When do you usually see the most FTP gain?

After doing a ramp test today, my FTP is way way down from where it was in the summer (from around 280 to 219 at roughly 68kgs). I guess that’s to be expected with less time on the bike and more in the gym.

I’m commited to using trainerroad this year rather than my usual 12 week sufferfest plan that I usually start in January. I’m about to start med SSB I.

My question is, which block do you usually see the biggest gain with FTP? I was toying with the idea of bumping up the suggested FTP straight away, but should I accept the easier workouts in the base phase will be worth it when the intensity comes in later blocks?

Looking forward to seeing what difference a longer term training plan has come summer!

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Build is usually the training phase with largest FTP change.


I’m in a similar situation… Did a ramp test with the tail end of a virus and definitely didn’t do my best… but am going with the suggested number for the first two weeks of mid volume SSB1. If after week 2 i’m finding the workouts far too easy then I’ll swap out one workout for another ramp test… I like to think I have a good grasp of how sweetspot workouts should feel, and there is a (big) part of me thinking I should be aiming for higher numbers just now but I’m going to trust the plan to start with and build up slowly. I’m definitely guilty of burying myself for a few months in the past, seeing big gains but then plateauing so hopefully this will be more sustainable.

I’ve done two full cycles of training and adhered to the plan pretty closely. The first time 100% complete and the second time I switched the Sunday ride for an outdoor ride. Both times through, I saw my largest improvement after SSB2.

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I always see my biggest gains right after doing 12 weeks of base. Either SSB or 12 wk IM base plan.


I go through base-build-specialty twice a year (for road and CX, respectively) with a ~two week gap in the middle where I do a bunch of outdoor volume (around 15-20h / week) with no specific interval training and no racing. It’s at the end of that ‘just riding around’ block that I test the highest using a variety of methods (8’x2, 20’, BSXinsight while it still worked, and now ramp). I’ve not seen more than a 2% improvement after build phase and sometimes seen a drop.

However, my race results do not correlate with FTP. In fact, they peak with late specialty phase. My conclusions are that (1) I’m already at my genetic limit as far as FTP (2) FTP calculations are good for setting the interval intensities in TR and (3) race performance is so much more than just a number measured on a trainer.


I’d be interested in hearing what coach Chad says for this specific question since he has said before that the final phases of training are icing on the cake.

When doing the 8 min test i haven’t made much improvements in ftp after short power build but I’m wondering if the ramp test results will go up after short power.

I’ve also gained the most ftp during base, specifically ssb ii.

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That icing analogy is about the Specialty phase (not build).

True, then i should clarify and say i wonder how many of the build plans are specific for raising ftp say vs short power or sustaining that ftp for longer periods.

Historically, base is when people focus on aerobic adaptions then focus more on suprathreshold work leading up to race prep. Having a really strong base lifts all boats, and the build is the start of race ready specificity, and biggest impact to fitness but not necessarily measured by ftp gains.

I usually see the largest FTP gains in the second half of SSB and the first half of General build.

I think this is for two reasons.

First is I’m generally starting my build after a period with a lack of structure, so having consistent training keeps me focused and driven so that while my volume stays the same my quality goes up significantly.

Second is that typically by the second half of build I’m getting reasonably close to what my peak FTP is for my current volume limitations such that I’m starting to squeeze into that last 1-2% gain.

If you’re coming from a lower fitness level or are generally untrained I’d expect to see the biggest gains in the first phases as your body adopts to the changes. Think of FTP gains like decreases in the world record for the marathon. When the record was new it was broken often and by significant margins. Now however it takes a lot to beat it by even a small margin. Your FTP will be the same - large gains as you start training that will get smaller as you approach your peak based on your genetics and amount of time spent training


This marketing blurb follows what they generally say on the podcast.

I generally see the biggest gains on my power curve around May/June, which is about late build for me.

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Was in a very similar situation re: much lower FTP after no training. Don’t be tempted to up the wattage in the beginning! You’ll pay for it and more likely burnout. Better to accept you are where you are (as hard as that is!). Once you’ve got a few workouts behind you you can begin increasing the wattage for individual intervals.

FWIW - I find the ramp test underestimates what can I hold for sweetspot intervals compared to the 8 min or 20 min tests but is bang on for the higher intensity work. But that’s just me.


Hey Chad! Are you saying that from your personal experience? Or based on what TR and Coach @chad often say?

Because like others here I’ve often found my biggest gains in Sweet Spot base phases. Which always leaves me wondering, what am I doing wrong in build? Or, what does that say about my fitness?


Mainly repeating what the TR crew says.

My experience varies. I see gains in both. I’m sure some of the FTP gain for me in Base is the pure fact of coming in with low fitness.

So I think it is likely to vary with rider and training history.

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started TR last November and went from 270 (95kg) to 310 (89kg) at a steady rate using SSB1, SSB2 AND General Build. Then I pretty much stopped using TR in May/June time and re tested last week at 341 at 85kg.

I think I learnt so much about training just from using TR in those winter months that I applied them to my outdoor rides. This helped massively.

Looking forward to seeing what this winter brings! Would love to see if I can get up to 4.5w/kg!


This is my n=1 experience. I experienced the most FTP gain during sweet spot base. Last year my FTP had dropped from 265 to 230 or so and over the summer/fall of 2017 I did SSB and regained lost FTP and even got to 275. I did general build but didn’t experience any additional FTP gains, and even did another round of SSB II over the summer as a leadup to CX season, and haven’t gotten anymore. I think 275, or at most 280, might be my ceiling, though. I’ve got plenty of areas to improve on as far as being able to put out high power for short periods, so there’s always something to improve besides FTP!


@dbf, I used to see the biggest gains in FTP with riders doing more traditional base plans. But with the Sweet Spot emphasis in place of LSD, it’s becoming really common for the comparatively bigger bumps in FTP to take place during 12 weeks of SSB. Then, the Build plans become more about building stamina at that higher FTP but still with some subtler rises in FTP. Then, of course, the specialization phase is about refinement and specificity, though certain plans/disciplines can still yield increases in FTP even at this late, pre-peak stage.


Thanks @chad! That’s helpful and reassuring :slightly_smiling_face:

This lines up with my personal experience. SSB is giving me good bumps in FTP, but I feel stronger after Build even though I’m not necessarily seeing that reflected in the Ramp Test. The power is more accessible, I can recover better and repeat the efforts more frequently.