FTP decrease but fitness increase?

Rather confused.

So over the summer i basically just rode outside, lots of nice long rides and some sessions where i put some intervals in.

Back to the trainer as the weather is getting worse and it appears my FTP has decreased but also so has my HR for the same power.

The HR would indicate that im fitter? or more effiecent? Could the FTP drop just be a lack of hard VO2 or threshold work and so less strength in the legs? Anyone else had this?

I would tend to agree with your guess. In my experience I haven’t seen a huge bump during the increase in unstructured rides, but when I move to structured rides my second test is usually indicative of the work I put in. So usually my legs feel a little flat on the first ramp test and it takes like a week or two for them to come around when I start doing base/build work but the second ramp test usually gives me a nice bump (~5% in my experience).

I have seen this in both base and build when I have been forced to reduce training intensity due to a bunch of different factors

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Or also can mean that you are tired. It all depends what you have been doing. If your RPE during threshold workouts is higher but HR lower - it’s time to rest.

Ohh interesting i always assume when you need rest RPE and HR increase as the body is stressed. Like RHR going up when overtraining / reaching.

My HR is always the lowest after VO2 max block - your heart is simply a muscle and it’s tired. If your RPE is lower and HR for a given effort is also lower - then it’s probably sign of fitness, but lower HR can mean more fit or tired. My RHR is also lower when tired, higher when stressed. So I would not make any conclusions from HR only :slight_smile:


Or your hydration is different, or the temperature where you’re training is different, or you have different fans now, or…

There’s a ton of things that could account for this. You absolutely could be fitter though, so go with that one

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If your outdoor rides include a PM, I’d check out Intervals.icu, which has multiple analytics, including a “compare” showing power v. HR for current v. last yea, based on your Strava data

@Dunk one confusing thing about HR at similar work rate…as you increase training stress and push yourself into the overreach zone, HR at a given work rate will decrease. Also, HR recovery from similar efforts will increase. Often this is associated (correctly!) with increased fitness but it can just mean that you are overreaching.

TR provide a Lambert Submaximal Cycling Test you can use to track your HR & HR recovery over the course of your training. I recommend using this workout as a warm up as you go through base-build-specialty just so you can observe how your HR responds to various training loads. It will help you understand a lot about how your body is responding.

LSCT Warmup - TrainerRoad

Also, if you want to understand a little bit more about how HR responds to training load there is a lot of good information in the Scientific Triathlong Podcast’s Ep#299 with Annemiek Roete.

If you are so inclined, it’s well worth reading Annemiek’s paper:


You haven’t said how much your FTP decreased by. Sometimes if you haven’t been on your turbo for a while. It’s just that mentally you are not dialled in to how pace if 20 min test or what really represents failure during a ramp test. Often the second one after 3-4 weeks of being back using your trainer, gives a better picture.

I get this after enough hard riding - lower HR at the same intensity. I take it as a sign of fatigue rather than fitness gain

Yep they do and i use intervals already. Avg watts outside still seem high though i cant comment on top in stuff and equally not exactly sure what i need to compare or look at.

With that in mind an easy week or two should make the metrics jump back up if overreaching? Kinda makes sense as also finding my blood sugar is all over the shop big lows not long after eating which i think is another symptom of overreaching.