How good do you guys think the new 4 week FTP program is compared to TR etc?


(V ROOM) #1

I left Zwift a couple of months ago as there wasn’t really a training plan that suited, but I saw they added the 4 week FTP booster. 4 weeks is a nice repeatable block, so on the surface it seems like a much needed addition for Zwift (though there’s still a really long way for the training plans to go - wish they’d just buy Trainer Road and port those plans over!). regardless, I’m back to try it out, and hopefully by the time it’s over they’ll have some serious Sweet Spot base plans etc to keep me here come Oct/November. 

 

Anyway. 

Looking at the plan it looks different to a lot of other stuff out there. Typically more days per week on the bike, but shorter sessions, and the intervals in the sessions are very short, as is total time at any given zone (you don’t see any 2x20’s or 4x10s, etc here).

 

I’m guessing that’s to allow a full recovery before each session? Is there a benefit to doing it this way instead of say 4 harder and longer sessions a week? Or does the total stress score matter more?

Anyone know much about this sort of thing and can chip in? 


(Gerrie Delport) #2

It is hard to judge how good a program is, we all train differently. I would suggest getting a good training book (ie Joe Friel Training bible) and set up a a training program for your self. That way you will see tho most gains. It is pretty easy to make your own training sessions.


(V ROOM) #3

Hi Gerrie,

ideally that would be the best of all worlds. Being able to craft a training plan to my goals/hours and use that on Zwift. I just don’t trust myself to know enough to do it better than what available on Trainer Road for example. 

I know that book gets mentioned a lot. Though I would have to then create custom workouts for most of the year on Zwift from it. That sounds like a lot of work. I would want to create 12 weeks of Sweet Spot base work for the winter. Then 8 weeks of mostly FTP with some Vo2 work. Quite happy to put in 8 to 10 hours a week. 

Do you craft your own training plan year round and do it on Zwift? Maybe that’s what most guys are doing and I’m just behind the curve!


(Gerrie Delport) #4

Hi, 

Yes and no. I am not racing any more so I am getting back into things I just competed the ODZ Fitness challenge, and found it very enjoyable. 

I used that book to craft all my own workouts for my Elite smart trainer (when I was still racing) I am actuality starting to do the same for Zwift. Yes it take some time but once you get going it is not that bad. I did a week or two at a time, and a lot of them repeat.

There is another book that go with the training bible called Workouts in a Binder by Dirk Friel and Wes Hobson.

 


(Darren Cole) #5

Hi V Room,

I noticed this post a while ago and was waiting until I had finished the course to pass judgement on it. I have made a few comments on the zwift-riders facebook that weren’t well received by some who claim to know it all (but they themselves are not fast.

A bit of history, once upon a time I was an A-grade club rider
, held a national licence, but was essentially just an also ran who was quick enough to race at a national level but was never ever going to be a contender to win anything, my weight was 76kg and bodyfat sub 10%, with an estimated ftp of 347w.

I gave up cycling 5 years ago, I have done a little mountain biking for fun but scoffed at the idea of training, my weight ballooned out to 97kg.

I tested my ftp before the training block at 211 watts, I was dry reaching for this effort, it was sickening for an untrained individual to take on one of these tests but with my background I knew what was required of it.
I sorted my diet, cut out all alcohol, calorie counted, took on ~100g of protein per day and periodized carbohydrates. I preworkout with Beta-alanine and citrulline-malate, post workout with 4:1 carb:pro shake, I also took on 3 grams of fish oil and 6 grams of CLA oil.

After a week I had to manually increase my ftp by 20 watts, the first sign was the warm ups were not getting me warm … this happened around every 5 days or so in smaller 5-10 watt increments until the end of week 4 by which time I had manually set ftp to 260 and was expecting to get maybe around 270 watts out of my legs.

This course was tough, there is a ride every single day if you do the endurance rides, I found them too much and treated endurance day as a rest day, ding the workouts in the Evening after work I found my legs heavy the next morning, climbing stairs induced a gentle sting and I felt in myself that I was approaching the point where over-reaching becomes over-training. I knew this, and kept a record of my morning weights, bodyfat % and water content on a set of tanita scales, if I dropped more than a kilo a week I had screwed up, more than 0.2kg a day and that weight could only be from depleted muscle glycogen.

On the FTP test at the end I dug deep and absolutely buried myself, it sucked from about a minute in until a minute after, but my results came in … over the 4 weeks I droped my bodyweight from 97kg to 93kg, with a corrosponding decrease in bodyfat percentage which showed it was only fat and I hadn’t catabolized muscle, perfect … my power 300 watts ftp, this exported to trainer road at 299 so there must be a slighly different metric there.

4 weeks from untrained
211w to 300w ftp
97kg to 93kg
2.19w/kg to 3.22w/kg
47%

Is it a good program? Absolutely yes, but it’s hard without rest days, that lack of rest days is a huge trap and you will have to be very careful to listen to what your body is telling you if you want the best results.


(George Gray (#getwellrachael)) #6

@Darren Cole thanks a lot for your summary mate!! You’re a fast responder!!

Think I’ll give the 4 week FTP a go!!


(George Gray (#getwellrachael)) #7

Have just completed the 4-week FTP booster programme.

I’m a completely Joe average exerciser/athlete. Never excelled at anything. No significant cycling history. Have done about 10 triathlons; 3 half ironman, a few Olympic distance, and a few sprint distance. Usually finish middle of the pack.

Age 45, weight 81kg, height 1.75m, physique: midway between endomorphic and mesomorphic.

Previous best FTP when preparing for a half-ironman 3 years ago = 278W.

Drifted a bit on TrainerRoad (TR) over the past 18 months doing 2-3 rides a week of 30-45 mins per ride.

Started Zwifting in September 2017 when my TR subscription ended. 

FTP estimated by Zwift at 241W.

Did several races and group rides and Zwift told me my FTP had been adjusted to 261W in November (based on a best 20 min effort while smashing it in a ~30km Zwift race!!!).

So I started the 4-week FTP booster with an FTP of 261W.

4 weeks later, did every workout in the programme, haven’t lost any weight, and did the FTP test today.

Zwift recalculated my FTP at 272W. That 20 min was tough!!

So that’s an absolute change of 11 Watts !!! Whew I worked hard for those Watts!

It’s a relative change of 4.2%. So about 1% gain per week.

I’ll take it!!

Think I’ll just stick to races and group rides for a couple of months and see if my FTP increases. The programme was good, but I like the group rides and races. It’s really motivating playing cat and mouse with the attacks in a good race! And I find the attacks are just like doing intervals.

Group rides usually end up in the sweet spot zone for me, so that’s good.

Good luck with your training.

Ride on!

btw, everyone responds differently to a programme. Multiple exercise studies have found a normal distribution in VO2 max change in response to the same training programme. So some people might improve by 20%!! And others by 2% ;-(

Here’s a great journal article summarising some of the potential genetic basis of that variation.


(Henry Lee WBR (B)) #8

I started the 4 week FTP booster back at the beggining of November with an FTP of 275w but due to lack of time because of work commitments etc. I simply completed each session in order but not everyday, fitting them in where possible. In addition I did 2 outdoor spins of 30 odd miles. I finished the program at the end of December and following an FTP test I’m now up to 285w. I’ve started the program from the beginning again and am hoping for similar gains but to fit in more sessions each week this time round. The biggest improvement I’ve seen is not in my FTP but in my ability to hold higher wattages for longer and recover faster from those efforts. This has made a huge difference when racing on Zwift and I’ve moved from placing top 10 in B races to podiums.


(George Gray (#getwellrachael)) #9

Just an update to my post above. 7-10 days after the end of the 4 -week programme and FTP test I feel a lot stronger and am performing better in mountain bike races and group rides. So i think it’s important to give your body time to fully absorb the training after finishing the programme. The FTP at the end is a useful measure, but some of the workouts you’ve done will take time to manifest in your performance most likely due to the time needed to produce mitochondria, hemoglobin, muscle capillaries etc etc 

So if you’re using the 4-week booster to build up for an event, I recommend finishing the program 7-10 days before the event and then tapering down to freshness with Training Peaks performance manager or Stravistix. 

Riiiide on!!


(Danny Armstrong) #10

@George Grey

Do you think the 4 week programme would be beneficial if I added rest days into it and spread the training over a longer period?

Going to struggle with finding the time for the 7 days per week that each week requires!

Thanks


(George Gray (#getwellrachael)) #11

@Danny Armstrong I’m no coach mate, so I’d be guessing. Each workout is approx 1 hour. Longest is about 1h10m. I guess it depends on how much time you take between workouts. It could be great if you take a day, it any more than 2 days I’d guess you might lose the conditioning you built up. One thing you might want to do if you don’t have Training Peaks is to install the amazing Stravistix chrome extension. Track Fitness on the main graph. You should steadily build fitness with the 4-wk FTP Booster. If not, your workouts are probably too far apart.

Ride on!


(Henry Lee WBR (B)) #12

@Danny Armstrong I did exactly that, I didn’t have time to do the sessions each day so just completed them in order as an when I had the time. For example one week I might have done 3 sessions, the next week 5. I skipped any zone 1 sessions in the weeks too. Worked well for me and I’ve definitely made gains even though I had 3 or 4 days between workouts in some cases…


(Danny Armstrong) #13

@George Gray Thanks mate. Will check out that Stravistix extension.

Might try the 10-12 week FTP booster instead of the 4 as that allows for a bit more rest and fits in with my free time!


(Danny Armstrong) #14

@Henry Lee Thanks Henry, that’s useful info as well!  I guess anything is better than nothing in this case and as long as the gaps between aren’t too significant it’s going to be of benefit.


(Markus Schmidt) #15

Hi, I started the 4 week FTP booster 10 days ago and managed to complete 7 trainings. Based on the comments above I will also stretch the programme to fit my schedule.

But I have another question. Result of FTP test prior to the programme was 243watts.

Do I have to keep this value now for the complete 4 weeks as a basis or can I also increase this value by app. 5-10 watts per week as I have read in a comment above.

I guess it depends on my personal feeling, but actually HR is quite low during workout and I think I have to challenge a bit more, maybe reason is that I had 3 restdays.

Any experience on this?? Thanks for any comment!


(P eaches) #16

@Markus Schmidt I manually increased my FTP after the workouts were feeling too easy in week 2. Just finished week four with the exception of the FTP test! Hopefully, I will see some gains!

 


(P eaches) #17

Increased 178 to 210.


(Dirk Beauboir) #18

@George Gray - thanks for bringing StravistiX to my attention, beautiful piece of software.


(Markus Schmidt) #19

@P eaches

Thanks for your comment: Increased last week from 243 to 265. Feeling is much better now und HR is still ok. Sunday final FTP test, we will see.

 


(Don Niederfrank) #20

I’m at day 1, week 2 and reading these posts because it seemed many of the workouts were too easy. But having read much of the above will leave well enough alone and see where I am at the end of week four.

I’m a bit of an oddity, at least as these posts have gone. My (short tested) ftp is only 153 and I’m 70 y.o. (You people may be younger and stronger, but we had the best music. :slight_smile: )  

My goal this summer is simply to do 50 mi at 16+mph. Not there yet, but… Riding with you Zwifters who take biking this seriously is fun and encouraging and edifying.

One final note: 70 isn’t as old as you may think/fear. Truth-to-tell, I am less driven and much happier than I have been for much of my life. 

I will stop now lest I become “that guy” my children have occasionally asked me not to be.