Performance Decline over 40?

I am 43 and seem to have plateaued for the last couple years. I decided I would need to do something different this year if I were to improve, so I did the SSB HV plan instead of the mid volume I have done in the past. I also started incorporating some strength workouts 1-2 times per week (lunges, squats, etc).

I followed the plan very closely and only missed one workout in the whole 6 weeks. TSS progressed perfectly each week and at the end I had the highest 6 week average I have ever had.

Nutrition and recovery were on point the whole 6 weeks - no alcohol, lots of greens, carbs, spirulina, 9-10 hours of sleep per night. It was the limit of training for me.

When I retested I was so confident I would see a good increase, but my FTP went down!

I know the end of gains would eventually come, but I thought I had a few years.

Any one else experiencing a “premature” fade in fitness?

When you say “improve” do you mean chasing a ramp test number? Actual race results? Other?

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Wait until you turn 50!


if you used the ramp test this year, as its relatively new, and the 20 min test in years past, go back to the 20 min test. i used the ramp test last year and decided its a wildly inaccurate picture of my true fitness on the road. for me…i must stress for me…because someone will get all worked up. if your not an anaerobic monster i feel like it short changes you, and if you’re newer to riding it gives you a higher result due to the short amount of time you’re actually making an effort. like the 8 min test vs the 20 min test. all newbs (including myself at the time) use the 8 min test because its just plain easier. ive been campaigning against the ramp test for a wile now. in all honesty now that ive trained with power for many years i wish there was an hour test to get the true ftp. all opinions though. i think consistently using the same test protocol is more important than which one you use


If you’ve been on HV plans you should totally opt for the 20 minute test. The ramp test is pretty oft complained about in terms of accuracy. If you can handle the pacing the 20 minute test seems like a better estimator of “hour power” than the 8 minute version. I understand the 8 minute version is preferred by TR to avoid the need for pacing but again, you are using an 8 minute test to extrapolate your 60 minute power.


If you did everything you said I suspect your test protocols be the issue. And age decline? I am 75+ and my FTP is up this year from 16 years ago so age isn’t to blame. Check out Friel;


I’m 43 near 44. I don’t feel like I’m declining yet, only recovery periods need to be larger after big efforts.
About the quote. I drink wine at bigger meals (lunch and dinner) and 2 or 3 dark beers after group rides on weekends and If I’d sleep all of those hours I’d be sleepy and would not be willing to exercise :smiley: if I slepp 6 to 7 hours I’m happy.
Not everyone is alike so keep on and you probably test some improvements after build phase.

I mostly mean test results and also a time on a local 15-20min hill. I had some good race results last year (for me), but I just cant seem to get past 3w/kilo.

There is an occasional 7-8 hour night of sleep. I feel horrible those days of I am training.

I have used the ramp test several times, but you bring up a good point. The aerobic nature of SS probably doesn’t help with such a short test.

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Good point

Thats amazing Ed. I guess I shouldn’t abandon all hope!

Gotcha…I’m 51 now and have been using power since 2007.

Things that have gotten better: Durability and repeatability.

Things that have not changed: Every power metric from peak sprint to hour power. They ebb and flow throughout the year but, my power curve at the end of the year looks about the same as it did in 2007.

Things that have gotten worse: Assumed max HR or peak HR for any given ride/workout I’m pushing it.

My three big recommendations for anyone getting older is stay consistent, stay lean and rest/recover more. A 4th might be don’t make age an excuse. You’ll defeat yourself before you start. The mental aspect to this sport is important.


I am using that other platform fake Alpe d’Huez for that, I usually climb it up in around 50 to 55mn to test my fitness and i take the average watts as my FTP number, i know that for me it’s a pretty accurate value that reflect well the outdoor rides I do,


First of all very impressed with youre ability to sleep.
Second im pretty sure like most says youre not too old to still get big gains, maybe you just do too much TSS/SST work than youre used to and have raised TSS too much too fast?.

You say that u did the TSS progress each week as planned, but did you also raise FTP/feel that the intervalls got easier underway? If not i think youre legs didn manage the load. I have never done a FTP test and only adjust along the way, if you need a test to say if you have gotten stronger/weaker/no change in a program something is wrong, you should know.
SSB probably might not increase ramp test.

I’m at SSBHV modified version myself.
AT week 1 i did 310mins of avg 90,8%, now in week 5 im doing 400Mins of avg 92,8%. So i have increased my “FTP” without touching it and doing 20% more SST. So even without a test i know i have had big gains in 5 weeks.

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I think the main issue was your hops/kg ratio is low. Start with 1 ipa with each dinner with a minimum of 40 ibus. Increase your ibus/kg ratio to at least 2 and I think you’ll be awesome.


I’d say proceed as you are to the build phase and when you finish that, then report back. You have a good thing going!

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Could it be that the HV plan, coupled with additional strength training, just took more from you than you realised?

Sounds like your diet and day-to-day recovery is spot-on but it might be that it’s just enough to enable you to complete the plan.

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I’m 44. No decline yet, have improved a bit the last couple of years through an increase in volume and training a bit smarter, plus paying more attention to sleep, diet, etc.

I find that the older I get the more I need to look at the big picture and consistency over months and years, not weeks. Used to be that I could just get into training after some time off, throw down some big sessions and weeks, and make rapid gains. These days that approach doesn’t work so well, I need to build up gradually, and rapid increases in volume are more likely to tip me into over training than make me stronger. Doesn’t mean I can’t still throw in some epic rides or weeks, but I need to build up to them a bit more and take it easy for a bit longer afterwards. I tend not to test very often as my FTP doesn’t change that much unless I’ve had a long break from training, and I have a very good idea of where it is anyway from how sessions feel so I can adjust it manually if needed.

My advice would be to listen to your body more, take easy days when you need them, look at how TSS and volume is building over many months not just a 6 week block. Unless you’ve been performing at an extremely high level in your 30s I think the vast majority of people can still improve well into their 40s

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I agree with the others. SSBHV is likely a culprit to a decreased FTP if using the ramp test as you won’t have touched threshold/VO2 power levels for weeks. I was in the same situation last year having followed HV to the letter only to find my FTP barely changed.

I can only speak for myself but I did notice big gains out on the road and a further increase in FTP following the workouts scheduled in three build phase. In HV base is literally just that and if you’re already at a decently high level an increase in FTP -using the ramp test at least- is unlikely. Hence why I’m doing my own version of HV this year, swapping some sweet spot for threshold so that I don’t totally neglect the high end power for 12 weeks. Might be worth trying?