Expected FTP gains after SSB LV1

Morning after ramp test and really disappointed with the result…

Bit of history, as of 2017 I was at 4w/kg using TR - FTP of around 280 @ 70kg.

1st son arrived late 17, only consistent bike work I managed following that was commuting to work 5 days a week @ high intensity. On the back of this commute “training” I had managed a 40mile ride @ over 20mph average (just to give an idea at level I was at).

In Oct '19 home renovations meant I knocked the commute on the head so was off the bike till 1st week of Jan when I started SSB LV1.

Did ramp test when I could sense a cold coming on, tested with 145. Week later once cold had shifted and HR was lower than expected on workouts I re-tested at 154. This felt better in the following workouts.

Completed LV1, didn’t fail any workouts and felt they were at right intensity level - I wasn’t cruising through them (HR in 180’s for longer intervals) - although did choose the 60min variant of the 90min workouts.

Re-tested last night, dug really deep on ramp test - probably highest HR I’ve seen at 202 - and bumped my FTP up to…157. 3 watts, less than 2%! Think if I hadn’t of really struggled through last minute then FTP would have remained the same?!

I’ve read that ramp test doesn’t work for everyone, so should I be looking at 8min or 20min tests like I used back in 2017?

It’s a dumb trainer, resistance level was correct, always check tyre pressure before ride, bike was cleaned/ lubed etc.

I was really expecting a decent gain after coming in relatively untrained, so what gives???

Fairly common. SSB part 1 doesn’t give much of an FTP gain, I gained a whole 1 Watt on the Ramp test from 241W to 242W. It turned out this was a bit low and I bumped it manually by another 8W a couple of weeks into SSBLV2.

There’s a ton of reasons you might not see an improvement. But it’s especially worth noting that SSB1 doesn’t tend to give much of an FTP bump, nor is it designed to (although some people do see an improvement). The improvements in FTP should be seen during the build phase.

You’ve used the same testing protocol so far, so you should consider sticking to that. You shouldn’t be changing the way you test just because you don’t like the number it gives you. That would be like trying to find another tape measure because you don’t like the waist size it tells you.

Stick at it, keep working hard and consistent and you’ll get your improvements

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If the intensity level felt right then the ftp value you have is doings its job :+1:

Like everyone else says, the gains will come later, but if the workouts feel too easy then feel free to bump up your ftp a little.

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Having read a few threads on Ramp Testing yesterday maybe just had it in my head that it wasn’t for me.

That with having buried myself more on this test than last I really wasn’t expecting similar results, especially having started this block somewhat untrained.

Anyway, I’ll see how I get on with the next few workouts and then adjust if I feel necessary. Thanks for the replies!

Could be worse, I almost always see a FTP drop over SSB1.

Most of the bumps you see on here (and what I saw) after completing SSB LV1 the first time seem to be due to knowing what to expect on the ramp test the second time around. Build is where your FTP is going to increase a lot.


Yeah, echoing what was already said, SSB is really preparing you for Build and it seems to be something that I don’t fully understand – if I jump into Build without doing at least SSB2 then I very quickly end up over my head, but I’m a couple weeks into Build, now, and things are going great.

That being said, whatever Base is doing doesn’t seem to correlate to increased FTP – I typically get a 1-2% increase in FTP, after each phase of Base. I have yet to make it all the way through Build (either due to sickness or the season starting) so God only knows what I’ll get for FTP increase.

In other words, your experience seems to match up with a lot of people’s, so you seem to be right where you should be!

Quite a lot of the drills, pedalling and breathing exercises in SSB, the first part in particular, do seem to help when you get to Build where the intensity is high enough that you can’t really do the workout justice whilst learning to be more efficient.

I think Base “levels up” your power curve rather than just lifting your FTP. My FTP went from 241W at the start of SSBLV1 to 254W at the start of Build (Sustained Power) but looking at my power curve and comparing “seasons” I’m 20W higher for all powers from 1min to 30min between the start of SSBLV2 and now. Comparing SSBLV1 and now the increase is just over the range 1min to 16mins but I’ve only done a week and a bit of SPB so haven’t done the workouts with longer intervals.

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I ended my 2019 season at the beginning of November with an FTP of 320-325w (4w/kg) and I started SSB in January after a 25 day period of zero riding or any aerobic work for that matter and was at 280w or about a 12% decline after a month off the bike. After 5 weeks of SSB MV I ended up with a 15w increase to my current FTP (295w) So I wouldn’t say that little gains are to be expected in the Base 1 phase.

However, I don’t think this is the primary goal of base building so I wouldn’t be too disappointed if I were you. You’ve shown that you can reach a high level of fitness, the engine is there, you just need to wake it up. It will happen.

Yeah, and having read a load of threads on here today I’m finding lots of people who find most gains from SSB…including Coach Chad:

Just to make sure everyone has read my OP correctly? I’ve come in untrained and had a 3 watt bump from 154 to 157 after completing SSBLV1 which is less than a 2% increase.

I can understand this (2%) being the norm for a well trained athlete, but thought I’d have achieved a bigger bump (especially coming from my previous experience of TR) coming from 3 months off the bike.

Hence asking if I should be looking at other FTP test’s.

It is what it is though, I’ll adjust FTP if needed once I’ve completed this week - just want to make sure I’m not doing it wrong haha!

I personally think I’m actually making gains in SSB1, they just are not reflected in the ramp test.

The ramp test is so reliant on peak 1 minute power at the end of the test where I’m well into VO2, yet SSB1 never touches VO2. In fact, usually, since I just spent specialty hammering away at VO2 my VO2 power decreases of SSB1.

At the end of the day, I think my sustained power almost always goes up over base, but my 1 minute power doesn’t. This means that my ramp test results end up being very similar. However, I often see gains “Under the curve”.

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Maybe not when only doing Low Vol (3 rides/week)

Your goal should not be trying to find the “best FTP test” for you. Are you hoping that some other test gives you a higher FTP? For what reason? Vanity?

Just do w/e FTP test protocol you want (Ramp, time-to-exhaustion, 60-min, 20 min, etc) and start your next plan at the FTP the ramp test gave you. If workouts are too easy at that FTP, bump your FTP up 5-10w and see what the next workout feels like.

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I wouldn’t stress it too much. I started TR in Oct 19, and after SSB MV1 went from 180-201 and was pumped! I nailed SSB MV2 (minus the last week due to family in town, so I made a 6 week plan a 5 week plan) and only went from 201–>202. I then did 3 weeks of a hybrid base/build program and retested at 216. Sometimes I think our system just needs a little jolt sometimes to burst out of a mini-plateau. Looking back on my short stagnation, I think it was caused by a summer of outdoor riding that really built a good base, and there just weren’t that many gains to be had at that once I started SSB workouts to sustain 3 months of FTP boosting. Once I hammered out some threshold/vo2 workouts the FTP rose again. The stagnation after SSB MV2 also could have just been a bad ramp test. Who knows if our brains some days just shut it down early, where as other ramp tests you have the ability to dig deep.

This is also where using the season match feature can be pretty interesting.

The pattern that I notice, is my FTP seems to peak out just after build and then gradually fall off over specialty and then stays stagnant over SSB1 before starting to go up again. What I watch for personally though, is that I’m starting SSB1 at a higher FTP each time I do it.

Over the last three seasons, in February my FTP was as followed:

  • 2018 : Ramp Test 247, 20 minute PR 229
  • 2019 : Ramp Test 265, 20 minute PR 259
  • 2020 : Ramp Test 278, 20 minute PR 282

Those gains seem pretty impressive to me!

However, if I just look at my most recent ramp test of 278 and compare that to my prior ramp tests it would seem that my FTP has been rather stagnant for almost a year. However, what I’m seeing out on the road would say otherwise.

season match

Thanks for all of your input on this.

I’ve since completed the first week workouts and can say that FTP feels bang on the money. Both required much focus haha!