FTP Progression 2 in FTP training block

When reading the description of FTP Progression 2: 5x7 it states:

“…and feel like you’re gaining strength and fitness from completing the first FTP Progression workout a few times”.

Well, I’m doing a 3 week FTP block right now, and the first FTP Progression workout was exactly one week ago and I did it exactly once.

From last time doing this 3 week FTP block some time ago (in April) I remember that going up in one week time to 1 extra minute per block PLUS 1 less minute of recovery is just too big of a junmp and I never made it to the end. I made it 2 intervals in and in the third things started breaking down and it was over and out for me.

This doesn’t really make sense to me. Is the low volume FTP training plan a bit too extreme for some workouts?

I am doing the 12 week TT plan that has the FTP progression series in it and that wanted to jump me from progression one and straight onto 3 missing out 2 altogether stating the same comments about having done the previous one a few times but which I did one only once. I actually changed it down to number 2 instead of three but I couldn’t finish it which I think was due to not enough recovery so I backed off the rest of the week and just did a few mid zone two rides. I get your drift though

I think it could work if they kept the recovery times the same but added 1 minute to each interval. Doing both at once is just too much from one week to another. After all you should be able to adapt to this in only 2, max 3 workouts time in 1 week? Impossible. My muscles don’t adapt that fast.

There is an older thread which mentions this. I can’t find it but will continue to look.

Those Progression workouts appear in the FTP building block (once a week) and I’ve found it a tough block to get through. So long as I stay fresh for those particular sessions I’ve managed them. In the past I’ve been stupid and tried to add some running in to the block. Result: massive blow up on the Progressions.

Edit: Found it I think (similar is mentioned elsewhere also):
FTP Progressions

I was about to tag @Heretic as I know they have opined on these workouts a lot, but then I saw they were writing a reply so…incoming! :slight_smile:

Here is my reply from a previous thread:

It always requires a lot of mental discipline to do so. If you have not, I suggest trying the Positive Feedback session in the Mental Training Program.

I should also add, I just did FTP Progression 1 and 2 five days apart.


Indeed, this mental discipline is key.

Part of the problem is the very concept of FTP and the use of 4DP within SYSTM.
SYSTM is mostly HIIT type sessions, FTP is just a long, long, painful constant run.
Getting used to what that effort actually feels like is huge to real-world outdoor performance.


Definitely agree with this. I’ve done HIIT stuff for years and years (swimming, indoor rowing, more recently cycling), but whilst that got me fit on the bike and helped me up the various small climbs round here the thing that increased my average speed the most is just being able to stay on top of a higher gear and staying on the edge without blowing up. If you’ve never lived there in training you won’t know where you can go in reality.

Your body can go deeper for longer than you’ll ever imagine, but experience trumps imagination (and that’s why FF is so hard to get perfect). ***** of a workout though!

1 Like

I came (back) into cycling off the back of a lot of years of football (not the one where you carry the ball), which is all about HII-running.

Even with lots and lots of repeated high intensity efforts, intervals will always be easier for me (and I’d wager a large number of people) because they’re psychologically easy to deal with.
“Go hard for 15 seconds, then you can recover” is easy, even if the next interval happens really close behind, you can always see your targets, tailor your effort, tactically miss a single non-critical run if you’re blowing out…

FTP/threshold(true) is an entirely different beast. You sit in right on the edge of what you can maintain and then you just keep going and going and going…
Mentally it’s really hard because while it’s not as intense as a sprint, after a couple of minutes it’s going to hurt as much as sprinting anyway and yet there is no end coming, you just have to keep churning, controlling your breathing, staying comfortable and just find something to focus on that isn’t how much your legs and lungs hurt.


In addition, in the SYSTM world, those FTP Progressions have no story line that provides motivation for many riders.

If you’re doing FTP blocks and not intensely studying your stem cap, you’re doing it wrong :joy:


That is why I usually miss whatever text is up on the screen. :grinning:

People say “when you can finish 9 Hammers” (at least pre-mod), but I know it’s testing time again when a 12-20 minute FTP block doesn’t feel like lingering death


Haaa yes! Similarly I know that if I crank HHNF up a few % and I make it through the TTT without collapsing (assuming I get that far) then FF is imminent.

And what about heart rate? You can say “mental toughness” all you want, but once my heart rate creeps up in zone 5 all the mental training in the world isn’t going to eliminate the lactate build up I’m experiencing and that’s also the reason I have to give up. I did a lactate test a couple of weeks ago so I know my values, and they are pretty spot on compared to how I actually feel.

For me at least it’s not just a matter of “hanging in there” in order to complete those increasingly difficult FTP blocks in quick succession.

the HHNT and the TTT … ah yes … ehhh :smiley:

1 Like

What’s your cooling like?
I find that makes an immense difference indoors.
If you’ve got a good fan setup then you can hold efforts a lot more easily, if you’re over-heating then Threshold more than anything becomes nigh impossible.

1 Like

I’ve got a simple round fan on the floor in front of me, pointing up. I also open the window.

But yeah, core temperature does rise quite a lot (measured it once with a Core sensor).

I just ordered an (expensive…) Wahoo headwind fan today.

1 Like

Yeah, you’ll probably find that makes a big difference.
I was using a decent box fan at about knee height pointed at my torso/head from about 6 feet away and that was okay for the summer.
It actually got worse with autumn as the house heating is on, so the effective temperature indoors went up, or you couldn’t “waste” heat as easily opening a window too.
I changed to a far stronger and more directed fan, one foot in front of my handlebars pointed at my chest at a height I can dip my head into and it has made a huge difference.

Looking at my recently completed sessions, like for like my HR is well down on where it would have been with the previous fan setup.

Contemplating a headwind, but it would move me further from the screen

Yep I am definitely an interval person and find sustained efforts around FTP really hard. Maybe years of heavy smoking in my early days has seen to that?? It is a balance between going hard enough to keep your breathing under control and telling yourself that you can keep this up but not so hard that you push yourself over the edge and your mind and your legs give in to the effort… My cTHR is 136bpm (max HR 150) and I can survive up to 138/139 on a good day, go any higher and I won’t last long. Having said that, on a 7 mile TT I did in the summer my average for the time was 141 BPM and average 105%FTP for the 22 minutes or so. Just depends on the situation and how motivated you are.

I looked over my training data, and on more than one occasion, but not always, my heart rate went in Zone 5 during an FTP Progression, and I was still able to finish the workouts. Everyone is different, so my results do not necessarily mean anything for you, but I would still look at the Mental Training Program. It is useful for finishing many SYSTM workouts.

I also agree with the other people who have asked about the temperature at which you are exercising. Unless you are heat adapted, a good cooling fan is highly recommended.