FTP stuck in the same range

Hello. My FTP is in the same range since starting to train for cycling 3 years ago. I am 35 years old.

I started to train for XCO at the end of 2017. Before i was racing motorcycles and was fairly fit with running, cycling, strength training etc. At the end of 2018 I was running top 5 in the national FUN categorie, until then I was training with RPE and heart rate and with the training bible book. Then I had another PCL reconstruction on my right knee. Afterwards I started training with Trainerroad and a powermeter. At the end of 2019 had an FTP of 270w (at 70kg). I trained until now with a MV plan from the Plan Builder for XCO. But I am still am 283w FTP (still 70kg) and my results are the same. I would say my training compliance is at least 80-90%. I train inside and also with outside workouts. I train on my XC bike and with a road bike. Additionaly I do strength training for my legs, core and upper body. As I have a family with 2 childs, I cannot do longer rides (3h+).

My biggest weaknesses are starts (lacking power in the first 45secs) and the first lap (cannot follow the leaders without blowing up after 10 minutes). Hills, from 2-10minutes, are also a weakness.

What should I change, because I feel there needs to be some changes in my training routine.

270 to 283W is a 5% improvement in 6 months. Not huge but still OK given that you came from a relatively high starting point of having trained consistently for a few years, and that you haven’t increased your training volume. 5% every 6 months leads to some pretty decent gains over time.

How do measure up against the strength targets recommended by Chad? https://www.trainerroad.com/strength-training-calculator

Strength training is good, but if you’re at or above the level you need to be (which is probably All-Rounder in your case) then you can cut back to a maintenance routine or maybe even cut some of the leg lifts altogether. Which would give you more time and freshness to improve your cycling fitness.

Other option is to switch to a different plan for a cycle. E.g. you could try Cyclocross plan instead of XCO, which has more focus on high power.


Hi @cartsman, thanks for your answer. Compared to the strength targets from Chad I am between All-Rounder and Sprinter. So that should be good. But it still seems to me, that I lack the high power needed for starts and the first lap. If I would skip a little strength training I could add some Endurance rides here and there. But I am not sure if that would give me more power when needed. Other option would be to try a Cyclocross plan, that sounds interesting to me.

Do you do a lot of hard start workouts? They’ve discussed them on the podcast a number of times (can’t remember specific episodes) but usually recommend Crane as a good one. I recently did a hard start progression that was pretty enjoyable, started with Lion Rock and ended with Wrangell. There’s a lot to work with in between those 2. Also, how is your VO2? Is it just hard start stuff that gets you or do you feel generally to struggle above threshold? Might consider a VO2 intensive block if it’s the latter.

Hi @bloya89, thanks for your answer. I am doing XCO Speciality phase right now. There are these hard start workouts. But I feel I need to be above or near FTP for longer time than in these workouts. These are typically around 88%. Lion Rock or Wrangell are at 94% so that seems more suitable.
I feel like I can handle VO2 workouts good. For me it seems like working until 120% is good, but as soon as it is above it is miserable. I also feel like working in Sweet Spot is sometimes really hard.

In the Cyclocross plan there are some hard start workouts. Maybe try this. Short track plans seem like a lot less emphasis on Endurance. And my races are between 1h and 1h15min.

You might consider subbing the prescribed workout for an alternative that places you closer to FTP then and see if that helps. Also just increasing the intensity once you drop into the steady effort can help too.

Seems like anaerobic capacity may be part of what’s holding you back as well (although everyone is miserable when you get that high). Have you tried subbing a VO2 workout for a more anaerobic one? There are quite a few in the catalog to choose from.

Do you warm up well before races?

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@russell.r.sage Yes I am sure that is not the problem.

Great. Will do that.

Plenty of talk about this over last few months in the podcast, can’t remember the episodes but basically something has to change and probably volume and I think you are aware of this, though you don’t have the time for it.

Chad said that the body tries all the time to adapt to the stresses you put it under and when it adapts enough to handle the stresses you give it, the equilibrium is achieved, adaptions stop and you hit the status quo.

So confirming what others have said you need to stress it in new ways with the time available, I’m no coach so I can’t tell you how, maybe look at doing some types of riding/workouts that are outside your comfort zone, plenty of good advice and things to look at above. Good luck.

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How does your workout look like? Just spinning or also some minutes of intensity?

Great advice. Thanks @FatherDamo2

@Triathlete what workout you refer to? For WarmUp i do Pharah.

A month later and my FTP went up from 286 to 307. Thanks for your help and my patience :).

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Well done! What did you change to get the bump?

Mostly rest and replaced key workouts from XCO to CX plan.
Tempo workouts to Race winners.
VO2Max to Sprints,

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