'Build me up' or 'FTP builder'?

Finally decided to commit to one of zwifts training plans as my FTP has been stuck on 210 for years now.
Was doing ‘the gorby’ one a week, ‘SST short’ once a week and a sunday club ride (typically about 4hours). Thought doing the extra 2 zwift rides a week would of improved my ftp but it hasnt. My FTP has just stayed at 210 for around 3 years now. Im assuming i need to commit more hours to my training to improve my ftp is that right?

Would the ‘build me up’ or ‘ftp builder’ be the best option to improve my FTP?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. What gains have people seen from doing these training plans?
Thanks in advance.

I’m not a trainer here but I do feel the plans help a lot if your ftp is correct on there. I have done the last 2 zwift academies and there is one that’s about to start again and I see a lot of people getting ftp bumps through the academy program and it’s a lot of fun. Good luck and ride on

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I started Zwift back in February and did the ftp test and had an ftp of 209. I did the 6 week beginner ftp builder and then did the test again and jumped up to 259 ftp. So I would definitely recommend the ftp builder. The one thing to keep in mind is that the workouts are at your own pace whereas the training plans are much more regimented. You have to complete one training before going to the next one. You have to wait so many hours before you can start the next one. And you have to complete the training before a certain date. The workouts are more on your own pace and you can bounce around and do them in any order you want. Either way you go, I believe any of the ftp builders will be beneficial. Have you been doing the ftp tests regularly?

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I’ve done both, the “Build me up” is really excellent, but you have to have some flexibility because the rides as stated by the ther poster have to be done in a certain order you have a time limit as well e.g “has to be done by Saturday night, etc” I’m currently doing the 12 week ftp builder and it’s more relaxed still great. I think though build me up has more bang for buck if you can stick to it.

You need to stress your aerobic system to improve your FTP, so you don’t necessarily need to increase your training hours, but do need to increase training density. This can be accomplished by increasing intensity or duration, or both. Most find it easier to increase duration first, then intensity, unless you’re very time crunched, in my experience. I am biased towards the Build Me Up plan :slight_smile:


Only just now reading these. Thanks for the replys all. Gonna wait til the weather cools and then commit to sticking to the ‘build me up’ plan. Hopefully I’ll be able to improve my 210 ftp.

Ive sun finished the 12 week ftp plan and am considering the build me up

The quick difference that I can see ( other than BMU is harder !) is cadence.
The 12kFTP has no “coaching” and all no cadence details.
I have found i’ve settled into a natural lower cadence during workouts ( ive a lot of leg muscle, weight and im over 60 !)
after a quick tryout found the increased cadence drills hard ( and “impossible” towards the end of the workout)
Also i’m not sure whether the plan would give me enough recovery

To increase your FTP, you need workouts that work you above your FTP.
SST Short is entirely below FTP, good for general fitness but won’t have much impact on FTP. Seems pretty pointless given you have a long club ride each week.
The Gorby has 5 min blocks at 110% of FTP, which is better.
Look for workouts with a decent amount of high intensity like over-unders. Take a look at Cape Epic workout 6 and 14.
Or 8 wk Race Prep: Day 1 - Strength Training
All have a good accumulation of effort well above FTP.
Try reading The Time-Crunched Cyclist book for the details on why this training is good.

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I’ve just started using Zwift but I’ve been riding on the road IRL on occasion for the last three years. I seem to have a hard time improving my average speeds though, little wonder since I’ve always made quite hard and long endurance efforts on the bike to mix up my running. I’ve been running for many years and have a good overall fitness level (top 95% of my age category based on VO2 max) so Build me up seemed like a nice plan to try. I’m coming up on the end of week 3 now and just did Yellow Unicorn yesterday followed by Amalgam today. Not pleasant but not overly taxing either so my FTP test is probably quite accurate.

I agree with the opinion that it’s a bit strict order to te workouts. I’d prefer to be able to schedule the order of the workouts for each week myself. I would for instance have prefered to do the 1 hour Ham sandwich instead of the almost 1,5h Amalgam with for example 2x10 min@FTP today =)
I would then also be able to choose which workout to skip if I only had time for say 3 or 4 out of 5 any given week. As it is, I would probably miss one of the “better” (harder) ones.

Question: How do you other feel about spending so many of the harder intervals in other than self-selected cadence (like 60 or 100-110 rpm?). Sure it’s more taxing, but since I’m looking at improving my FTP I’m not really interested at doing hard work at 60 rpm since I would never choose that in any real world situation, likewise 110 rpm. Is there any risk that all those intervals at wrong cadence in fact are “junk miles” not contributing to my overall fitness at self selected cadence? Would I benefit from more sellf-selected cadence at sweet spot and harder instead?


The lower cadence efforts will build strength and make you faster, or improve your FTP in other words.

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Haha, Master qouter!

Yes I don’t question taht, but would I benefit more from spending say 80% of the treshold and above intervals @90 rpm rather than a third each of 90, 60 and 110 rpm?

Good question, I don’t know the answer unfortunately. We probably both should read this book.

Probably will, thanks!
I tried the FTP Ramp test today after two rather hard interval sessions thursday and friday and after hitting the gym today. It’s safe to say I wasn’t very rested. Tough test, I think Ip refer the 20 minut test to be honest. I also recorded my by far highest heartrate ever on a bike. My FTP has increased from 2,8 to 3,1 W/kg in just 22 days, that’s 11%! Though it is my first weks ever of structured interval workouts on bike and having many years of endurance base in running I still recon it goes to show that the Build me up plan works really good. There will be diminishing returns but I’m excited to see what 12 weeks will do. I will not again question it or try to change anything as long as it goes this well!

I am currently doing BMU. I am sticking to it 100% and in week 10, I feel improvements have definitely been made. I follow the cadence suggestions as they are because prior to this I was not able to increase my FTP on my own. It seems simple enough that if you’re going to invest the time it takes to follow the program, you should follow their cadence suggestions. I would imagine Zwift has an intention to help you succeed. If you succeed, so do they. Ride on!