Do workouts really get harder at a new ftp?

I keep seeing guys saying that their workouts are going to be harder now that they have a higher ftp. But are they really? If you test at 300w your new workouts are based on your new ftp so any any given workout should give you the same difficulty as if your ftp was only 240 right?

Yes but yesterday they were set at a lower intensity.

So if you go from 250 to 260, 90% today would have been 94% yesterday. The first few sessions are tough to adjust to.


I think when people say the workouts are harder it is about how they ‘feel’ about the difficulty of the workouts (i.e. perception), not whether they are physiologically possible or not. Someone will likely need a little time to recalibrate their perceived exertion to the new FTP / power levels and internalize that they can in fact hold those power outputs longer than you previously thought.

Lets say your FTP went from 270 -> 300. SST intervals at 90% of your new FTP are 270w, which is your old FTP. What you thought you could only hold for 40-70min you should be able to hold for 90-120+ minutes.

Threshold intervals at 100% of your new FTP are about 110% of your old FTP. So what you might feel like for a fully rested, flat out 20min effort at your old FTP you should now be able to hold for 40-70min.

Whenever I had a big FTP bump it took my mind a little while to adjust and internalize that I can now sustain certain power outputs for longer and that what 2 months ago was a flat out max 20min effort is now my 3x20 threshold interval target. Physically I could do it, my mind and how I perceived the efforts needed to catch up.


Sort of. I suppose it depends if you struggled with the first week’s workouts in a plan before. You’ll have just done the hardest week of the plan (or part of the plan) at your old FTP, now you’ve done two steps forward and one step back so you are starting with the easier workouts again. You wouldn’t do Leconte in your first week at a new FTP for example :hot_face:

It will also depend on how much of an increase you gained.

It’s a bit like moving up a grade at school!

1 Like

I’ve never actually felt this to be true, but definitely have thought it going into a training block. I definitely think it’s smart that the intensity of the first two weeks is less than the ending of the prior block. It has been effective to allow me to adapt.

1 Like

makes sense. Some of it is mental. The ftp test says you can do it but the mind questions that. So far my ftp jumps haven’t been that big so I haven’t struggled at my new levels. What I do like is realizing after I workout like yesterday where I rode almost 48 minutes at 95 to 102% ftp that there was no way I could have ridden that 3 months ago. The system works!

If you’re doing it right it shouldn’t. Some guy once said it doesn’t get easier, you just get faster. Conversely, it’s not harder either. Assuming you’ve assessed FTP correctly.


Well, consider that you spend a month or two training at an old FTP, then you bump it up 3-5% and start training the same types of workouts at that higher level… yeah, your RPE is going to be higher than what you were doing before. It’s no different than if you did one interval at 97% and followed with the exact same interval at 100%. There’s a difference, and the latter will feel harder.

1 Like

Yes i also noticed that they were set at lower intensity. Indeed the first few sessions are quite tough

Another thing consider when your ftp gets higher, is that you might also get better at testing, especially if using one of the longer tests where pacing is a factor.
And, I find that I test better in the ramp test if I’ve done something like Spanish needle or gendarme a couple of days prior to the test, maybe it’s just getting used to the punishment

I think it depends on the magnitude of the increase. I’m in a position now where going into SSBHV my SS power is where my threshold power used to be. So yeah, holding that for 20min where I used to for 8 is pretty hard, even if i’m physiologically capable of it.

I also think it’s worth considering not just individual workouts, but the whole plan. With a ftp bump you’re doing more work within every session you do, and your body hasn’t necessarily adapted to that workload yet. So while you might be getting through the workouts, there’s a potential that you’re going to accumulate more fatigue and not recover quite as quickly, which will affect your RPE for later sessions.

If you are training at low-balled ftp, training at your actual ftp shouldn’t be hard? What?

I’d say if you are following a TR-like plan that has progressive training blocks with an FTP test going into each one then there should be no problem because the adaption to the new FTP is built into the workout selection. This has been my experience.

On the other hand, if you are doing the same 3 or 4 workouts every week and just using an FTP test every once in awhile to ramp up then you will have a harder time adjusting. I think people in this category learn to adjust their FTP by feel instead of waiting for an FTP test to tell them what they already know.

1 Like

I believe it is harder if you are a beginner, like myself. My previous FTP was 30 watts lower than my current one so yes, in my case the workouts got really hard. Most likely my previous FTP was not accurate, on the low side since it was my first ramp test. I am in my second week after the 30 watts bump and I am still having a really hard time finishing all my intervals.

1 Like

The other item to remember is relative accuracy. When training at peak powers there is a fine line between do-able to too hard and beyond “objective”

If you start out at FTP 150watts; a 2%-3% estimate error in the FTP estimate is: 3-4.5 watts.
If you are at FTP 280 watts a 2%-3 error is 5.6- 8.4 watts
At 320watts 2-3% error is 6.4-9.6 watts

Now consider V02Max or Threshold work. For these workouts based on the individual and the intensity a 1-3% over shoot can make the workouts too hard to complete.

So assume that last 4 weeks your were under estimated by 3% and the workouts were just fine. Then you test and have a day where you overshoot, by 3%. This is a hidden offset in your FTP change of 6% that might not be real.

When you go to do the workouts in the next block; you’ll be coming off a rest week and your are going to get smacked in the face by something that feel 6% more difficult than what you had been accustomed to.

This is why the app has the percentage slider; when you do Threshold and vo2max you have to be willing to adjust to value that lets you finish the work, but just barely…

A group workouts to this and you’ll move your perception of just barely. too so it’s all subjective.