Never ending FTP increase?

I am new(ish) to indoor training. I got a smart trainer about a year ago and i cant believe i waited this long to get one (in reality trainers are expensive, that’s the reason i waited this long).

Anyway, my first formal ramp (june 2019) I got 208w (2.95).
My latest one (last week) 244w (3.47).

For the past 10 months my ftp has gone up between 2% and 3% after each ramp.

I want to hear opinions and experiences from cyclists and triathletes (specially tri guys since that what i do).

When could i expect my ftp to plateau , meaning when my ftp will stay basically flat (maybe going up 1 or 2 watts one test and then going down 1 or 2 watts the next).


There’s really no way of knowing this. Everyone has different limits and there are a lot of factors in play. Most people go through periods of growth followed by periods of consolidation of those gains followed by more growth until they hit a physiological or (more likely) a training limit. FTP graphs over long times often look like staircases. Train on, and don’t worry too much about it.

at about 70kg, I stagnated for years at a peak of around 255W because I wasn’t able to train consistently… came back to consistent training at 232W, got that up to about 260W after five months, then stagnated for about four months, then up to ~270W, stagnated for about eight months, now up to 280W hopefully I’ll grow for a while. Who knows? I just train on and focus on the inputs I can control - consistency, time, and effort - rather than the results.


Thanks for your input
I guess consistency is they key for growth.
Ive been lucky. I’ve been mostly injury free and training basically non stop for the last 9 years (7 years as a runner and the last 2 years slowly turning into triathlete). But its been TR what really did it for me. So kudos for existing TrainerRoad


@Joelrivera don’t quote me on this but it’s close…ftp generally will top out around 80%-90% pVO2max (5 minute power). I think the % are off a bit but, more fit athletes are or should be all things equal a little higher % of pVO2max. And not so elite athletes or not genetically gifted perhaps closer to 80%…anyways, good data always makes the water slightly muddy.

But it gets muddier because you can raise pVO2max with training, as well as push your FTP closer to pVO2max with training. I can’t really think of a good way to give him any kind of definitive answer.


Yeah this is just a good WAG. Muddy because doing a good 5 minute max effort (for me) is harder than a 20 minute test. Unless I am in a group/race that really forces me to keep going.

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Is that supposed to assume some base level of fitness though? A 20 year old plucked off the couch from a life of video games isn’t going to do much on their first 5min test, but 18mos of structured training is going to see a big impact.


Welp, I guess I have about 15 watts of improvement left…

This figure is just what data shows. TR has an article (I’ll try and find it that stated 78%-85%). This is a moving target so, the more training and testing the more useful the numbers get…

Here is the TR article:

Assuming your pVO2max is as high as it will go. Both pVO2max and FTP are trainable and therefore moving targets…Obviously, there are limits but, it’s good to know your general window I think.

Its probably not going to go much higher although I could probably extend time at that power just by HTFU.

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Yeah, so the blog says :

In comparison to VO2 max, your FTP generally falls between 78-85% pVO2 max, with pVO2 max falling around 118-128% FTP. This is the reason why VO2 max workouts from TrainerRoad use 120% FTP as the basis for short, intense intervals. Erring near the lower end of the spectrum, these workouts allow you to do more work while still at a very high percentage of pVO2 max. That’s what really matters — spending time training at high percentages of pVO2 max.

(fwd a few para)

FTP falls at a certain percentage of your pVO2 max. Remember that 78-85% statistic? An athlete whose FTP is currently 78% of their pVO2 max can push their FTP closer to their pVO2 max — maybe even as high as 85%.

However, there comes a point where you simply can’t push your FTP any closer to your VO2 max limit. That’s when it’s time to revisit VO2 max work and try for some of those VO2 max improvements mentioned earlier. Even if you’re a high-level athlete gutting it out for an extra 2-3% improvement, that increase will allow you to lift your FTP a few percentage points.

So it’s useful, but I don’t know if it’s fair to say “Do a 5 min test, take 85% of that, there’s your max FTP.” The more and more advanced a rider is, the more and more accurate it probably becomes, I suppose, but that’s a bit of a feedback loop more than it is a predictive piece of data, I suspect; as gains become smaller and smaller and smaller, the athlete already suspects they’re encroaching.

But it’s interesting as a thought experiment for sure. I don’t think I want to know my max; I already feel aggressively average. :pleading_face:

Atta boy! That is extremely important and insightful.

Agreed. I posted just to respond to the op’s title: “Never Ending FTP Increase”. We all know it doesn’t, and I was just trying to give some way to quantify the ceiling.

I know it’s impossible to always be improving ftp. I’m new to this training with power thing and I find the whole thing interesting.

If it makes people feel better, I raced and trained short course tris quite a bit through my 20s and 30s, AG wins, overall podiums, AG nationals, AG worlds, etc. FTP never above 255 at around 69-70kg. Career precluded me from training consistently year after year… I was spotty year on year off from age 26 to age 41.

I trained for a 70.3 and PRed that distance in 2018 at 41… but not fast enough to meet my qualification goals. The last two years, I dedicated myself to the bike (my event limiter) and spent time on the trainer mostly doing TR plans, but some of my own stuff too. I started TR at 233W (where I raced that 70.3) training 30s intervals over 300W. Now 43 with 2 kids under 4, and I’m at 280 and 4W/kg and I can hold 300 forever relatively speaking…

Point is: even if you’re a high performing triathlete or a “just” mid packer with 20 years experience, what looks like your limit now may not be your limit. Change something up if you need to, focus on your weakness… but always train consistently and progress is possible, even at my advanced “training age”. :blush:


I think most people won’t really truely plateau until 4+ wkg. Theres a reason 5wkg is the benchmark lots of people aim for, getting much higher than that requires a lot of either work or natural talent.

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Thought you might find this interesting from Dr Andrew Coggan

Old post but still quite informative

Re: What FTP can be expected from the average Joe? [Canadian] [ In reply to ]

[Andrew Coggan]

May 18, 10 8:52

Post #31 of 139

Let’s do some figgerin’…

The average healthy but sedentary, college-aged male has a VO2max of approximately 45 mL/min/kg. However, I have seen it argued based on studies of, e.g., aboriginal tribes (and there are population data from Europe as well as military inductees here in the US to suppor the conclusion) that the “default” VO2max of the average human male is closer to 50 mL/min/kg, and the only way to get below this is to assume a couch-potato lifestyle, gain excess weight, etc. (and/or grow old, of course). So, I’ll go with that latter number.

With short-term training, VO2max increases by 15-25% on average, with another perhaps 5-10% possible (on average, anyway) with more prolonged and/or intense training. That gives a total increase of 20-35%, so I’ll go with 30% just for argument’s sake.

So, if VO2max is, on average, 50 mL/min/kg and increases by, on average, 30%, that means that the average Joe ought to be able to raise their VO2max to about 65 mL/min/kg with training. Indeed, there are many, many, many, MANY amateur endurance athletes with VO2max values of around that number (not to mention the fact that athletes in team sports with an endurance component - e.g., soccer - often have a VO2max of around 60 mL/min/kg, something that is also true in other sports that you don’t normally consider to be of an endurance nature, e.g., downhill skiing or motocross - i.e., motorcycle - racing).

The question then becomes, how high might functional threshold power fall as a percentage of VO2max (again, on average), and what does this translate to in terms of a power output? The answer to the former is about 80% (LT, on average, being about 75% of VO2max in trained cyclists), which means that in terms of O2 consumption, a functional threshold power corresponding to a VO2 of 65 mL/min/kg * 0.80 = 52 mL/min/kg could be considered average. If you then assume an average cycling economy of 0.075 W/min/kg per mL/min/kg, this equates to…

3.9 W/kg

Last edited by: [Andrew Coggan](’GForum::SEO::url(params%20=>): May 18, 10 9:12


Ok, so I wonder if reverse engineering this for getting an FTP estimate would work :thinking:

For example, my last RAMP gave me a value of 341. During this RAMP I got a 5min PR of 416. This puts my FTP for this effort at 81,97% of this (“hypothetical?”, not sure) pVO2.

So now knowing this, would it be a good metric to use this 81,97% of my best 5min power to get an FTP reading? What if at the same time I would get a better value by doing a well paced 5min effort at say 425 then a RAMP based 416. Which value would give a better FTP estimate? :wink: