1 yr to maximize ftp

Pod cast keeps mentioning that a higher ftp is the cure for most things. I don’t race anymore so I’m not bound to peaking for events. I however am interested in trying an experiment over the course of a full yr to raise my ftp as much as possible within my time constraints. I lift 2 days a week get 1 long ride outside per week when it’s not ski season (during ski season I loose the outside ride and ski 1-2 days a week Dec- May) . I have time for the low volume plans. I’ve been using TR for a yr. Currently my ftp is 3.2. I was fast 20 yrs ago pre Coggins & ftp but at that time my power at vo2 was 5.7/kg so genetically I can go reasonably fast. Now I’m 40 real job kids. Any suggestions? Over the last yr I’ve done ssb1,2 short power build ssb2 short power , then the gravity speciality. Just to get some strength back. Now I think I can build an engine. Thinking
A) work through sustained power build & general build over & over
B) ssb1,ssb2 sustained power build then repeat ssb2 & sustained power over & over
C) alternate general build & 40k tt with Spanish needle mixed in twice a month or so just not to loose my pop
Open to suggestions please help cheers Jim

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I would say B) or some variation of it is your best bet. If you’re not racing I don’t think you need to do the Specialty plans. And if you just do an unmitigated diet of Build plans (option A) I think you’ll plateau, you need to do some Base work to build a bigger foundation and mix things up. A year is time for 2 full SSB1, SSB2, Build phases plus another 12 weeks, so you could try 2-3 different Build plans and see what works best for you.

I think your biggest challenge might be motivation, I know I would struggle to do a long period of structured indoor training without some kind of goal at the end of it (will happily train every day for a year without a race, but periods of that will just be training for fun and not following a plan). So unless you have a very high boredom threshold you should look at working in some variety which might mean more different plans rather than just repeating similar plans too much. And/or even if you don’t race maybe set some personal goals to go after. E.g. A long mountain climb (I assume you live near mountains if you ski every week) where you can go test yourself periodically. Might be a bit more satisfying creeping up the Strava rankings than just getting a number from an FTP test. Or a good local group ride where you can occasionally go and get a great workout and see how you measure up against other riders and are riding by feel not just power numbers.

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My suggestion to build ftp AND not burn out would be:
Ssb1, ssb2, build (sustained), ssb2, build (general)…then repeat starting with ssb1 again.

Nice mix with some v02 stuff to stop plateau. Don’t think makes much difference if do general or sustained build of no particular event so mix them up for variation. Agree best approach is base, build repeat - but don’t think ssb1 needed each repeat.


I would probably do some base work, and then build. And then do 2 weeks of vo2 max intervals 3 days a week, and then recover week, and start base + build again

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Thanks for the suggestions. Strava goals ( even beating my self sounds like good motivation and benchmarks ). I would consider racing again if I get over 4 per kg. Not to be snobby but at 3.2 I feel way under powered to race. At least compared to how I use to approach racing. I’m surprised that no one thinks that any speciality plans would help drive ftp better than build plans.

Depending on the region, you might be fine at 3.2 with strong race sense. It’s not always about winning, but, being in the game.

According to Coach Chad, the Specialty phase is all about honing fitness to a particular focus. FTP building is not a goal or priority at that point. Not to say it can’t or won’t improve, but he did not design plans in that phase in that way.

I wonder if adding in a small amount of VO2 work in SSB1 might help keep the FTP trending up.

Like if your doing the medium volume, maybe add in a short VO2 workout one time a week in addition to the other work.

I’ve done SSB1 a few times now, since I’ve been using TR for a few years now. And the second time around my FTP dropped during SSB1, but not much, so I didn’t worry. I just wonder if we need a little bit of work above FTP during the early base in the periodization cycle.

Like I said, I’m curious about this and to date only have an n+1 opinion.

As much VO2 work as you can stomach, rest, extensive threshold work working up to 40 minute intervals, rest. Repeat. If you have really awful endurance you could start with tempo work trying to get up to a 1x80 in z3 before you go into the VO2 work.

I had the same experience the second time through sweet spot base. FTP dropped 16 points after SSB1 (though, to be fair, I subbed a LOT of the workouts for outdoor rides, as the weather just got nice at that point).

Then…FTP went right back up 17 watts after SSB 2. Go figure haha.

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Haven’t had time to follow this advice, but its one of my favorite bookmarks:

results in an “up and to the right” FTP chart like this:

in summary, repeating this:

  • ssb1
  • ssb2
  • sustained build

has lead to long-term FTP increase for @julianoliver and in his experience repeating ssb1 offers a mental/physical break from the grind/intensity of SSB2 and Sustained Build.

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Try multiple days a week of 2x20 at SS and threshold levels.


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100% agree with this. I find SSB2 and Sustained Power Build to be really really difficult. You’re just grinding your body workout after workout for months. It’s physically and mentally draining over the long term. I find that I just need the 6 weeks of SSB1 to ease the pressure off so I can go at it again for another 14 weeks (SSB2 + Build). You do get 3 rest weeks included in there, but the ability to take a breather before another push is well worth it in my opinion.


Ya I was kinda wondering if ssb1 is really needed, if you have been on the bike and not de training ? I really only have time for low volume & some outdoor rides & strength. So hard to get cooked on such little volume. When I was younger and getting 20 hr weeks ya getting cooked was real concern. Love all the input from the community thanks everyone

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Here are two other options for adjusting the work/recovery week layout of Sweet Spot Base.

They can be handy for Masters age athletes or anyone else who has issues with the normal 5/1 layout.

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I had a similar experience.

I think after doing some good structured work inside. I naturally slipped into a polarized type of riding outside where I was in Z1 or low Z2 A LOT and also some super high zone work. But I neglected any hard zone 2 or sustained tempo or threshold.

I basically have had a problem with outside riding where I tend to end up riding with people where I’m one of the stronger people. But I should be riding with my race friends who are stronger than me, when doing outside rides.