FTP improvement ramp

Sent this question in to Ask a Cycling coach but don’t really know if/when it may get picked up so writing here as well (hope that’s ok…)

I was on the sweet spot 1 medium base plan October thru mid-November. Then was out of the country where I did 2 unstructured rides and a lot of walking (luckily the second week was the last/recovery week of that plan). I was tracking my FTP to be about 210 before I left and when I did the ramp test back it said 203.
Not worried about the numbers but I figure that FTP should go back up after I got over jet lag and started to get back into the rhythm so I set it at 208 FTP in TR and continued on to Sweet Spot Base 2.
Here’s my (crazy?) thought process as I have been going thru the plan.

  1. As long as I finish each workout feeling beat but not destroyed (and future workouts are of the same feeling) then FTP was just right or maybe low

  2. I then add 1 watt after every 2-3 workouts (typically Thursday and/or Sunday) because FTP may have been low, 1 watt is not that big of a shift and I am getting stronger so workouts should rise accordingly
    a. I know I could add one percent on each ride but I have to remember the growing % and there’s something empowering about nudging the number up after every few rides
    b. On my training peaks account I leave my FTP static and just reflect the ramp test score so TSS for that will be higher than TrainerRoad

  3. Will do a ramp test again in another 2 weeks, should it come out lower than the number I was using, I may go with the latter but it would depend on how I’m feeling about the prior workouts

Does above make sense or should I stick to the ramp test FTP? Over the last few weeks I’ve pushed the FTP up to 216 and have had no issues completing workouts. I realize that there’s going to be a ceiling at some point (or is there … :blush:) but I do feel that the workouts would have felt just as hard (mentally) had I left it at 203.

Nudging up intensity is fine if your workouts feel too easy. If you’re having to bump up intensity on every workout, then it’s time to bump up the FTP.

Habitually raising FTP regardless of how you feel is probably not a good idea. Sooner or later, you will overshoot.

I think it’s important to go through an entire base/build cycle at least once as prescribed so you know what you’re in for. Some workouts will always be easier than others due to your strengths, and you’ll recognize them moving forward.

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I should not worry. I did the same thing tbh. I had a low ftp when I started as i just come back from 1wk cycling holiday. I refused to accept it. Started from higher ftp which made the workouts really hard. But you force body to adapt and in few weeks you will find it much easier. I kept pushing my ftp up 5 watts every 2 weeks. You eventually reach a ceiling and have to wait longer for gains. But always go on feel. If it’s too hard then put it back down. Also in my view… ramp test seems to rely on vo2 max a bit which means a diesel chugger who can hold ftp for hr suffers on a 8 or 20 mins test.

I think it depends what plan you use. I did SSBHV1 and 2 last year and incrementally upped my FTP during the phases when my HR in SS intervals dropped below 140bpm (as I know my HR in a 50 m tt is in the 140’s and since that takes nearly 2 hours is probably a hardish sweetspot effort). This worked fine. This year I am doing MV (mainly as HV build made me ill and I wanted to incorporate some gym work for my ageing body!). If you over shoot your FTP in the MV over/under/ VO2 max sessions you are going to have to bail where as on HV where it is all SS it will just be more uncomfortable than maybe it should be.

So if you are on MV then I would be conservative as the really tough sessions will become impossible - if your doing SS - you can afford to be a little bit more aggressive.

Thanks for all the replies. I would imagine if this was ever answered in the podcast it would get a “it depends” and “listen to your body”. Next week is week 5 (6th being the rest week). Been able to finish all the workouts so far and ftp is set at 218. Gonna continue to monitor and adjust accordingly.