Results from SS Base Mid Volume II. Thoughts on my low FTP increase?

I just completed my first structured training program since starting cycling back in March of 2017. I felt I had a decent base coming into the end of CX season so I opted for SS base mid volume II so I could get a Build phase and Specialty phase before my first Crit race of 2019. I incorporated weight training, both upper and lower body, through the base phase and was also on a caloric deficit of around 500 calories per day unless I felt I wasn’t properly fueling my workouts. I’m 5’10" looking to get down to 155 pounds (70 kg) by the end of March.

I started with a 225 FTP at 166.6 pounds (77.5 kg) which put me at a 2.98 w/kg
I re-tested with a 235 FTP at 161.8 pounds (73.4 kg) which put me at a 3.20 w/kg

I’m disappointed with only a 10 watt jump in FTP. Unfortunately the test doesn’t measure max 15 second or 1 minute power which I believe was improved as all my lower body lifts went up.

I little info on my training off the bike. I lifted lower body on Sunday nights 4-8 hours after my training ride that day. The movements consisted of single leg press, squats, deadlifts, thrusters, maximum overload lunges, and added core work at the end. Besides warm up sets I kept the reps low from around 4-8 depending on the movement as to build strength. Thursday I would complete a set of the maximum overload lunges. Outside of the above leg training I trained upper body 3-4 times a week.

I was able to complete every workout without failing or missing a day. Some workouts I really had to dig deep and was on the brink of failing but pushed through. Some days were harder due to sore legs or feeling a little hungry but again I didn’t fail or miss a workout. I also added recess on Monday and Friday and spun for 30-60 minutes.

My question is why the low jump in FTP after I felt I crushed the last 6 weeks.

Ftp increases aren’t as dramatic as you think. 10 watts is a FANTASTIC improvement.

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Fingers crossed I get a 10 watt (4-5%) increase from ssb2 mv with weight loss. That seems like a nice improvement to me!

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10w = 4.5% gain from 5 weeks of work (6 including recovery week?).

I’ve recently been chided for “complaining” about a 6.5% gain in similar time (with a ton of work) and have been reassured by those with more experience at structured training than I that these are good gains.

You might have just done a sub-par ramp test – a snap shot of you at that moment. Perhaps you’re loaded with more fatigue than you think from all the strength work (which doesn’t necessarily directly translate into raising FTP).

Thing is, FTP is a general marker; it’s your job to keep and eye on things and re-evaluate any time you see fit. If your subsequent workouts are feeling super easy then simply manually adjust your FTP a bit and see what happens. No biggie.

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5ish% jump in FTP from 5 weeks of work? Sign me up.

Also, you’re doing a boatload of leg strength work in addition to five days on the bike per week. My guess is that the strength work is actually detracting from your improvement on the bike and your ability to raise your aerobic capacity for an hour because of excess fatigue in your legs. In other words, lifting weights has a ton of benefits, but those benefits might not directly translate to increased FTP.

I would recommend cutting back on the leg work. I would (and do) personally incorporate just one isolated leg push and one posterior chain exercise in addition to upper body and core work. For me, that’s Bulgarian split squats or pistols, and either deadlift or kettlebell swings.

I don’t know how old you are, but again, my GUESS here is that you’re not adequately recovering from a lot of hard cycling work followed by a lot of strength work, and if cycling is your priority, dial back the strength work some. If you did all that lifting Sunday night and then did your ramp test on Tuesday morning, you gave yourself 36 hours of recovery between a 2-hour ride + heavy strength work into a ramp. Depending on your age, you wouldn’t be ready to really bury yourself on a ramp test… at 41 I know I wouldn’t. You probably would’ve seen better results had you not lifted on the Sunday night before your Tuesday ramp test.

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I agree with the above, 10W = large % increase. Especially if your were fit at the start. I’d be happy with 10-15W increase after completing all phases (base/build and speciality).

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That increase actually seems pretty good for sweet spot work. My results from SSB1 were pretty much flat, as is typically expected. Wrapping up SSB2, I expect gains to be marginal again. The idea behind sweet spot is that it creates a HUGE foundation for build phase, where you will see most of your gains.

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That’s a solid improvement. No need to rush it.

Also worth mentioning that you don’t need to finish specialty until later in the season.

I’m personally on a second round of base, even though I’ve done build and will be racing in March.

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Echoing everyone else, that’s a good improvement. I would definitely take that.

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+10W and -5lbs in 5 weeks of work…what exactly were you hoping to accomplish in that amount of time that you didn’t achieve?

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Agreed with @trpnhntr

0.2w/kg every 5 weeks would be a massive rate of improvement.

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I would disagree slightly, I think that if you are relatively untrained, or detrained you can make big gains over the base and build phases, certainly larger than 5%. the FTP improvements thread shows that.

In this case it may well be doing too much and not fuelling enough…a TR plan, plus weight work, plus weight loss.

I think you can only do one of those really well at a time.

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Thanks for your insight nash031. I’m 30 and have a decent amount of weight training background from lifting the last 3-4 years although not always consistently. I figured the volume wasn’t to high vs bodybuilding leg days in the past. I also wasn’t thrashing my legs on a bike 5 days a week. I skipped my leg workout Sunday night leading up to the Ramp Test to be as refreshed and recovered as possible. I guess when you look at the increase as a percentage then it shows a larger increase.

I was also incorporating a lot of weight training because I feel my sprint power is the biggest thing I lack after racing Crits last year. If I hung with the pack till the end I could never out sprint anyone. I may take your advice and dial back the amount of movements on leg day.

I guess I got caught up reading other posts about 20-25 watt FTP improvements over similar training times. I didn’t really set a weight goal so I was happy with that but I figured I’d improve my FTP by at least 15-20 watts. After reading the comments I feel better about the gains.

I was out with the flu during week 6 of sweet spot base mid volume 2, then took a ramp test today. Still not 100%, but FTP up 6 watts, weight down about 3 pounds. I’m calling it a win. The op had twice the watt gain, twice the weight loss. Not terrible IMO. I’m hoping when I retest in a week or two and am 100%, I pick up at least a handful of watts. We’ll see.

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Good stuff. I have a long background of “bodybuilding” type of weight lifting (about 12 years worth in my teens and 20s) and then several years of CrossFit and other olympic lifting in my 30s. I found that as I hit my 30s, that type of lifting was detrimental to my endurance sports performance. I think there’s a time for heavy lifts, and IMO that time is the offseason when I’m not doing any structured work, or during the base phase if I’m doing more traditional base work (not Sweet Spot Base). I know that right now at my age, there’s no way I could tolerate that much strength work and still get through SSB2MV. In any event, I don’t think it’s reasonable for me to think I can lift the same way I used to when lifting was my primary thing, and still improve on the bike the way I want to. You might be experiencing the same!

I do my strength work twice a week, always the day before an off day after my ride for that day.

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