Higher progression levels or take new FTP test?


Is there a benefit of taking a new FTP test and potentially train with higher FTP, compared to continue with same FTP and increase the progression levels?
Is it better to train with high FTP or better to train with high progression levels?
Please help me decide if I should take a new FTP test tomorrow or continue until the progression levels reach higher numbers.

Endurance: 5.9
Sweet spot: 5.9
VO2Max 5.5
FTP: 193

Target FTP: 220, hopefully this will help from the back of the pack on Sunday rides to at least the middle. :slight_smile:

MTB XC marathon (2-4 hour rides)
It’s the 2nd year I use trainerroad in the winter and have completed SSB II.
Age: 49

Thanks in advance for advise.

I’ve heard it’s better to increase your duration at a ftp before increasing your ftp


I wouldn’t think of changing FTP unless your threshold level is around 6-7 even then I’m probably wrong. I would just increase TTE with the ftp you have, then do a retest when it is on the calendar.


I think this is a personal choice and may differ depending on how you feel at that time or how long you’ve been progressing at the current FTP. Sometimes you get bored of progressing and want to see the number change. I’ll add, you don’t necessarily need to retest. You can just update your FTP and start from there. There is also truth to progression being important for durability at an FTP, but you can only tolerate that for so long without a change. I think the lower end of what Foodpedaling is suggesting may be a good bar, but I think even so, if you are thinking about it, then might be time for a change.


I am curious what your threshold progression is. You left that out. SS and VO2Max are relatively easy to progress compared to threshold. Those are scaled a bit friendlier in my opinion. When I’m in the upper 5s or lower 6’s in Threshold I’m probably in the mid 6’s and lower 7’s in VO2Max and 7’s and 8’s in SS.

I wouldn’t worry about your endurance level, and you could definitely push a little further into SS and VO2. The thing I like about going deeper into PLs is you get new workouts. I tend to get a bit frustrated if I update ftp too often as I then end up repeating exercises instead of experiencing new ones. To me, that surprise and achievement of conquering crazy looking workouts is part of what keeps me motivated to train indoors.


Threshold: 3.2
I’ll do a threshold tomorrow and check if I can push it a bit.

Maybe just do a Kolie Moore FTP test that would both be a great threshold workout and give you an assessment of FTP and TTE

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Thanks for the comments, it’s really motivating.
New PL for threshold: 4.4
I’ll continue a while with this FTP and use “train now” and try to push the PL towards 7.

This is an interesting discussion. I am curious if there are any blog posts or podcast talks on the topic. In the past year, I have gone through the SSB, SSBII, Build programs. Albeit inconsistent with mixed outdoor riding. Right now for indoor riding, I am programming my own 4 days a week VO2max (Tue), Threshold (Thu), SS 90 minute (Sat), Temp 90 minute (Sun). I am 4 weeks in and progressing nicely into the 4’s and 5’s going with my own appetite and feel for how to progress. None of the template Training Programs go past 5.5 before you are testing your FTP again. I kind of want to ride it out for 7 or 8 weeks and see if I get into the mid 7.0s before testing.

I am also curious if it would ever make sense to set a goal FTP and work up from 1.0 and see what happens. I am at 272 right now (started at 220 about a year ago). I don’t have any race goals, just a 40-year-old man hoping to one-day ramp test at 300 watts and use that for some long threshold climbs here in the Denver foothills. If I ramp test two weeks from now with a nice recovery week I am guessing 276 or 278 per my usual progression. Maybe I just put it up to 285 and see what happens starting around 1.0.

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  • I am not sure that is true. Just today, I saw an example where 2 users (I see along with one other) see very different training plans even when looking at the same one (POL 6 Week Base, High Vol).

  • These differences appear to be the result of the different Progression Levels each of us has as of right now. So it seems that TR is “customizing” the presentation of the ‘default’ training plans based upon our current PL’s

  • This is all very new to me, and not confirmed by TR as of yet, so we could be wrong. But if true, what you are seeing in your example is a direct result of your current PL’s, and may not represent what others will see.

  • Regardless of that above, what is setting on your plan at any point is not concrete. The whole point is that AT may well adjust your future workouts up or down, as your experience and report on your workouts. There may be a planned progression assigned, but your actual progress will alter that up or down.

  • So don’t assume that a projected plan will be that same way, because I’d bet it changes over time. TR said to think of it like a weather report. The ride for tomorrow is well set and known, but the one 2 weeks out is a guess and likely to change more than once until you get there.

  • Why? Meaning, what is the ultimate purpose in that change?

  • You can certainly skip any test and just keep moving forward, but as above, the ‘why’ would seem worthwhile to determine.

  • Again, why?

  • You are potentially undermining the core programming that exists within the AT universe. FTP is used as an anchor, not a goal.

  • If you set an FTP that is some hope/wish/goal that is higher than your actual FTP, you will be experiencing workouts that are too hard, making presumably poor survey results (Hard, Very Hard All Out) far more than you would if you were following a plan based upon a proper FTP.

  • That is a recipe for disaster IMO, even if you ignore AT. That goal FTP concept just doesn’t work if you use FTP for any aspect of defining your workouts. Sure, AT might eventually adjust your workouts to somehow align, but I think it would be far from ideal with lots of wasted time and inappropriate efforts. AKA bad training.

ETA: So much of the above reads to me like “What happens if I don’t follow the instructions?” type of comments. I just don’t get it. I can see it a bit if we start discussing the potential for FTP measurement errors, but that is a WHOLE different discussion to a point, and not what is being mentioned above.

Not sure what it is supposed to achieve with that divergence vs doing it the intended way?


Last time I saw it was November 11th. It appears to be a very straightforward “athlete asks for a plan, TR takes the default plan and adjust workouts for current PLs, and thats what goes on the calendar.” For me with SSB1 that produced a calendar with sweet spot workouts at .8 or .81 or .82 IF corresponding to SS PLs of 1.0 or so because no PL credit for how I do outside workouts.

I like to wait until my progression levels for threshold and VO2 are in the 7s before taking a ramp test. If your levels get too low, you might not get enough time in zone.


thank you for saying that, I think some are getting so focused on PLs they are losing sight of training fundamentals.

I wait until longer threshold workouts become easier, then I adjust FTP.

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I saw a 2.5% bump in ftp with a threshold level of 5.8, my Vo2max was around 6.5. That’s just my experience and doesn’t mean the same holds true for everyone else. I’m also a ramp tester with estimated FTP from my garmin and eftp consistent with the ramp test results.
I went through ssb2 and the first block of build to “build my levels” which in the end made my TTE longer. IMO it’s a good thing to build levels but any threshold workout above 7 looks like a rough day and wouldn’t suggest it to anyone most of the year.