Ramp test results

So after completeing Sweet Spot Base II high volume , I did my Ramp test today to start my Short power build phase, I only gained 8 watts from my pre SSB II high volume ramp test. I was hoping for more. I got 20 seconds into the last step and quit, I might have been able to go a bit longer but there was no way I could have done the rest of the 40 seconds. Not today. My heart rate was pretty close to its normal max at the end ofthe test .

Just curious if this is considered average gain after a phase. I entered SSB II high vol after a season of Cyclocross , (and a weeks rest)

I’m 51, Cat 1 MTB, and Cat 2 Cyclocross.
Tacx Neo in Erg Mode.


I would argue that you’re doing pretty well. I went to SSB from a full season of STXC and then CX and actually LOST about 10 watts, hehe.


Yup, I lost 15 watts coming off XC race season. Couple months of base now I’m +5 watts from my all time high. Just be consistent and you’ll keep improving.

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I should also add that I’m working my way through SSBMV2 and my FTP is clearly back to it’s previous high (from what I can tell from my workouts), so I expect some small gains in my next ramp test. For me, +10 watts would be awesome!

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Average gain is somewhere in the 2-5% for each base and build 6-8 week cycle, but I don’t remember where I heard that. Obviously if you are newer, the gains can potentially be larger.

Other non-TR sources have reported around 10-15w for a threshold focused block.


:+1: @stevemz i saw this somewhere as well

@Hoverp over the course of SS2LV (with avg 2-300 unstructured TSS) i gained 9watts which for me is 3% (via ramp test last week)… I believe your doing excellent… #trusttheprocessandseetheprogress

And also max hr is pretty bogus IMHO… I’m almost 20 y/o, in the past 6 months: I’ve done 2-4 ramp tests finishing 0-6bpm above “max hr” and in a crit i hit 206… I’m just suggesting that seeing hr shouldn’t be a limiter… :v:

I gained nothing over ssb1 and ssb2, should i ask for refund? :yum:


Yeah im 33 and hit 210 in a crit last year lol. Its totally bogus except at a pop level.

Also, as to the original question. I think that gain sounds great considering HV SSB has no top end, sounds like you are on track to have a great next season.

Ive had a similar experience losing 5-10 points on my ftp going from SSB1 to SSB2 to Short Power Build… so you are not alone and nothing quirky is going on imo. Here are my thoughts and how I am rationalizing it.

I’ve kind of told myself to trust in the process. It’s easy to get frustrated when the ftp goes down from plan to plan (or minimal gain plan over plan) but I look at it like this: Doing these plans makes you insanely strong regardless of how your ftp is changing or what the number growth is. I know I could ride somewhat casually and/or follow a very loose training plan, set my ftp probably close to 30 point above my current ramp test ftp and complete a really hard workout. Once. The issue (as I see it) is that isn’t real fitness. Anyone with a modicum of somewhat consistent training and riding can put up a big number in a test and do one workout. The amount of stress the plans (and workouts if done consistently according to the plan frequency) is insane especially as a masters athlete. I’m 45. I think it’s unlikely to see any real ftp gains if you are consistently doing the workouts as planned and have been training seriously for a couple of years. I’m sure there are going to be a bunch of posts of people posting big gains but this has been my experience so far. YMMV,

The only thing I’ve thought about changing with the plans is to go to a 2 on/1 off structure (rather than 3 on/1 off) that all of the plans are structured (as far as I can tell). Lynda Wallenfels structures her plans on a 2/1 basis for master’s athletes and I had good success following that structure about 5 years ago for a couple of XC seasons. I might go back to that and see how it goes (my enduro season starts in about a month).

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Same boat here. 46 y/o, just finished SSB2 MV and actually lost 5 watts FTP, about 2% I think. My new FTP might actually be more accurate though, as I just could not hang in there during VO2 max and the last intervals of threshold workouts without back pedaling. Plus, I gained weight to boot. (it’s the holidays, afterall.) Pretty discouraging day.

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YMMV but when doing SSB I find I have to keep nudging my workout percentage or change my FTP to a higher number over the course the plan. Otherwise as the weeks roll on the workouts are just a bit too easy. I find a 5-10% bump every 2-3 weeks over the course of SSB I & II gives me greater gains without introducing fatigue. As I said, YMMV, but this works for me and I see my FTP grow through the SSB phase and it’s reflected in the build ramp test.


I lost 10 as well after ssb2 so I’d say your doing fine :yum:

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I felt that too, but I didn’t change. I went with hi vol II and hot into the 700 TSS do I thought that was about right. It made me really focus on recovery.

Understand. My comment on the max heart rate was just to say I felt the test was pretty accurate for PE, and my hear rate is pretty consistent measurement for me and actually a pretty reliable indicator. So that said I thought the test was a valid test.
I’ve done so much training growing up in the pre power era that HR was always my tool. I know it very well.

@chad Please look at my career and tell me what is up with my lack of improvement? I am continually frustrated by 1-3W improvements (or even -1W). [This is over several years of using TR.] I know I become a better rider but don’t “see” results in numbers. I am a consistent user of TR but generally ride outside in the summer. In the Fall '18, I started with an FTP of 140, completed the cyclocross program with a 143FTP and just finished SSBLV with a 142FTP!!! What the heck?? I have read on this forum that you get more gains from the Build phases…Should I skip SSBLV2 and move onto a Build Phase? In the past, I have done SSBLV1 and 2, and start the Build Phase…but then temps rise and I head outdoors. I am 110#/64". Is this a limiting factor for me? I also use a Stages so I only have a left sided power. Thanks for any feedback! Love the podcast and the training programs:)

Could it be that LV is just not enough stimulation to elicit adaptations? Are you testing poorly and then training with a low FTP, thus the workouts aren’t hard enough? Are you overly fatigued (other stressors in life) not recovering and unable to reap the benefits of your hard work? Is consistency an issue? Are you underfueling your workouts causing you to bail early or turn down intensity?

What I’m getting at is there could be many things at play here.

@MI-XC Thank you for the response. To answer your questions:

  1. It is entirely possible the plan I am doing is not enough. I have always done SSBLV1 due to time constraints and wanting to have a rest day, 2 days of weights, and maybe a day of running. If I were to do SSBMV2, is it okay to skip the easy day?

  2. I am giving it my all during testing. My max HR is consistently between 187-192 during the last 9 FTP tests (3 - 8 Minute, 1 - 20 Minute, and 5 Ramp Tests). However, my HR may be a limiting factor in me not being able to go longer.

  3. No other stressors or lack of recovery. Maybe not quite as much sleep as I need but isn’t that everyone??

  4. Consistency - I have been following the plans exactly (Tues, Thurs, Saturday). However during Cross season, every Saturday was a race rather than the workout.

  5. I ride at 5:00AM on Tues and Thurs. Wake up, warm-up, have a gel and get to the workout. I have not failed any workouts or had to turn down intensity. There are definitely workouts where I count down the seconds left in the interval. For today’s FTP test, I slept in, had a Nature’s Bakery Bar and about hour later started the FTP test, where I had a gel during the warm-up.

Thoughts - Turn FTP up (say 145? 150?) and see if I can complete workouts??? Do SSBMV2 and just ride when I can? Move straight to Build phase as that is when we see FTP growth? Frankly, once it gets warm out, I will ride outside. That will be in about 10 weeks. Much of my cycling is social (riding with hubby, friends, groups). My primary race season is Cross and I had success doing the plan along my racing schedule and will implement that again this fall. It was also extremely beneficial to do with less daylight.

Thank you for any feedback!

Yes, if you’re referring to the Wednesday workout. I recommend MV for you. Just do what you can but make sure to get the interval sessions in.

This leads me to believe your FTP is a little low. If you’ve been a long time user and if you’re sufficiently being challenged (FTP is accurate), I’d expect you to have an off day or challenging workout that requires an intensity reduction and/or some back peddling at some point.

Yes, up FTP 2-5% or increase workout intensity 2-5%. Do MV and substitute non interval days for outdoors as you like. If life is too busy, don’t worry if you have to miss the occasional workout. That being said, SSB2 is significantly more challenging than SSB1, so tread lightly jumping to MV from LV and increasing FTP/intensity. You may need to start with MV and see how that goes first. If not being challenged enough, bump intensity/FTP a bit.

I’d stick with the Base-Build-Specialty progression. Remember, you will be building muscle endurance during Base that may not show up in FTP gains.

Lastly, if you use TR up until warm weather, then ONLY do outdoor rides, your fitness and FTP will likely decline. Unless you are very disciplined and continue structure and intervals outside, any gains through TR will slowly slip away. So when you start back up with TR when it’s cold again, you’ll be starting from square one, expecially since you’re a casual summer rider.

I recommend that once it gets warm, continue at a minimum, two structured indoor interval rides (maybe Tuesday and Thursday) and do the rest outdoors. Maybe go back to LV at this point. This will ensure consistent growth towards higher fitness. Then as you enter Cross season, do a Build than Specialty. The Specialty phase is not necessary meant for raising fitness (FTP) but rather refining specific demands (icing on the cake). So without a Base and Build in succession, the Specialty is not doing you much good.

Ideally you’d set up you calendar to go through a complete Base-Build-Specialty where the Specialty phase ends mid/late race season. Then you’d hold onto that “peak” the remainder of race season. As the weather changes during your training year, you’d do outdoor rides but keep structure and continue working towards you race goals.

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So I am thinking SSMV2 and keep FTP the same, but adjust as needed.

Frankly, I have a dumb trainer and 1 wheel - I hate swapping tires every time I ride. I will continue to mix up my rides when outdoors and when daylight gets sparse resume indoor training. The point of my post was that I don’t seem to increase my power. If I started at 143 FTP in the Fall and went up to 153 over the Winter, rode outside all summer and came back 148 in the Fall, I would only be little behind where I was but not back to square one. I can’t seem to get over 143 even with consistent indoor training. When I listen to the podcast, there are always big jumps of like 20W…I am lucky to get 1-2! It is so disappointing.

Hopefully MV is the key that I need.

Thanks for your feedback.