Depressing Results After SSBII

46y/o Male, 5’ 11" 168lbs
Completed SSBII LV with perfection and added endurance rides to avg 8hrs and 500 TSS per week
FTP before 244, FTP after 244 :disappointed:

About halfway through the training block, the workouts were feeling easy so I manually upped my FTP to 252 which seemed about right.

Having been a fairly well-trained cyclist that took the majority of 2018 off, I was hoping for a nice bump.

Just started training indoors this year; started with Zwift and completed the 10wk FTP Builder before switching to TR. Here’s my FTP history
Aug 20, 2019 244 TR Ramp Test
Aug 3, 2019 252 Manual Bump
Jul 10, 2019 244 TR Ramp Test
Jun 9, 2019 264 Zwift Ramp Test
Apr 6, 2019 257 Zwift Ramp Test
Dec 16, 2018 243 outside

At 7-9hrs/wk, my volume is down from when I would just ride outside where I avg’d 10-12hrs/wk but was optimistic that the focused indoor training would more than make up for the reduction in volume.

Anyways, a bit disappointed that after putting in the work and following the plan to a T that I didn’t see a bump in my FTP. Now I’m questioning whether to start the Build phase as planned or just ride outside…

I’m curious whether or not you might “test better” using the 8-min ftp test or the 20-min ftp test.
If you workouts don’t regularly include indoor suprathreshold intervals, they can feel tougher to perform, I find, at one’s best.

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Setting aside the ramp test, how did the manual bump feel and did the workouts feel easier at the end? If so, your FTP did go up, it’s just not always going to reflect in a ramp test. I know I tend to do poorly in ramp tests (or most other testing situations) and have had reasonable success manually bumping my zones based on how well I’ve been doing on the prescribed workouts. Try some of the next phase workouts 5-10w higher and see how they feel.

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Part of the issue might be that you’re already a relatively fit cyclist. Yes, you took a year off but previously you were logging good hours per week. I bet your body quickly adapted to structured training and now you need more of a push to see results.

I’d progress to Build and I’m willing to bet that you’ll find it more challenging and start to see results.

Keep in mind that FTP is only one measure. Perhaps your heart rate has dropped when holding sustained efforts for longer periods?

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I had a similar struggle from SSB1 and put that down to the limited VO2 max etc that is mentioned in a few threads here too, you are still in your base phase and trust Chad (he is smarter than us, trust the process).

The thing I found getting in to SSB2 was being really aggressive with the workouts, if the text is Jeeing you on to push ‘one more interval’ and you are finding it easy then get angry and push the dial up. I just did Taylor -2 today and was at 109% for the last two block so really challenge yourself and as always make sure you eat and sleep!

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First, and perhaps most importantly, base is a phase not designed at increasing your FTP. Build is the phase where you should be growing your FTP. Detrained or untrained athletes often see gains during base - but this is because they aren’t coming from an existing fitness level. You appear to have come into this block of training with a reasonable level of fitness so expecting gains during base might be your biggest gap

Second, I would highlight what others have said. If you know your body well enough the testing becomes superfluous. Adjust your FTP as you go to maintain the correct training level. The test does not define your FTP, it does not define who you are.

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Switching FTP tests in order to hopefully yield a better result? Why? Just because you didn’t see an increase in FTP doesn’t mean that you didn’t derive some benefit from SSBII. My guess is that you’ve increased muscle endurance, the ability to ride at a higher percentage of your FTP longer, and probably some other things. Not all is lost because a NUMBER didn’t increase.

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Similar experience (46y 156lbs/71kg). Went from 241 dec 2018 to 246 last week after doing SSBI which I started after recovering from an accident in May (ran over by a car)
Was also expecting to see a bigger bump as I had the most amount of km this year before the accident since the beginning of my cycling career.

Did SSBII Taylor-2 today and upped intensity to 110% in the last interval. Was way to easy and found Kawaeh - threshold more challenging.
Comparing the heartrate in the intervals seems to agree on this.

I was thinking in upping these Vo2max trainings by default with 5% to be challenging

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Agreed with everyone else. In any relatively trained cyclist even if not structured, mainly subthreshold training will not increase short term suprathreshold power

How did you find Lamarck at 252 watts in week 5? Was it fine? If so, then I’d try bump ftp up a little from 252 and ignore the ramp test. Did you just about make it through the last interval? Then perhaps 252 is about right. Did you fail? Then perhaps lower it a little.

I wonder the same. The sustained threshold sessions definitely got easier.

The manual bump worked well and I’ll probably add a couple watts before starting the Build phase. I did not accept the results of today’s Ramp Test for this reason.

despite the ample studies showing benefits from long, sub-threshold work, I’m learning that if all I do is focus on endurance, I seem to lose fitness.

Good advice. Thanks

I’d agree with this.

Nailed it!


If you’re unable to read my post ride notes, this is what I wrote:

Pumped on this session! Was a little nervous going into it but knocked it out with perfection. Right knee has been bothering me but stretched and rolled night prior and made a huge difference. Also fueled well… rice at lunch and dinner the day prior, energy bar and SiS gel (1st time using SiS gel) before ride and bottle of Skratch.

Thanks for all the great feedback so far, this is an awesome community!

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The value, as a TR user, in having a number for FTP at all, is that prospective workouts and plans are based on that number. jonnyknight has done at least one non-recovery week of SSBII at a manually generated FTP number that is higher than their test number. As insightfully inquired by lebowskii98, we see that Lamarck was highly compliant and not a problem at the higher manually generated number. We don’t know their training goals, but at 500 TSS per week and weekend endurance rides, I’d guess the goals have more to do with growing the capacity for work below thresholds than they have to do with some 1-min “staircase intervals” above threshold. I could be wrong about the goals, but that’s my guess with the info stated. Let’s, perhaps, set the FTP value in TR that is higher not for the sake of being higher, but is most accurate for being productive for whatever the build and specialty phases will be.

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You make some valid points for sure. However, a lot of users that post to this form are FTP-obsessed and ignore all sorts of other adaptations that come from structured training. It’s important that “testing better” doesn’t lead to an FTP that is unrealistically high. Too many users over-estimate their true FTP.

I like the approach of periodic manual adjustment based on how certain workouts feel. Lamarck is a good one for that. An even better workout would be a solid 40 minutes at threshold to establish where your FTP really is at.

I wouldn’t be too bummed if I didn’t see an FTP gain after doing SSBII. I’d be looking for improvements in being able to ride at a higher percentage of my FTP longer than riding at higher watts. That will serve you much more in real life situations.

Get through Build and see where your FTP goes.

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Honestly, FTP increases can be hard to come by, I’ve only gained 4 watts over the last 10 months despite missing maybe 5 days over the same time period.

I think it’s important to remember FTP is just a number and isn’t representative of the enjoyment you can have while cycling. The key I think is to just nail all of the workouts so that you can enjoy the hobby when you actually get out and do the rides/events that you’re preparing for.

For me, I could care less about my power output as long as I’m putting down enough power that mountain bike rides are enjoyable and I’m not suffering on the climbs.

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I have been using Trainer Road for over a year and have seen minimal results in terms of FTP increases based on ramp tests. Recently I climbed Aple Du Zwift and set all time power peaks from 1 minute through 90 minutes. Zwift set my FTP at 245 compared to a ramp test of 234. Seems to me if you are a rider that is not good at VO2 max training, for whatever reason, you are just not going to get a good result from ramp tests.

I’ve had similar results from SSB over the years. As others have pointed out SSB can be great training and lays the foundation for further improvements but is does not high all the energy systems hard enough to ace an FTP test for some people. Working out in the 200’s then going hard into the high 300s can be a bit of a shock both physically and mentally.

Also your age could be a factor too. I have finding as i get older, I’m arriving at the end of SSBII pretty tired if i follow the 6 week rest cycles. You may have an increased FTP built and ready to unleash but you need some more rest to let it out.

Boy there is a lot of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terms being thrown around referring to an assessment workout. The result of that workout, (Ramp Test) is just the output.

In any case, we all have a slightly different energy system and if you fall on the bell curve of individuals the Ramp test will ‘approximately’ indicate your threshold. If you are a super diesel you might need to do a 20 minute test, so that you are not relying on your underdeveloped anaerobic system. Conversely a ramp test might help a strong anaerobic person by giving them a slightly higher FTP.

To stay a little more on topic. I think that you should just stop worrying about what your FTP number is, accept it and move on to a build phase. You are not better or worse because your FTP changed or did not change over a few watts. You have been improving your physiology in such a way that won’t necessarily increase your FTP by doing a base phase. Which basically was training to be more efficient at your current FTP.

So, if you want to get that FTP up you need to do some VO2Max work. Which would be the build phase.

In case anyone is interested…

Did my first Sustained Power Build interval session this morning (Carpathian Peak) with a manually set FTP of 254 to start, that I upped to 102% (O/U’s 246-272) before 2nd of 3 main set blocks and left it there for the balance of the session. Finished the workout strong with a bit left in the tank.

So as many speculated in this thread, the Ramp Test doesn’t seem to accurately reflect FTP for my breed of fitness (diesel / puncheur).

In summary:
Just completed my first TR block, which was SSBII LV with added endurance rides for an avg weekly of ~8hrs and 500 TSS.
Ramp Test before and after SSBII were both 244
During SSBII manually upped FTP to 252
Before starting Build Phase manually set FTP to 254
1st interval session in Build Phase upped the 254 by 102% for O/U’s that ranged between 246-272

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Bingo… I’m the opposite. I test high on the ramp test and often can’t complete the O/U or threshold workouts. I now just manually adjust the setting until I’m unable to complete the workouts.

:slight_smile:

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I would just stick with your manually set FTP for the next few weeks. The first week, you’ll feel like you can up the intensity, but you should wait until the later part of week 2 to really start making those adjustments and see how your body reacts to the over unders at the current target. The workouts get progressively harder, an IF of .85 isn’t really that hard compared to a few of the .9x ones later in the build.

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