I started tr back in 2018 and got to an ftp of 270 after build. 2019 started at 250 and got to a peak of 263. I tried adding petit on Wednesdays but it put me into a hole and ftp dropped to 230. I took all of December off the bike and came back in 2020 with and ftp of 226 and quickly jumped back up to 255 within 5 or so rides but my progress has stopped once again. I have since switched power meters from kinetic inride to a 4iiii and have a new ftp of 238 on the first ramp test with a new pm. I did a 2nd ramp test yesterday and dropped to 232. I can’t figure it out. Training and diet has been consistent throughout all of this with a few tweaks here and there. I am honestly getting frustrated seeing everyone’s progress on Instagram and here I am stuck . I think it would just be nice to know that I am not the only one out here not getting any stronger.
While I’m not in the same boat as you, I have been before. I would first recommend to not focus on Instagram posts/stories of progress, it will more than likely just get you down. Sounds like you took a good break in December which is good, I was going to recommend to take a little time off if you hadn’t. Are you incorporating a rest week every 3-5 weeks in your training? Is it a true rest week?
I’m not sure if you’re doing a full TR plan or not. If you are not, are you incorporating your intervals after rest/recovery days? To get the right adaption, it’s important you are well rested so you can completely get the most workout benefit. To add to this, your body need progressive overload to get better. Are you increasing your workload whether in intensity or volume?
Other than this, I would look at making sure your ramp tests are consistent. Go into a ramp test at a similar time of day if possible after a similar amount of rest. With the same pre-meal if possible too.
Lots of variables and lots of questions, but the most important is going to be the overload, recovery, and consistency
don’t use ftp as a measure of progress. you are training for events, races or other actual cycling activities. you train to be able to perform in these events. repeat efforts, over a long duration. look for improvements in endurance and your ability to work at high %'s of your ftp.
My overall power and speed hasn’t changed all that much over the past few years, but my ability to maintain race pace has continued to grow. I can essentially ride at race pace without fading for around 3x as long as I used to. Maybe you’re going through something similar?
While I fully understand the thrill and motivation that comes from watching the numbers go up, if that’s all you have to fuel you for motivation it’s going to be really hard and not very rewarding or fun. I would try and find a race you want to a do, or a gran fondo or any kind of fun challenging thing that interests you on the bike, and then make that your focus. Still is frustrating when the numbers don’t move, but it’s not as big a part of your focus.
Also, FTP is just a number, there are tons of other ways you can improve and get better on the bike and have your FTP not budge. For example My FTP probably hasn’t changed (it might even have dropped) over the past 5 weeks, but I can ride for a whole hell of a lot longer in certain zones before I decouple. Those are huge improvements, it’s just not some glorious all encompassing number that everyone talks about so it’s easy to not get excited about it.
Also, maybe it’s just time to hire a coach or increase your training volume and long term consistency if you want to get to the next level.
Anyone else? Yes, plenty.
Here is a search result of the related threads with existing discussion and suggestions:
I think I’m in a very similar position to you. My FTP sits around 230. It dips to 200 or so if have a break. It rises to 270 when I put in some solid training.
I wonder if my plateau is just my natural level? Like the amount of time I have to train and recover with my family and work commitments means that anyone would have similar numbers. If I could change jobs etc then maybe I would be able to train more than LV and get my numbers up.
I also take social media with a pinch of salt. Or a drip of oil. We naturally only take photos on holiday on a beach, edit selfies so we don’t have too many chins or post our FTP when it’s gone up. If that’s the filter that everyone is applying then you only get to see improvements. And I imagine that there are plenty of casual riders who are now putting in a consistent training plan and are obviously making the gains you or I would make if we had been casual and then got serious.
So. If I keep doing what I’ve always done, then I’ll always get the FTP I always did. I think I can accept that (unless I change jobs/win lottery). I also apply a mental filter on social media that there’s only sunny photos.
I hadn’t thought about it that way. This has been different I the way I can do a hard workout after a ramp test vs. being completely wrecked before. I have also noticed my hr drops a lot quicker in the rest intervals. Not sure what this means but it is a little encouraging. I don’t race so it’s all just for general fitness and group rides so a higher number helps to keep me motivated, but I will start paying attention to these other things also. Hopefully that will help out. I do think it is interesting how I seem to top out right in this range though.
I’ve been frustrated with my rate of FTP change.
Over the last couple of year I have gotten way fitter. My endurance has vastly improved. I can easily do 5 hour rides now. My last tested FTP was 272 and for a brief instant in January it felt a lot higher.
My power at my MAF heart rate has zoomed up much more than FTP. A few years ago it was 150 watts @ 125bpm. I started polarized base training last spring and it went to 175 watts, and now it’s around 210-215 watts at the same 125bpm. That is huge because I can ride all day at 210 watts now whereas before I would have quickly blown up.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s my smart trainer (Tacx Vortex). If I try to pedal at 300 watts (110%) it feels exponentially hard like there is no way ever that my FTP will get that high. I’ve done above FTP efforts on the road to hold the wheels of faster riders and it doesn’t feel so impossibly hard.
In conclusion, I’m happy with my overall fitness but a bit unhappy that FTP hasn’t went up higher. Sometimes I feel that my only option left to raise by watts/kg is to lose 20 pounds. I’m 53. Losing 20 pounds would put me at race weight from when I raced 25 years ago. I’ve lost a ton of weight in the last few years but getting to the weight from my twenties feels impossible.
hey Mike, I wrote this article that may help you out.
Best of luck!
You changed any equipment? I’ve had similar experience from being at 270w prior to the Mallorca 312 in 2018 and now having finally had my first increase for a while to get back to 240w (3.8w/kg so really not where I think I can’t improve).
Some of this I think is because I never actually was at 270w - that was what my kickr said but now I’m using my Garmin Vector 2 pedals and I’ve found there is around about a 12% difference in power with the kickr reading higher.
Has it always been this way? No idea and impossible to tell. Perhaps I’m just getting old and starting the decline (I’m 45 in a couple of weeks) and I should be happier with training keeping me where I am even if I’m not improving. I will say I’ve regularly done the same type of plans year after year but I’ve just done general build mid volume for the first time and really enjoyed it. This is the first year I’ve not just done low volume plans and haven’t struggled with the increase in load, but equally haven’t seen much/any growth.
I think a lot of the Instagram posts could be from new users, perhaps first time structured training - there are some huge increases, or dare I say it some setting a low ftp before their test to satisfy their ego and brag about big increases?
I agree it can be hard when putting in lots of effort but not seeing rewards in increased ftp - I try to balance that with how unfit I’d be if I gave up and sat on the couch and that pushes me to keep on with the plans.
I did change equipment but I am not considering that a true drop in ftp. What’s kind of strange Is that I can do very little and maintain where I am right now. I almost think I stay on the plans because I don’t feel like having to think about what workout I am going to do next. All I have to do is hop on the bike and go, but it is frustrating that I can do very little or I can do a lot (for me) and have the same results.
I’ve also plateaued. Peak FTP was back in the fall at 262, since then by FTP tests have varied between 244 and 260, most recently 248 last week, which I discarded to stick with 260. My knee has ballooned up and I’ve failed a workout since. Taken the last few days off to recover.
We’ll see how things go, but right now it feels very clear to me that I’ve been carrying too much fatigue. Last recovery week I did all my rides outside, which felt great at the time but in hindsight was a horrible idea, I just end up going hard on the hills. That, combined with some strength training, running up and down stairs all day since I’m working at home in the attic these days instead of in an office building, and averaging about 6 hrs (maybe less) of sleep a night-- I was just exhausted. Will finish off sustained power build mid volume the next couple weeks with some -1s, a recovery week, then starting another base. This time I’m just going to take whatever FTP I test at and go with it.
There’s a good chance these Plateau’s are aerobic bases that need improving; and Time to Exhaustion that need pushing out. There a a lot good conversations on the forum about polarized training and maf training to address this. Brendanhousler article does a nice job covering this.
If anyone needs to compute their PD curve than can PM me. You’d need to link your data to a free Training Peaks account, but if you do I can the the analysis graphs for free in support of these trying times. If you can get your TTE up to 1 hour-ish and your HR under-control most people can get back to their potential.