Build Me Up (12-week training plan)

Well and done! So results similar to what others reported - essentially a 5% increase from 255 to 267. Pretty happy with that - 20’ tests are just hard end of story :slight_smile:

So loved this program - I think my assessment is that it probably is a bit of an overload especially in the last cycle and that probably does create a bit of burnout but the results are definitely solid. In addition to the FTP improvement I can tell I am improved across a myriad of terrain - I think all that mad cadence work actually pays off.

For those looking for some advice on how to do the FTP test…I basically did it on the Alpe. Worked well. I went out and settled in by 5’ mark with an average of 282. At 10’ it was 281. Slipped a bit in the 3rd five to 278 and then was able to dig in across the final 5’ and end at 281. One note - this was basically what the 5’ “hard” segment of the warm up had me at.

Anyway - looking forward to some rides and enjoying warmer weather outdoors. Ride on all.


Hi all, just wanted to share my experiences with the “build me up” training plan. I’m in week 7 now and very much like the structure and “sense of having some kind of goal” in it a lot. Some of the trainings being tough (especially Lox, with 5x 3 minutes @115% FTP or Kirizuma which I just finished yesterday). Some others feel really good, like Giza, which is “my thing” as it is in zone 2 and 3. In the harder trainings I like the challenge and then afterwards being happy I managed to get through them. Moreover, without such plan I would never had cycled so much as I’m doing. I bought my Tacx trainer 3 years ago and almost never used it, until covid-19 lock down kicked in last December, swimming pool and indoor cycling lessons closed and wheather outside kept me from racebiking outdoors. I did not like the idea so much of indoor cycling on my own, but this training plan really changed my mind. I am new in Zwift and solo-indoor cycling but already cycle (outdoor and indoor) since ~15 years, typically 2x a week. Last fall I switched over from cycling to swimming, just for a change.
I started the plan with an FTP of 260W. I am 49 yrs old and 75kg. Nice if I can see FTP improving. Most important for me though is to feel fit, strong and healthy. And that is what these trainings are certainly helping me with.
Ride on & enjoy!


“Escalation” has beaten out “Ham Sandwich” for the workout that worked me the hardest thus far. I guess that means it is aptly named.

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Yup, Escalation was the first one I couldn’t quite manage. The Z2 and Z3 stuff is OK, I can usually manage Z4, but 150% of FTP for 30 sec? Managed the first 2 intervals in the first set, then 20 sec, then onwards and downwards. Couldn’t remember the key shortcut to reduce the power. :woozy_face:

I guess I’m not a natural sprinter :grin:

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Zwift Companion has a whole screen to help you control workouts, and there’s a button there to reduce the difficulty.

So, I have just finished Build Me Up and I am pretty impressed by the plan. Prior to starting, I had an FTP of 288W which is about 4w/kg and I was hoping to try and increase that a bit to around 300W. I tried to follow the plan as closely as I could and largely managed it I think, with the following exceptions:

  • Aspire - I did the last three unders of the third set at 90% to give me a little extra “recovery”. The overs were still done at 100% though.
  • Circus - I found this one seriously tough, so went down to 95% after the first set, and then down to 90% for the second half of the last set.
  • Purple Unicorn - I don’t think I was sufficiently rested for this one and so reduced it to 95% mid-way through the second set.
  • Breakfast Returns - did not fancy this at all so skipped it completely!

It’s also worth mentioning that I was trying to get in some longer easy rides in December to hit my annual target of 10,000km, and I was also racing pretty hard on Thursday nights in WTRL TTT (Latte).

I didn’t find the plan too difficult at the start but it definitely got a lot harder towards the end; particularly the 2 hour workouts and 15.9/LOX. I don’t think the racing and extra rides helped as I definitely felt fatigued a few times during the plan. If I did it again I would try and make sure I took the scheduled rest.

So yesterday I had a crack at the FTP test at the end of the plan. I did it on Ven-top and decided to quit the 5 min block before the main test with 4 minutes gone as I started to feel a bit of lactic acid in the legs. On the 20 min test, the aim was to hit 300W for the first 15 minutes and then look to push on in the last five. Surprisingly, I found that I was able to maintain 310W until 15 minutes and was then able to gradually increase it over the remaining time and then go all-in with a minute to go. I was extremely happy with an increase to 307W (4.3 w/kg - 323W average over the 20 min test) and feel like I gave it everything and paced it reasonably well. I had to pause it just after the test as I physically couldn’t turn the pedals any more.

Anyway - happy days - I would definitely recommend! :+1:



I was able to get through the 150 percent-ers, but by the end I was just barely keeping it above where it would start telling me to spin faster. haha.

Thanks for your input. You are obviously a pretty experienced cyclist, so I’m going to take your experience to heart. I’m getting into the meat of the BMU plan myself right now, and I’ve been doing some “extracurricular” rides on free days. I think if I’m going to get the most out of the BMU plan, I ought to to use those days the way the plan intends and rest. Or - at most - a proper “recovery ride” with nothing above Zone 1.

I will say it is sometimes a challenge to remember the importance of rest days in building fitness. But I’ll be very happy if I end up with a ± 20 watt boost in my FTP at the end of it all.

I think you’d be fine with a recovery ride if you felt like it. I would sometimes have TTT on Thursday nights (flat out for 45 minutes or so - HR in the 170s), an hour BMU session on Friday and then longer BMU sessions on both Saturday and Sunday (1:30+) - I definitely wasn’t getting sufficient rest on those last couple of weeks.

One thing that bugged me though, and is common with Zwift training plans, is the enforced amount of time between sessions. More than once I planned a session at, say 9am on Saturday (because Zwift told me the session would be available on Saturday morning), only to get all set up and then find that because my previous ride was lunchtime on Friday, I couldn’t do the training session until 11am. Not hugely convenient when trying to fit training around family life etc.

Yes, the lack of flexibility in training plans is not ideal at all. I’ve just started the BMU plan, but have done it before last April and many times ran into this.

Good news from Zwift HQ:

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That is good news!

Has been great reading this.
Starting build me up tomorrow.
Currently ftp 231 & 97kg

I think I made a mistake.
Day one done and it’s telling me I need to do 2 more by Sunday ( tomorrow).
Is that right?
Is the week Monday to Sunday?

Yes, it’s Monday to Sunday. Are you in the actual Week #1? Or just the “Prep Week?” I did a similar thing and started on a Sunday, so I only have 1 ride listed for Prep Week even though I’m pretty sure there was at least one more.

If you’re in the actual Week #1 that has four workouts, then it might be worth starting again on Monday.

Don’t forget you can change the bias +/- 10 % if its too tough change it by either using the companion app or the up and down triangles on on the bottom of the screen

I just finished this plan. I did miss a few workouts because of life. I wish there was more flexibility. However, I gained 10 pounds during the 12 weeks and my ftp went up by 1.

Go figure.

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Just seen that it was week 0.

Only just started this one. Had my 2nd training session today. Halvfems, it was very hard. The change in cadence from 90 to 60 at 210w was very hard. Is it like this for the 10/12 weeks?

If you use ERG mode, when your cadence drops to 60, you are inviting the death spiral. I’d recommend disabling ERG mode and using your gears (or an occasional resistance adjustment) to meet your power and cadence targets. The acceptable power band for getting a star is pretty wide.