FTP VO2max Relationship

Using SYSTM for 2 years now with structured programs (Granfondo, TimeTrial, All Purpose) I did 6 Full Frontal and 10 Half Monty. If I look at my results taking 6 months after my first use (to eliminate the first adaptation), my FTP and my Vo2Max are progressing in an almost identical way.

My best FTP to Vo2Max ratios are at 80%. After three weeks rest between seasons, it goes down to 73%. FTP goes down faster than Vo2Max it seems to me in case of a cut.

As I’m dedicated to time trials, I would like to increase the FTP to Vo2Max ratio. With my age, 48, I consider my Vo2Max to be pretty good (373-390) so I need to increase my FTP significantly to something like 85%. What are some things I could incorporate into my program (currently All-Round) and from January Time-Trial.

Does anyone have any ideas?


Can I ask where you’re getting your VO2max data?

I assume that the OP is equating VO2 Max with MAP

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I’m not entirely sure why you focus on the ratio between the two. I’m curious to find out what your reasoning is (I’m pretty much a noob in this field).

I always thought that if you want to do Time Trials you need to focus on FTP, tempo, technique and core strength. And then spend all your money on expensive kit :wink:

As for training. There’s dedicated “Time Trial” plans in SYSTM that you’re picking up in January. That would certainly do the trick? You may as well do it twice, with the first one ending in a Full Frontal.

What length time trials do you do, and what time of courses? ie flat, rolling, hilly etc?

MAP will still be important as you’ll be tapping into it for uphill and headwind sections, so if both are increasing I’d go with that. I’d rather a slightly lower FTP and higher MAP. If you’ve hit a ceiling on improvement then you might need advice from a coach on what to do to break through that. You don’t want to lose MAP for little/no FTP gain.

PS wish my MAP was the same as yours! :joy: :muscle:

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@CPT_A sorry I meant MAP… and not Vo2Max

@TrapMeSuf thanks I did already in the past the time trial program and found it not efficient enough for me. But it seems that there are newer versions now

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Salut François

I also track my FTP-MAP ratio since I like riding at a high work rate for a long time. Similar to TT’s, I suppose. My values range from 81-83%, depending on the time of year (highest at the end of the season, and lowest after the indoor season, which is shorter and more intensity-focused).

A few initial thoughts … hopefully helpful in your search for the right answer for you:

  1. I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointed if both MAP and FTP went up simultaneously and you stayed near a ratio of 80%. Are you sure you’ve maxed out on your ceiling (i.e., MAP)?
  2. Are your FTP and MAP values fairly consistent across HM and FF assessments? You should validate the numbers before making training decisions off of them. While both HM and FF can be used in Systm, I find I get different results from them. (… and based on your age and type of event you’re into, we sound like similar riders.)
  3. I’d consider booking a call with a coach on this one. Moving the needle on your FTP by 5% relative to your MAP is a very big jump. Mathematically, moving to a ratio of 85% can involve increasing your FTP but it might also require that you slightly decreasing your MAP to get to that ratio. With their experience, coaches might bring you in a different direction than you were expecting to get you to your goal.

My “standard” answer: Follow a TT plan. :slight_smile:

My other answer:

  1. Increase your time to exhaustion (TTE, which you should Google if you’re not already familiar with the term). TTE basically means “how long you can hold your FTP” (likely not 60 minutes). This means lots of tempo, sub-threshold sessions, FTP progressions, etc.
  2. Strength Train: Increasing your ability to tolerate high intensities for a long time are improved by strength training. The scientific research on this is overwhelming. If you’re not already strength training at 48 years old, you’re leaving watts on the table, especially watts later in the event, not to mention that you’re going to lose it if you don’t use it.

Good luck. :+1:


Ah, thanks. Thought maybe you were getting VO2MAX #'s from elsewhere and trying to compare to SUFF metrics, which would be tricky.