Stagnant FTP Tests

This may not be worth a post but here it goes. I’ve used TR for a few years and never experienced a stagnant FTP. Sure, I’m getting older by the minute (I’m not young) but this seems weird as this past year was my strongest. Another factor is this is my first year using low volume. Historically, I’ve used mid vol. Could that be it? I doubt it but am trying to explain an unchanging FTP.

  • Ramp Test 1 – After a month off…fine. Lower than I would have thought. 20 points below my best.
  • Ramp Test 2 – 1 point below test 1.
  • Ramp Test 3 – Exactly the same as test 2. I was not feeling well. 75% of the family was sick the week before and I felt it. This is probably it?

Just looking for some feedback. Thanks in advance.

Look at other aspects of fitness, your time to exhaustion could be longer, your power at LT1/Z2 can be higher etc. Ramp test FTP at a % of MAP can vary even for an individual by quite a bit depending on training focus and time of year.

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Great points! Thank you. I’m sure I’m getting a lot out of it. I’m not that worried about it but am curious about the reasons. I have not experienced it before.

Gains become harder to get the fitter you get and switching from MV to LV would probably exacerbate that as you’re decreasing the training stimulus.

That said, you don’t have a lot of data points either with only 3 tests and being sick for one of them.

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I had not though of fitness level. I’d like to think that’s it :slight_smile: Thank you for the response.

I’ve come to believe redlude97’s point is probably where the rub is. The ramp test doesn’t really test your FTP. It tests your MAP and if your MAP isn’t improving, then your ramp result won’t improve. However, that doesn’t mean your FTP didn’t improve because it might be a higher percentage of MAP than the ramp test assumes. You could try a different protocol or just use workout levels and progression levels to give you feedback on how you are doing at the current FTP.

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@FattyLumpkin, I was in a similar boat for the last two years and changed up a couple of things to force my body to adapt to different stress.

I had followed the typical sweet spot base, build, specialty progression. I did mostly mid volume until COVID hit then tried high volume. I worked some long hours and knew that recovery was my limiter but never fully appreciated the impact until the end of last season (fall) and how absolutely sick I was of doing intervals.

For the first time since I started cycling five years ago I took a proper off season to include a cycling-specific weight lifting program (FasCat 10-Week Weight Lifting Program). It is basically squats, leg press, and leg curls while doing Traditional Base MV.

I then used Plan Builder to develop a plan to my first A event, which I had done in the past, but this year I swapped Sweet Spot Base I MV for Polarized Base (6-week) MV. Now, truth in advertising, I’ve been adding a couple of hours of extra POL Z1 (traditional Z2) riding so it is closer to the POL HV plan (5 days per week instead of 5, 10-11 hours per week).

For me, I found that the POL plan, which has only two days of high intensity intervals per week, allows me to recover better than three intervals days plus one sweet spot workout per week. I was very nervous about being able to make the time for the longer rides on the weekend but have made it a priority and, thus far, have responded well - so much so that I may change SSB II to POL as well.

Finally, as COVID restrictions lifted, I dropped from HV to MV and added back in swimming. I had also been lifting upper body a little and changed my routing to more whole-body movements (using Dialed Health) versus isolated muscle movements (P90X).

The next thing I need to work on is better nutrition. I fuel well on the bike but still eat too much “go slow” food (FasCat term) the rest of the day. I’m often still at work during dinner time so need to get better about bringing more food, instead of wandering the floor to find junk to curb my hunger.

Anyway, hope this helps.

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I went through an 18 month period of no FTP gains, even though i was doing a high volume of TR work and outdoor riding. I did see big increases in my endurance and TTE during this period. I did my first sub-5hr century and a lot of other PRs. So just because you aren’t getting that number higher doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t getting faster. What got me to finally see some FTP increase was switching up my training to involve more vo2 max work, and also putting on a few pounds. YRMV

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Ditto what others said about overall fitness/endurance.
I’ve had a string of bad luck and my FTP is lower now than it has been for years. However, doing the 40k TT plan and doing some testing I’ve been able to hit about 96-97% FTP for nearly 70 minutes with no break and I’ve NEVER done that before. So look for victories and improvements everywhere, not just a single metric.

which also supports redlude97’s point. Your FTP was probably increasing and you didn’t know it because you weren’t testing for it. It wasn’t until you prioritized VO2Max that your MAP went up and therefore your ramp results were better. Doesn’t mean your FTP didn’t go up before that and it doesn’t mean your FTP went up because of the VO2Max work, it means your MAP went up because of the VO2Max work and thus Trainerroad’s calculation of 75% of your best one minute power concluded your FTP had gone up.

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Here here to @russell.r.sage and @redlude97 they have it.

Sometimes a ramp shows increasing fitness. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a rough calibration metric for setting workout intensity and should mostly be viewed in that context in the TR system.

Look at your MMP curve year over year for large scale improvements. There are other ways to assess as well.

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What’s the time period between tests?

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Thank you, everyone for the thoughtful responses. I do feel a little better about those numbers. I’m still learning the language of TR and cycling and this went a long way to better understand the nuances of my stats.

@d_diston I believe it was 6-weeks, 4, and 4 more between tests. Rarely had a 4-week block before trying the LV plan.

@rkoswald I’m intrigued by the POL plan but have not looked into it enough. I should do more reading. In some ways I already do that in the sense that outdoor I ride hard a lot…except when I don’t. Then I take full days off or coast around. Still need to be better about more rest days!

Again, thanks to everyone for the responses. I really appreciate your time and thoughts.

Happy trails!

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