16 years ago my FTP was 300 watts, or ~4 watts/Kg. Now, at 50 and completely untrained, my FTP is half what it used to be. My VO2 max has fallen from 52 to 45 in the intervening years. I feel like I should still be able to make decent power. Is there hope for me? I’m kind of hoping I was ill during the test, but honestly I felt pretty good, the legs just turned to stone. I almost wish I’d remained blissfully ignorant!
You are not your FTP!
Seriously, it’s a number for reference and as a base to start training. Frame it properly, set some goals and head on about your business. No reason to fret about the past or what might have been.
Start where you are and aim to improve.
Maybe 300 is an achievable number for you again. Ya never know.
Of course there is hope! If you’re untrained, then you’ll be at you current base level, so take it as just a number at a point in time and if you want to improve again, then train properly and consistently. Forget the numbers you had when you were in your 30’s, this is a new era!
And whilst some of my club mates haven’t perhaps had much of a hiatus as you, they’re as fit in their early 50’s as I am in my early 40s.
There is definitely hope!! And luckily, you’re in the right place for getting faster.
Now that you’ve found your starting point from the Ramp Test, you’ll be able to start building that fitness back up again. Check out some of these handy links for getting started with training with TR:
Just remember that consistent training over time is key. We’re stoked to have you on board with us! Feel free to ping me with any questions you may have.
Of course ! I’m 50 this year and chasing 300 (then4 w/kg later hopefully) for the first time, this time last year had multiple fractures couldn’t walk. Didn’t even know if i would cycle again.
Seize the moment while you can in life. With consistency and good recovery you might do even more than you think you can.
Yep there is hope, and just think of all the wins on the way up
Awesome, thanks so much for the helpful words. I have an adaptive training plan and looking forward to the journey!
If you are completely untrained and your VO2 off the couch is 45 (assuming you had that properly tested and it’s correct) you are doing much better than most people your age. Have fun with the training and welcome back!
Untrained you are likely to see great gains if you are consistent. But don’t see FTP as a measure of your worth and compare it to a much younger self or others. It’s just a number for where you are now, so your workouts are achievable and you can progress.
Just remember…. You Never Have To Do Another Ramp Test EVER Again!!!
Totally possible. 51 here with an FTP hovering a little over 300 the past few summers. Trying to drop some weight and increase the volume a fair amount (from 5-7 to 10-12) to see how much higher I can push it, and am reasonably (and cautiously) optimistic.
I don’t test it, but after a month off the bike my ftp will feel like its dropped near 150w. I wouldn’t be too worried if coming in near untrained, it will likely start to come back much quicker than it ever did.
Start to feel old and sorry for yourself if after a year of training your FTP is low.
Dont forget as well power meters 16 years ago weren’t as obvious if they weren’t accurate as no one had a baseline, as 99% of people didnt know or care what power was instead of 90% do. And because of that the technology wasn’t there either to make it readily available.
If you’ve done it before you’ll do it again. I took 20 years off and it came back in months. Same with strength training. The body remembers.
Yep, I think this is the bottom line. You’ve likely lost some explosiveness from when you were a kid (and by “kid” I mean 20’s ), but the muscles and power can come back surprisingly fast.
Good podcast episode with some context for ftp as training metric Watts Doc #39: Why You Probably Can't Hold Your FTP For An Hour - Empirical Cycling