Help analysing two FTP test results

Hi all,

I’m after some help interpreting two FTP tests. I started TR begging of Jan, and did a ramp test, which came out at 230. Today, after the first block of training I did another, and my result was 235. Im struggling to get my head around the numbers though, and I’m f I’m honest, I was hoping for a bigger improvement.

From what I can tell my first test was longer, with more intervals that my second. I felt strong as well, although that’s subjective I know. Since my first test I’ve been the most consistent and most motivated I’ve ever been with training, religiously doing my training (low volume, plus one ‘junk’ / fun ride per week).

The only thing I can really think of is that my ride last Saturday was tougher than planned/ expected due to a brutal head wind, and my legs are a bit fatigued. Or maybe my head isn’t quite in the game today.

Can anyone help me make sense of the rides/ situation? Tests linked below if you are interested/ can be bothered :slight_smile:

Thanks
Tim

Start of Jan:

Start of Feb:

What is your riding and training history before starting TrainerRoad at the beginning of January? In other words, how many hours per week on average, what type of riding, and for how many months or years have you been riding?

Hi @bbarrera
I’ve been riding bikes for a long time, but only started training specifically around 13-14 months ago. Like I said, the last month has been the most consistent I’ve been, prior to this I would cycle 2-4 times per week, on average 3-5 hours I’d say, mixed indoor and outdor. I spent about a year using zwift, and their training, but plateaued fairly majorly. That’s when I did some research and started with trainer road.

Do you want cheerleading or glass is half full :wink: Tacx Flux claimed accuracy is +/- 2.5% so 230 vs 235 is within margin of error. You hit a slightly higher HR on first ramp test. Hard for anyone to predict what type of training is going to drive an increase. I’d say don’t get discouraged and keep going. Sometimes I plateau for months and then a big overload week and poof about 2-4 weeks later I get a big bump.

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Yes to both :sweat_smile:
Thanks I’m not super discouraged just a bit confused, as given the input, I though I would see a larger improvement. And of course the differences in the stats don’t add up to me (although of course I’m new to analysing efforts really)

It looks like the next few weeks are ramping up the intensity, so I’ll keep at it and try to be fresher next time I do the ramp test.

Let me get this out of the way first. I’m no coach, so this is all from personal experience.
It looks like you took some time off the bike back in Aug. / Sept. and then began to ramp up from there. I can’t see if you did any specific base work, though.

If you jumped straight into the build plan on Jan 1 with no base before that I’d venture that your less than desired gains are due to fatigue. Jumping into structured training even with some level of base fitness is a LOT different than doing a handful of rides each week. That time on the trainer is ALL work. You don’t have any coasting to a stop sign or a tight turn or a descent. In the hour you spend on a trainer you are doing a lot more work than an hour ride outside in most cases and it takes some time to adapt.

Going into a SSB2 low volume may have been a better jumping off point since you didn’t have time to do both 1 & 2 and a build before your event. Base phase is more important when coming from litlle to no structure than any other time. Starting in build phaase is like jumping in the deep end of the pool Those are some tough workouts. It looks like you’ve performed very well on them, but your body is still absorbing all of that stress, so maybe you just need a little more recovery.

Worst case scenario do the workouts at the new FTP for the next week and see how they feel and if you’re able to nail them, and I mean NAIL them, bump it up a couple of watts manually.

Myself, I see far more watt gains during base than I ever do in build. Even when I’ve taken very little time off the bike if I go through a base 1 & 2 I see a few more watts. During build phase I just “maintain” . No losing ground, but no gains.

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The second ride felt harder because it was harder. I’m guessing you (or TR) estimated an FTP of 200 for the first test and started you off with 100W for the first minute.

For the second test it took your result of 230 and calibrated the retest accordingly, so the first minute was 120W and the increase in power between minutes is also slightly bigger. No surprise it felt harder and the ramp portion of the workout was 20 minutes instead of about 25.

I would not be too disheartened that you have not seen a big bump. My training has been nice and consistent since the beginning of October after a very patchy year. I am targeting threshold intervals or easier. I am due a retest but would guess my FTP has gone up by 10W a month in that time and I am really happy with that on low volume training. Week to week it’s not a huge increase but if I can keep it going for another 4 months it is (for me at least) a huge bump in total.

Many apologies if I have misunderstood the question but you seem to be doing everything right.

Hi Tim,

Looking at your career page there are some things that stick out:

  1. Your first ramp test was a little messy, not on power during last intervals. No last hooray, so result should still be somewhat accurate. But it looks like you struggled a little in the first week after that test.
  2. Your HR max was slightly higher during the first test. You might have left something (albeit not a lot) on then table.
  3. Prior to TR you did structured training (build me up) and only slightly increased TSS during first month of TR.

Conclusion: True delta is probably a little higher than measured delta and you did not have any noob gains because of the structured training before TR. 2-4% (measured - estimated) gains within 4 weeks is not shabby on LV. If I gained that every 4 weeks on MV I‘d be happy!

Cheers!

Hi guys

Thanks so much for your replies, loads of good info and foments there for me to think about. A couple of things ill quickly mention

I just put details into plan builder, based on a planned event in March (which may or may not go ahead). I know there’s not as much base training as the full plan, for this reason.

AHH, @abrooks13 , I didn’t pick up on the difference in the starting power on the FTP tests (starting at 120, not 100watts) I guess that explains the different time/ number of intervals.

Thanks again for your replys, much appreciated. I’m gunna stick at if of course, and look forward to further gains in the next phase.

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If you’re doing one outside ride per week you may be inadvertently undermining your low volume plan. The LV plans are quite punchy in terms of TSS each week to drive adaption on the least time - so they can be deceptively hard depending what you’ve done before and you could be giving yourself too much stress. Also did you take a recovery week before the second ramp test? (sorry not looked at your calendar as on phone). That’s when the body usually adapts and increases hapen.

:grin: Additionally if you’ve been doing say sweet spot work you may find that your FTP has not risen but you can now put out more power for a longer period of time. Ie you’ve built some muscle endurance.

FTP does not define you it’s one training metric to anchor your training and you can always bump it up manually if you feel the workouts are too easy.

I’d be tempted to do LV base and then go into a build phase and see which period gives you tangible results.

Did your weight change as watts per kg is a better, in my mind, indicator of performance. Search the bell curve of TR users for this on the forum. Your FTP could be the same as someone much bigger than you but you’d have the better w/kg and be faster on the road. And if you dropped some weight over the period you should factor that in as you could have moved a few points per kg?

Taking a ramp test does get easier each time in terms of familiarity as you know what you’re dealing with but it ain’t ever easy to dig that deep mentally or physically each and every time.

I’m sure you’ll get there with time and consistency and if you look around people’s FTPs are always going up and down or plateauing. Don’t sweat it and rise above the ego.

Sorry long answer but a few points to think about maybe.? Or ignore - :grin: :+1:t2:

And the ramp test is designed to be short and not too taxing so you could always do one again, anytime really…

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Thanks Johnny. I did have a recovery week on TR (Lowe intensity rides, but the same number) however obviously did still do my weekend ride, which in hindsight was probably counter productive!

I’ve dropped a couple of lbs, but not much (and still far from skinny :sweat_smile:)

Thanks for the reply

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Consistency is the key in the way you approach each ramp test for comparative purposes, so I wouldn’t worry too much about this. In fact, the weekend ride is only ‘counter productive’ if you frame it in terms of possibly impacting your ability to achieve the ‘highest’ FTP result you can - but really the test is about defining the correct FTP level for the next block of training, so on the assumption that a weekend ride is something you will be doing anyway before each week’s structured training, it may be more realistic to keep it in there, if it’s a Saturday ride and you’re not testing until Monday anyway.

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Really? I just wonder it too. I have gained lots of watt during base (not new rider) and this is my first time in build now and so curious about imrpovements. Some says in the build you see bigger gains and some says opposite.

Think it depends hugely on background and what kind of base and build you’re doing. A few scenarios off the top of my head:

  • Somebody new to training, or at least new to training with structure and consistency, is going to make gains almost whatever TR plan they choose, just from training regularly and with purpose.
  • A rider following TR LV or MV SSB is likely to make substantial FTP gains because those plans involve quite a bit of intensity including workouts like over unders and VO2 max which are great for boosting FTP.
  • A rider following a more traditional base plan with a lot of endurance and tempo work and little or no work at or above threshold isn’t likely to see much in the way of FTP gains (unless they’re new to riding) and might even lose a bit, but are laying a good long term foundation for later improvements
  • Same sort of variation applies to the Build phase. E.g. Crit plan isn’t really about building FTP, it’s about improving your ability to go hard repeatedly with spiky efforts. Whereas 40k TT plan is all about building FTP.

So a crit racer who does MV SSB following by short power build, is likely to see decent FTP gains in base and not much during build. Whereas a TTer who does HV traditional base and then sustained power build, is likely to see the opposite with little or no FTP gains in base but then good gains during build.

Add in different training backgrounds, the fact that progress is never linear, and the fact almost none of us are actually hitting plans consistently all through the season (illness, injury, work, over-reaching, losing motivation, etc) and there’s going to be a lot of variation in when people see gains.

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You are totally right.
I have done high volume base for 12 weeks and gained good watts in ftp even though i am not new rider. But i guess i respond well to seeetspot training (just below threshold) Now doing general build (no planned race and i just want to increase ftp number thats why i choose general build) high volume and hope i can see gains again.

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