FTP Frustrations

After doing the FTP Full Frontal Test in January, I got 102 for my FTP. Since then the training rides have been really too easy. I just took the Full Frontal again and got 97. Frustrating because now I suspect the rides will get even easier. It feels like level mode is much harder than ERG mode for a given wattage output. Could that be true? Any suggestions?


Hey Ann, welcome.

In theory level mode and ERG mode should be identically difficult/easy for any given power output. In practice, typically, people tend to find ERG mode harder because it holds you to account where you can “wibble” a bit more to maintain a power in level mode.

So we can give as much advice as possible, is there any chance you could let us know what equipment you’re using, please?
What is your trainer? If separate, what is providing the power data? Do you use a HR monitor?

The more information about your setup, the better we might be able to help.

Thanks and I hope between us we can find something for you :smiley:


If you feel your FTP is too low, take a week of the Full Frontal Prep plan and listen/read the blog post/Knowledge article on how to get the most out of the test. It looks like you might have taken it too easy on the test and now have issues. The key on the test is if you can get off the bike at the end, you didn’t go hard enough. If you feel like you are going to hurl, you went too hard.


Yeah… I really couldnt go any harder. I felt nauseous and like I was going to pass out at the end. My strategy maybe should change. I pushed for ~115 at the beginning but, then bonked towards the middle but kept pushing through to the end.

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Wow… thank you for the quick reply. Good to know that there is help here. my system is a Wahoo trainer (just got it for christmas). My HR monitor is a Wahoo. That is all the equipment. I put the level/slop set up on level 1. (maybe should have been zero?).

I am just worried that my training will now be even easier and I will continue to get worse FTP as I train. I see others with FTP up around 150 or 200 :open_mouth: I’m embarrassed about my 97. I have also crossed trained to build strength in the legs (which I have built)

Thank you for you attention. I appreciate any suggestions

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Why don’t you give Half Monty a try and see if you get similar results? I find this one to be much easier than Full Frontal, but the last part is still painful.

Also, be sure your trainer is calibrated properly.


No problem.

Precisely as @Yojimbo says, I would consider running a spin-down on the trainer to ensure the calibration is correct and then use Half Monty for now to set your FTP (the first chunk of it is done in ERG mode, so is easier to ensure you do “correctly” than Full Monty).
Hopefully, with a calibration and Half Monty having set you your most important metrics you can then get settled into good training.

Don’t worry about Full Frontal too much either, it takes a lot of people a handful of runs before they feel they are getting everything out of it properly.

Also, don’t worry about your FTP or anyone else’s, your numbers are yours alone and represent nothing other than your baseline for exercise for now. There is a lot more at play there than simply a number, as power-to-weight and aerodynamics matter a lot also, so just bigger number does not always equal better. For now, focus on enjoying it. Hopefully Half Monty will help you set a number that helps with that.


The key is to start out at a level you know you can maintain for the entire duration. Then at five minutes to go, if you feel you can go harder, do so. Empty the tank in the last minute or so. Then relax and recover for the next effort. Only the sprints at the beginning and end should be an all out effort. Yes, that one minute ‘bastard’ will be very, very hard and should leave you exhausted.

Definitely use level 0 for FF, because you will be able to use a slightly bigger gear for the same cadence, which in turn gets the flywheel spinning faster and makes it feel easier to sustain. Level 0 is good for over 400w at 25mph so more than enough.

What kind of cadence did you manage for the 20 minute effort in FF, and if have you tried Half Monty what results did that give?

Level 0? I’ve read Level 2 or 3 for a KICKR. Is this different for other ‘smart’ trainers?

Thank you so much. I heard a spin down calibration wasn’t necessary for my wahoo but now I will try it. And will definitely try the half Monty.

Thanks. This is a great forum!!!

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Ohh. Thank you. Next time I will use zero

As I te read this. I really appreciate the encouragement. Yes I am probably lighter than the average rider (weighing in at 119#). I will try everything people have suggested :yellow_heart::yellow_heart: thank you

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It really depends on your FTP and gearing options. I much prefer level 0, as a gear change or cadence change does not as dramatically impact the power. If your FTP is very high, the you’re likely better off at levels 2-3.

Try this out!


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Level zero is plenty for the 20m test, some might need higher for the shorter efforts.


Don’t be! The only person you’re competing with is Yesterday’s You.


Love this !!! AS a retired engineer, I have to use numbers to define where I am. I cant even imagine ‘needing’ a hire level due to FTP being very high… yet.

Thanks Rob. My FTP is far from ‘very high’. I will try level 0 next time for sure.

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Thank you… You are right. My big frustration is my ‘yesterday me’ had a higher FTP and I worked in the gym for strength and on the bike. I think maybe I should focus more on the bike than the gym this time around.

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…. nor is mine…. :cry: