High SS Progression, Same Ramp Fail

Hi All,

Just looking to confirm my thoughts before embarking on my next block.

My last 3 Ramp tests I’ve hit approx FTP of 250 at 73kg, 72kg, 71kg. Overall thats progress on w/kg all achieved doing the Olympic Distance Tri Plan.

On every test I’ve failed at the step up to 340w, HR is also near or at max by this point.

I’m managing long SS intervals (Truchas+3) with my SS progression at 8.6 but introduction of burst intervals (Redondo +3) becomes a problem and I have to drop intensity by 3-5% to achieve the workout. Really struggle to recover at 94% ftp after 150% sprints after a block or 2.


I’m about to start SSB 2 low volume for winter but thinking I’ll benefit more from longer threshold and more Vo2 work. I’ve been on TR for 2 years and had improvements without having to focus on any area. Easy gains are gone and I need to dial in on weaknesses to improve.

Given my higher SS progression would it make sense to go general build or sustained build rather than SSB2? Makes sense to me but I’ve got it in my head that winter training is for SS!


Sweet Spot Progression isn’t designed to increase FTP so much as it expands your time to exhaustion at SS making your fitness more durable. I think if you want to see some FTP gains, focus on that low VO2 Max PL.


Thanks for the comment. My last few blocks haven’t been SS only and the tri plan does include vo2 max efforts but yeah…think the move to build/vo2, anaerobic and threshold efforts makes sense to sort out that low PL.

Then you aren’t following the Olympic plans? FWIW those 20-30 sec sprints in Redondo +3 are more glycolytic/anaerobic, and I believe post-sprint recovery during the sweet spot portion being fueled by the strength of your aerobic base (= the amount of zone2 work you consistently do).

  1. FTP is only a single metric by which you can measure improvement in performance. It ignores things like bike handling skills, tactics, TTE, etc.
  2. A ramp test in turn is only an estimate of your FTP, based on certain assumptions about the relationship between your MAP and FTP. You have not really done any VO2 training at all.
  3. The main goal of the SST you’re doing is to increase your TTE at power outputs near your FTP.
  4. I am guessing your goal here is better performance in a triathlon.

So yes, it would make sense that you have not really improved on your ramp test, as you have not really done any VO2 work. You may have still increased your FTP a bit however, if measured by more steady state efforts.

However, I would not recommend changing your training just to do better on a ramp test. Your goal here is (presumably) to do better in a triathlon, not to test better. And you would would do just that by increasing your TTE at SS, which you are not really assessing with a ramp test.

A more valid test to assess race performance may be something like ability to hold target power for a prolonged period of time (ex: you can hold 210w for 4 hours now, whereas previously you could only do that for an hour).


I believe Olympic triathlon bike distance is 40km, which puts the target at around 1 hour.

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Yeah i came out of the tri plan a 7 weeks ago and have since completed SSB1 but see less benefit in going SSB2 vs. a build/higher effort focus. For reference i definitely slack on the Z2 sessions!

@cnidos Thanks for comments. Fair point on the type of test / improved capability over distance / time. Totally agree. Improving my tri performance is the goal.

I’m not purely focusing on ramp test performance but just use it as another metric for improvement. In this case I’m hitting a plateau at 340w and feel like i need to increase my capability at higher intensity to then raise my base in SS again. Doing more SS will give improvements but i’d expect if i build on this VO2 max gap i should see a step up in base after some more SS work and hopefully be a tad faster for it.

This is a perfect example of why the ramp test isn’t optimal for everyone. Go out and do a sustained FTP test, it would be more specific to your goals/training than a ramp test. You’ll probably break all sorts of PRs if you went and did a TTE test.

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Stopped doing the ramp test and switched over to the 20 minute. I use it as a chance to gauge my improvement in sustained power, which is more applicable to triathlon than max one-minute power. If it detects a new/higher FTP, woot woot.

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Lol shows how much I know about triathloning :rofl:

I keep toying with the idea of doing a sprint triathlon and progressing to olympic! My legs still don’t like running :frowning: