4Wk FTP Booster: My thoughts

(Stephen Ingram Team ZF) #1

Just thought i’d give a brief account for anyone wanting to complete the 4Wk FTP Booster training. I had a number of observations which you may find useful.

My Background

Age: 51, Weight = 82kg, Height = 177cm

Sport: back of the pack Triathlete and runner (Sprint Tri, Half Ironman or trail running). I haven’t had a ride since April until my Initial Zwift FTP test at the start of this training. Also, i typically run 50-70km a week, reduced to 50km during this program. Cycling is my weakest leg in triathlons, hence using this booster training to get me ready for the upcoming duathlon season.

Recent Stats
Pre-booster on Strava: 5km 23:50, 10km 48:02, 1 mile 7:03, 1km 4:10,
FTP = ~ 165w (Tri season ending April and no riding after)

Zwift Initial FTP test = 158w

Currently Week 4 day 2: 5km 22:30, 1 mile 6:28, 1km 4:02, FTP = 201w

Note: Zwift automatically altered my FTP and I haven’t adjusted my weight during the training. 

I slavishly followed the training for just over two weeks, when i decided split the program from the 7 day training to a 5 day week, using weekend for social rides on Zwift with Team Zwift Fitness (TeamZF) Cat. D . The decision was purely to balance training with the social enjoyment involved with Zwift’s group rides.

My goal was to complete the program trying to gain as many star achievements (in-built award system for each successful achievement).

I used a Kickr Snap, heart rate monitor and cadence sensor.

I found the program is well balanced, meeting my requirements as a training tool. Generally from 50mins to just over an hour long, quite doable.I did the majority of my training before breakfast in a fasted state.

Pros: Improvements

  • Obviously a structured program for gaining strength, fitness and ultimately reflecting in a higher FTP for future races/training.
  • Better understanding of cadence, gearing, HR and perceived effort
  • Improvement on sustained focus
  • Improvement of efficient peddling and using quads,gluts and hamstrings
  • Noticeable amount of weight loss? Unsure not got on the scales  yet!

Cons: small but important  

  • Very difficult to get a star achievement on the short sprints (20secs or less)
  • On screen questions about monitoring HR level not really intuitive, without reason
  • Although there is a list panel with up coming sections, sometimes caught out by an unexpected extra rest period or increase in watts.
  • Endurance free rides are meant to be Zone 2, i couldn’t help but either use them for low cadence big gear grinding or 1 hour FTP dress rehearsals for confidence!

In Conclusion
For me, having moved my FTP from 158 to 201 (43w) in a month, yes the name of the training is accurate and worth it. I’m confident my initial FTP is accurate and my gains seem to be pretty consistent reflection the training effort and social riding with Team ZF on a Saturday and Sunday.

Apart from the increase in power, i gained better knowledge of how cadence levels in different gear ratios achieve different power outputs. Including using hard and soft peddling techniques to avoid unnecessary gear changing.

I think the biggest surprise was my running times, although there may be a small accuracy question, as the 5km was on the treadmill with 0% incline and its compared against a outside time.  

Would i do more training? If your initial FTP is accurate, the booster isn’t a walk in the park and demands commitment. However the achievement i made is worth it, so yes i would do more training, depending on future events and what i want from Zwift. I’m thinking of moving onto the training plans.


(Fez Rockbottom) #2

That’s a great post.  With respect to the difficulty in short sprints to reach targets and get the star, I would suggest gearing up one or two times with a 100+ cadence to hit those short high power targets and then quickly gearing back down and easing off the cadence when complete.  Seems to work for me after some early difficulty hitting those high power targets as well.

(Dan Dube) #3

this is good advice about the sprints.

when i first started doing jon’s short mix, i’d be riding along at my usual 70-75rpm, and i’d go through the gate for a “short sprint” segment without changing cadence.

well, to do a 400w segment for 30 seconds at 70-75rpm is pretty nuts. i’d have to stand up and quickly got into the ERG death spiral.

now, i see a “short sprint” coming up and i start raising my cadence at about 2-3 seconds left in the segment before the sprint. now i hit the 400w segment at 100-110rpm and i can push through it without slowly dying. it actually feels like a sprint!

the trick after you get that down is to slow down your cadence after the sprint without spinning wildly!

(Vincent W.) #4

Very solid post! Really digging the detailed tips.