Next step after failing low volume build phase without FTP gain

Hello, I am pretty new to training or cycling seriously. A few months ago I started the low volume training plan and finished SSB1/2 without any problems and FTP gain from 120 to 170. However, I finished the first build phase unable to complete the majority of the workouts - I could reliably do the first 50% and would struggle for the remainder. My latest ramp test showed no FTP change.

I’m thinking my FTP increase at the same time as starting the build phase was just too much. What do you think I should do going forward? I was thinking of repeating low volume SSB1/2 at my current FTP. If relevant, I’m not training for anything in particular just looking for fitness and cycling gains. Thanks!


If you Re new to cycling, and have no particular objective, I’d recommend sticking to the base programs for the time being. You need to build an aerobic base before worrying about phases like Build or Specialty.

ETA - if you have time, either try to go up to MV or just add some easy rides on non-workout days to add volume. It will pay off huge.

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Probably NOT a good idea for someone who is already failing LV build workouts.

My suggestion would be to go back and re-do SSB2 (at your current FTP), and see how you go with Build after that.


Please re-read the entire comment. I am recommending him redo base programs, not build. He said that he had no problems doing SSBLV 1/2 so it is reasonable for him to try and see how MV goes,OR add easy rides on non-workout days to add volume.


Apologies. I might have focussed a bit much on the parts I disagreed with, rather than those where we are agreed (that the OP needs more time working on their aerobic base).

I firmly believe that the OP should be on a plan where they CAN successfully complete the workouts, before adding more volume. LV to MV is a move from 3 structured workouts per week to 5 per week - this is probably not a good fit for someone who in their own words is “new to training or cycling seriously.”

To the OP. Repeating base may seem stale, but doing base at 170 FTP is HUGE progress over doing it at 120.


OK, I’m making the assumption that you tested with a ramp test. If so, it’s likely that you’ve over achieved on the test. I would go back to SSB2 before trying build again.

You should almost always be able to complete a workout if your ftp is set right. If at any point during a workout you think you might have to pull the plug, dial the intensity down. If this happens in a few workouts then you might need to manually reduce your ftp number so that you can complete all workouts going forward.


Agree, FTP is probably set too high. I would try reducing ftp by 5-7% and restart from ssb lv1. If done at threshold instead of sweet spot because of inaccurate ftp, ssb lv1 can see some nice early improvement, but everything is collapsing as soon as build is coming with its longish sub threshold intervals (supra threshold instead because of too high ftp…).

There is also a thread on the forum regarding over testing in ramp test for some individuals, who have a higher anaerobic contribution than average. You might find some interesting takeaways for your situation.


And let me add that the first sweetspot workouts of ssblv1 with short intervals (less than 10mn) should feel boringly easy. A nice feeling of pushing on the pedals, but no heavy breathing or dreading to see the interval finish when you are at the end of it. If it is the case, you are at or just below threshold…

If I’m gonna be perfectly honest, I’d recommend the OP do Traditional Base MV if he has the time. It will help build his aerobic foundation and will almost certainly build his FTP as well since he is new to the sport.

Reaching anything close to your potential in cycling is a journey that takes time. But building that foundation is essential and too many focus on FTP too early, IMO.


One thing to try would be to eat more carbs on the bike while training. This exact thing happened to me and after listening to the podcast and them hammering home “fuel the work”, I tried upping my carb intake on the bike to 80-100g/hr and the build workouts (which are more carb centric in their fuel consumption, vs base) got a lot easier. That said, I did go back to base before I hit build again. I’ve seen great improvements in base, so if there’s not a specific race on the near horizon, I think doing more base rarely hurts.

Yeah, I’m a fan of Traditional Base myself. Although finding the time during the week can make it tough to recommend as a default option…

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Yup…which is why adding in easy rides to a SSB program is a good default option as a way to build volume.

From what I’ve learnt if I’ve had a big jump from SSB I go back and do it again rather than go to build.
If I go to build after a big jump I fail a lot of workouts.
Please don’t take what I’ve put as gospel though, this is very much n=1

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I would also urge you to not think of this as a failure. You figured out some good info about what training load (at this moment) is sustainable when you bump up the intensity. It’s a good learning experience and you can use it to direct your training as needed. Plus i would be willing to bet that you are fitter, regardless of the ramp test outcome.

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This is me today. Bump in FTP from 230 to 245 after SSBLV1&2, struggled with general build, failing some workouts, scaling back intensity with others. VO2 workouts much harder than threshold ones. After this block, no improvement in FTP on ramp test BUT feeling stronger generally and my old threshold does feel like high sweet spot.

I’m going back to SSB for a block and seeing what happens, but trying to add a little volume (going for +1 versions etc), and then I’ll try build again.

One additional thought…if you are new to cycling and structured training, a lot of the workouts in Build are going to seem really, really hard because you have not been exposed to those types of workouts (and are possibly lacking in aerobic foundation). There is a certain mentality that gets built up as well as your aerobic capabilities as you ride more and experience more.

If you find Build programs too hard, don’t feel like it is a failure…it is part of the process.

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I put some thumbs up in this thread, but as n=1 who also failed LV plans a year ago I want to add things in short. Large bump in terms of FTP can be said in TR language “You gain nice muscular endurance”, but you might used ramp test which doesn’t necessarily test your “aerobic endurance”.

Recently there was fire on Kolie Moore Podcast wisdom thread. I inferred from there that when someone has FTP increase, one’s aerobic endurance also would increase accordingly. But my speculation is that aerobic endurance/TTE component growth would not be sufficient in case of your 120 to 170 FTP increase and you are likely to fail your 1 to 1:30h workouts.

So in conclusion, dial down your FTP estimate and let your aerobic endurance grow in more sustainable/calm manner. Maybe your aerobic endurance can be leveled somewhere around 160 watts FTP(5% reduction? just guess).

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@rizaulait2 Can you link the thread that you mentioned that talks about over testing in ramp test for some individuals, who have a higher anaerobic contribution than average.

This seems like me. I think I may be getting higher FTP testing numbers because of that.

Sure! Here you go: