desert. She's passionate about helping cyclists get faster and finding the best mid-ride snacks.