FTP going the wrong direction - need advice

I’ve been doing the Low Volume plan since March and adding outside rides beyond the workouts so that all of my rides aren’t on the trainer. After SSBLV1 my FTP went from 200 to 208. SSBLV2 got me up to 220. I struggled with Build1 and could not complete some of the workouts on the 3rd week. It still pushed my FTP to 236. I decided to do SSB2 again since the intensity of Build1 made it tough to recover. After SSB2 my FTP dropped to 227. I just completed Build1 again for the second time and my FTP has dropped again to 225.

I went in and calculated the average weekly TSS for all of my training blocks and it’s been trending upwards, not downwards.

Can anyone offer advice on what I’m doing wrong? If it helps, I’m 49 and I’m currently around 3w/kg.

Assuming you are using the ramp test and build1 was general or short power build, it shows that you can grow top-end by doing vo2max work. That is my quick guess.

Its not an exact science. If it was me, the next experiment would be doing a lot more aerobic endurance (zone 2) while doing 2 hard workouts a week (a more polarized approach). I’d do that for two blocks (8 weeks total) and see what happens.

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Thanks for the reply!

Yes, I’ve used nothing but the ramp test for assessment this whole season in order to stay consistent. When you say that “it says that you can grow top end by doing vo2 max work” - what are you referring to? Is there some sort of TR analytics that I’m missing somewhere?

Which build1 plan did you complete?

General Build LV

If after 3 weeks of build you found it hard to keep up, did you take any time off between that and starting SSBLV 2 again?

It’s possible that you’ve just over-reached a bit and could benefit from a break. Maybe a couple days off followed by a few days of unstructured riding.

Hi Chasey - thanks for the response. The first time I did build I felt like I overreached and my FTP went up to 336. Next I went back to SSB2 and my FTP dropped to 227. Then, I did Build1 again (and did not feel like I was overreaching) and my FTP dropped again. I feel fully recovered at this point (and did when I took my ramp test as well).

Remember the ramp test is a snap shot in time it will go up and down don’t get to caught up on the numbers as it doesn’t mean your not improving. Try and make sure that your outside or any extra rides that there low intensity. Was there any particular type of workouts you where struggling with.

Reformating and focusing on range using +/- 2% margin of error:

  • 204-212W after SSBLV1 (208 test result)
  • 216-224W after SSBLV2 (220 test result)
  • 231-241W after General Build1 (236 test result)
  • 222-232W after SSBLV2 (227 test result)
  • 221-230W after General Build1 (225 test result)

Don’t get caught up in exact numbers. The last two are essential identical. It would look a little better on a graph, but looking at those ranges is more realistic about your max aerobic capacity because your training was likely also impacting FTP as % max aerobic capacity, and the ramp test is really testing your max aerobic capacity.

There is a lot of estimating going on, don’t get caught up in precise numbers.

That’s what I mean. If you overreached during the Build phase and went straight back to SSBLV2, you continued overreaching. If you’re rested now and feel up to it, then it’s likely that your decreased FTP is just a reflection of where you are now after going a little out of pocket for a few weeks.

It’s not big deal to see an FTP decrease generally either. Life happens and that’s why progress isn’t necessarily a straight line.

So two training blocks back to back with showing decreased FTP doesn’t suggest that I should change something?

Maybe, maybe not. Starting with margin of error.

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You’re misunderstanding me. You should have changed something, namely taking a break after your first bummed test during your second round of SSBLV2. Then picked up again maybe a week after.

it sounds like you need a bit more recovery to me. One thing that stands out is you’ve been repeating a base/build cycle for a fairly long time now, which is a pretty big stress on the body in itself- they’re structured with the expectation that you’ll have a bit of a TSS drop during specialty, and then a taper/rest period either side of an A race. Without that, you’re pretty much loading up the body year-round without giving it the opportunity to shed the long-term fatigue that typically builds up over the course of a season. Also worth noting that more TSS is not necessarily better and you can’t expect to increase it indefinitely.
I’d be looking at either taking a short break from structured training and/or reducing your overall workload for a bit- a specialty block might be good for this as it will change up the training stimulus a bit as well.

If you’re certain you’re fully recovered from your previous blocks, It might be worth considering external factors. Has your diet and/or weight changed? Are you sleeping well? Has your indoor setup changed? any other life stressors you need to consider? etc.


This. In most of the cases, less training, and more resting is the solution. I think that your body might be having a hard time making adaptations at high FTP numbers, so it will be easier for your body to adapt to the training stress at lower numbers. You are also repeating base-build-base-build which is very hard on your body. You need to do the specialty phase, where you can actually enjoy riding your bike as the training you do won’t be too hard on your body.