Small bump in FTP over a year?

Ok I’m at a loss here. I’m not sure what I’m doing right or wrong when it comes to the ramp test.
A little background… started structured workouts about a year ago, FTP was at like 138 on the first ramp test, semiconductors was about 168, I bumped it to 170 then 175 to make it a little more challenging.!I did SSB1 LV then SSB2 LV. My wife had our first kid back in October so I tried to just keep some fitness by doing long endurance rides and then some SS. Fast forward to the beginning of this year started to really get back into the trainer to prep for the summer rides, then Coronavirus happens so back to Sweet Spot. Ramp test in March put be at 155 but I kept it at 170 (maybe I refused to accept the lower number?). Anyways decided to give the plan builder a shot and it put me through SSB1 and SSB2 LV, just completed those and then tested today, new FTP is 176.

Now I’m at a loss I don’t understand how I cannot get over this barrier. Today I ate well, hydrated well, took the test around the time my workout would normally be all to rule out variable factors. I’m not sure if it’s the bike trainer or the bike, or something else but I’m really trying to push for an FTP over 200 so I can be stronger and faster to keep up with the Cat 5 racers when/if races start back up.

Should I switch up my plan from SSB to another base? I’m about to go into General Build for e next 8 weeks not sure if my FTP will raise any since this is the first build I will have done since starting.

Appreciate the feedback. Let me know if any suggestions or thoughts you might have on this!

There will always be a ceiling and/or diminishing returns with any one plan, particularly if the volume is limited…perhaps you’ve reached it. You can’t do sweet spot base forever on low volume and keep progressing, otherwise we’d all do that. If you increased to mid-volume and did the same plan, you’d probably see further gains, or if you start doing the prescribed build phase on low volume you’ll likely see even more FTP gains as well. I think you’ll notice pretty quickly the build workouts will be more intense and painful compared to what you’re used to and thus cause more adaptation.

Trust the process and be patient.

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I’m betting you’ll see gains after the build plan. You’ve been doing only sweet spot and endurance so far, and part of the ramp test has you really pushing high into those VO2 and anaerobic zones. Until now, very little of your training has included workouts touching up that system. Potentially means that top end is limited right now.

If after build you don’t see any improvement, there’s nothing wrong with nudging up that FTP a couple watts (2 or 3 is plenty) to force changes.

Doing base over and over again won’t really net you any sort of huge gain. You need to do a build, that’s the whole point. The base is prep for the build.

You also seem to be a little inconsistent, which is probably the number one killer of improvement.

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Very valid points made. I think I’ll see this build through and maybe try to target a different base that works the VO2 system.

I can’t really do the mid volume based on my little one needing quite a bit of attention still. This is the main reason why I haven’t moved to mid volume not that I can’t physically do it.

This may be why I’m perceived as inconsistent. It has been a challenge to stay on the bike while having an infant to care for… lots of restless nights which resulted in poor performance on the bike. So I did what my body could handle. What really ended up happening was GIGO (Garbage in Garbage out).

I really appreciate the input! You guys certainly gave me some good insight into some other things to consider.

It sounds like you did great going from 155 back to 176 in short order. If you had stayed fitter and maintained the 170 from October through March, you might be at 190 or 200 by now.

I totally get that having kids is not super compatible with training. Been there done that. If you want to be fast, as suggested above, year after year of consistent volume and training are what do it. All the fancy intervals are the icing on the cake.

I’m going to suggest some extra volume if your wife will let you do it. Get up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday and/or Sunday and bust out 2 or 3 hours. If you start early you can be back at home by 9 or 10am. A long endurance ride once or twice a week will definitely take you to a new level.


See if it helps to be more flexible about how you view consistency.

Like, if you have an easy day, then a hard day, then an easy day (E, H, E), and on the night before the hard day, you are up all night with the infant, switch it to E, E, H. Do the hard days when you can and easy days when you can’t.

Arguably there are some weeks where the order of workouts matters but if you can’t hit the quality the plan is “assuming”, then what’s the point?

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Even 20-30-40 minutes of zone 2 can help with the consistency. Pretty much everyone can fit in 20-30 minutes a day.

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First lets assume when you made the manual move to 170 that was the correct thing to do. That means the 6 watt increase was ~4% increase which is great !
I only started TR in Jan and did the SSB2LV until March. I retested only a few days after a Tri. So I manual moved my FTP up 3% and was able to handle that. I recently finish Tri Sustained Power Build LV+ and retested. increasing again by ~3% from my manually enter FTP (or ~6% from my Ramp test suggested).

I would just say believe in the process and go through the build phase and see what happens. Also reflect and be brutally honest with yourself have you been compliant. Are you maintaining weight/body comp?