Largest FTP increase ...? In shortest time

Dear All,

I was challenged by someone to see who could get the largest %age FTP boost in 6 weeks.

The challenger was moderately trained and 15kg heavier than me and I was just at the end of my “Off-Season” that had crept up to 4-5 weeks.

We started at a surprisingly similar FTP. However, the challenger gained 25watts / 9% in 6 weeks.

Has anyone else seen that or achieved that. Or did he sand-bag on the base level test at the start?

Thoughts, please.

PS He did 6 weeks of 4hrs/week Zwift FTP Booster (all long duration sub FTP so from my understanding a long term boost but not in just 6 weeks).

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What does “moderately trained” mean?

Sure, check out the FTP improvement thread:

It’s impossible to answer this.

What were his and your watt/kg increases?

Going from 275W to 300W in 6 weeks of structured training, coming from no structured training history, does not seem outrageous.


I might be way off base here, but if your challenger outweighs you by 15kg, and you still started with similar FTPs, then I’m assuming you started off in better shape, and gaining a big chunk of W is going to be harder for you than it was for him.

Who gained the most in terms of W/kg and %?

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I had just under 20 watts in 39 days of SS when I first started TR (262–>279)

later on I had a nice gain after SSB1 again, 14 watts (295–>309) in 36 days (LV + quite some extra)
from then on it had been more of a struggle to maintain ~300 watts let alone gain more (so I’m trying 20 minute test FTP for the next blocks).

So yes, depending where you are in your progress curve, this is possible, but no one stops you from digging not so deep on the first FTP test , so you have to trust someone :slight_smile:

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One way to check, is to compare the heart rates in the first and second test. For example for a ramp test you would expect the second test to have a lower heart rate than the first throughout the test at comparable power levels and then max out at the same heart rate as the first test but at a later stage.

For a 20 min test you would expect both tests to have the same average heart rate.

Sandbagging would clearly show in the ramp test if both tests have the same heart rate build up, with the first stopping at a lower level. In the 20 min test it would show if the average heart rate in the first test is much lower than in the second.

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Coincidentally he forgot his HRM on test 1 …hmmmm??? That was exactly my thought.


What FTP test did you do? And how was it performed?

He rides 3 -4 hours a week and about once every 6 weeks does a 100km type 3-4hr ride. So not untrained but previously not using any structure or plan.

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Both did Ramp Test me on TR, him on Zwift. Suits him better but it was fairer as I can pace 20min he would mess it up.

Think he did sand bag - the solution is a re-test in 6 weeks see if he gets as big a bump.

Do you have access to his ride data of past rides, preferably one where he was making an effort to go fast?

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You’re right I’m fitter and have much better endurance but his short term power is greater as he’s 15kg heavier. He gained 9% and I was pretty much unmoved (which surprised me as I came off a 4+ week Off-Season)…so six weeks of suffering for I guess an improved TTE.

“Or did he sand-bag on the base level test at the start?”

It was really a rhetorical question. Down to trust. But one of my club mates did say “he’s a liar!”

I expected his FTP to be about 15-20w greater than mine (I still have the w/kg advantage and the better TTE etc) but it was the bump of 25w in 6 weeks that really blew my mind…or made me doubt Test #1.

Next time you need better ground rules. Like HRM must be worn on both ftp tests, same pm/bike/trainer needs to be used and ftp tests must use the same protocols.

25 watts is plausible though.


He’s on Strava but with no PM and only a HRM so no real comparison possible.

I’ll just assume he sand-bagged test #1 and test #3 will show a steadier climb. I hope I get a better boost myself, but I’m now firmly committed to S/S Base med/hi volume…so I don’t expect much after that in the short term.

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Depends a little bit how much effort you want to put into it. But you could look at his avg speed on hard 5 or 10 minute climb , if you know grade and his weight, you can plug it in here and estimate the power that was needed. That should give an indication if FTP was closer to 275 or 300.

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Ok three things:

  • My first six weeks on TR (low volume) gave me a 20% FTP increase; first twelve was 38%. Structure can work pretty dramatically in the beginning.
  • He’s 15kg heavier than you, so it is beyond pointless to compare raw watts. W/kg will give you marginally more relevant information, but even then unless you’re using similar equipment, it’s still a crapshoot.
  • :grimacing: This does not sound like a very fun competition?

This competition rewards the person who started out the least fit. :thinking:

Reminds me of a guy I knew in college who thought the point was to graduate as quickly as possible. Three years in with a crappy GPA, he had sufficient credits and told everyone, “so long, suckers.” Applied for positions at prestigious public accounting firms and didn’t get any of them.

Oh yes I know he’s heavier and therefore able to throw more of the weight into short/medium term power.

The test was to see who got the greatest bump after 6 weeks of training, I just knew everyone would ask what the actual numbers were so posted that too.

I was just amazed that he went from close to me to nearly 25 more in just 6 weeks. I expected him to get a bump as he’s coming from a low base, but that level of growth really surprised, really really surprised me.

He swears by Zwift and think it’s got real “transferability” personally I’ll meet him in the real world but doubt that I’ll get worried.