FTP going backwards

Hi there,

I’ve been using trainer road for nearly a year now and have really been enjoying the product.

I’m a male 46yo 190cm and weight 84kgs. My starting ftp was at 155 in april 2019 and by Christmas i got it up 236 which as great and everything was going well. Then after that the wheels kinda fell off the wagon and Im back down to 200! I had an enforced 2 week break over Christmas as I was away on holiday with family but since then have been back to very consistently following SSB LV plan.

What could be the issue here? I find my legs just feel really weak, sometimes it is hard even getting started getting up to speed in the warm up. Its not that they blow up when going over threshold, they just generally feel weak which is strange for me as a mountain biker as I have always thought I had pretty strong legs but just not the endurance conditioning. I do 2 workouts during the week early in the morning and then one on the weekend around midday. Perhaps Im a little fresher on weekend but huge difference so don’t think its a nutrition issue.

Any ideas as to what I should look at?


It could be a bunch of things (FTP too high, position on the bike, nutrition, sleep, other life stress, etc…) I would take the next week easy (see how you feel after), and then drop down to only two intense rides a week. Most of the SSB LV rides are 88-94% FTP and that could just be too much intensity for you right now. You could still follow the same work out schedule, but drop one of the rides down by 5-10%. If your weeks start to feel easy, you can then bring that workout up to its prescribed intensity.

Do you find your leg fatigue building up in your quads only?

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I would suggest that if you had been up at 230+ and you are now down at 200 then the first thing to do is get a health check. Sounds a bit dramatic but that much fatigue could have non cycling related causes. Blood test would be where I started. I had flu last year and was off the bike for 3 weeks and when I came back my FTP had dropped about 10% but it only took 6 weeks to get it back up to where it was and now it is higher still. 36W is a big % of your FTP and I’m not sure it can be explained by bike position (which presumably hasn’t change) exercise time or diet which I assume hasn’t had an overhaul either…even if there is nothing wrong it is always good to rule out health issues first - good luck.

Thanks alot for input @nckgntl,
Have been mulling things over the last few days
“FTP too high” - could be although I tried to be realistic after 2 week break testing and setting it down to 224 hoping that I would get me back on track. Now I’ve gone down to 220 but still need to set intensity down to 10% to get through some workouts so feel like im in free fall at mo

“position on bike” - hmm dont think so at this stage, Im comfortable on the bike no back, knee, neck pain

“nutrition” - I eat a pretty healthy diet but I dont measure at all how much carbs or proteins im taking in. Am I wrong in assuming that at my fairly low performance end of the scale that I dont really need to be so obsessive about that right now?

“sleep and other life stress” - Yeah Im changing job at the moment which has been a bit stressful and sleep not been great. Hoping that gets better soon but still not convinced that this could cause such a big drop off. Im not having a mental break down, just life happening…

Thanks again for input :slight_smile:

Hi @jdman,

Thanks a lot for replying. Have booked blood test with doctor so see what happens there. The fatigue feels mostly isolated in my legs and to answer @nckgntl as well its really the whole leg and it is not like when you go over threshold and your legs blow up. I can feel it there even from the start, the legs just feel weak.

Im wondering if this could be DOMS related?? I did a couple runs while on holiday and perhaps over did it then came back and did a 10km trail run without doing any running beforehand. Perhaps as Im getting older I need to be a bit more careful with this sort of thing. Anyway, good tip with blood test, definitely something to look at first.

Thanks again

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