Zwift FTP builder workouts

(Jesper Knudsen DBR) #1

Anyone completed the 10-12 week FTP builder workouts, and would share their observations? I did a FTP test a couple of days ago and wanted to start the series, but the segment targets looks very low; at least until you reach week 7, where I find the first potentially difficult workout.

I wouldn’t think that cruising around at 70% or short (60-120 second) intervals @ 100% would do much for my power.

In earlier seasons my own (and very unscientific) protocol has been to ride intervals above FTP and increase duration/reps over time. While this has been successful, I assume the Zwift workouts has been designed by professionals, but I don’t understand the logic.

Please enlighten me. :slight_smile:

(. Velo Viking -WKG (C)) #2

I followed that training plan last winter and like you I felt that efforts was a bit easy, but a managed to raise my FTP from approx 250 to approx 320. I did som Zwift races in addition to the plan though!

(Pete GameCock WBR (D)) #3

I did it last year and was up about 25% and down about 5 lbs. I am doing it again this year and am currently at week 9. My weight is down 20 lbs but I haven’t seen a big increase in my FTP although I haven’t retested recently

(Jesper Knudsen DBR) #4

Cheers guys. 25% is way out of reach since my first couple of seasons. Those kind of gains are typical in the beginning of a cycling “career” - these days I would be happy to come out of winter with same FTP as last year, and dancing with joy if I manage to increase 5%.

Anyway, I am not really comfortable with the interval efforts being so low, even if there is some new science to support it. I’ve decided to do the rest of the winter with a mixture of SST (yeah, I am *that* modern at least), longer/shorter zone 5-6 intervals and endurance work.

Next fall I will start out with one of the FTP builder plans just to try it out - no big loss if it doesn’t work then. :slight_smile:

(bud kuenzli) #5

Can’t you start in the middle of the workouts? I’ve just started with Zwift and am beginning those workouts. I can see how they could very easily be too easy. I’m a 65 yr old dude and the first one (I’ve done exactly one ride with my new smart trainer) was right up my alley in terms of challenge.

(Tom Nesbitt MGCC) #6


When tackling the FTP builder workouts… are you to enter your current FTP or your projected FTP? 

(Steven Addy [DMOS] (D-)) #7

The FTP builder works ok but I could also side with some who’ve mentioned that the beginning is a little easy.

Main complaints:

  1. Power reporting latency is too high, by the time the app tells you you’re putting too much power down you’ve already adjusted down and then when you adjust down more it tells you you’re not putting out enough. There’s too much lag in the recording / displaying of the power, you react before it ever tells you you’re too high…then it’s just a see saw back and forth too little, too much, too little etc. Something needs to be done,.

  2. Warmups - your warmup starts at X watts but if you have a ramped warmup they increment the watts they want you to put down at some point…but A) they don’t tell you when that is, and B) they do nothing with the number on the screen to draw your attention to it, you just look up at some point and the number has changed.

  3. transitions between low / high watt output is erratic and immediate. People can’t go from 155 watts to 300 in under a second but the app starts flashing red immediately. A brief transition should be implemented, otherwise you start the overshoot / undershoot problem with your watts, i.e. one second too much the next too little. Real people can’t go from one number to the next without adjusting and the application complains if you have to adjust.

Overall it’s ok, or seems to be ok at this point, I’m just in week 3 day 4 so I skipped the first two because they were unnecessary. I at first thought it was way too easy but now I’m seeing that there is some benefit to how it’s progressing. It will force you to ride at a cadence / power level that you won’t like or you’re not used to, which is the point. We shy away from power levels or cadences that are uncomfortable for us, but those are where the work needs to be done.

My ave watts are a lot lower than normal but I bet within a couple weeks it’ll be hard enough that I can appreciate the first two weeks.

As for your FTP Zwift will calculate your ftp based on how you ride in the application, so you should do a few rides before jumping into the FTP builder…in fact you should do several. Climbing is a good way of representing your power level too.

Use it as part of your training but not all of it. I have other rides and HIIT training I’m doing too.

(Dan Crisp) #8

I completed 10 weeks of this. I gained 27w going from 249 to 276w I also increased my w/kg from 2.9 to 3.5w/kg. Earlier sessions were easy but I found this useful as it got me used to riding my bike more frequently without rest days between. Prior to starting I would ride on a tues, thurs sun. I continued to ride on tues thur in what were scheduled rest days but kept these rides short and stayed in zone 2. Am go My to start the 4 week booster next as I build for the forthcoming season.

(Bob Gambardella) #9

Is the idea to do a workout every day? In other words, if I start Week 1, Day 1 on a Monday then my week 2, Day 1 would also be a Monday?

(Trevor Hartman) #10

I’m curious about this too. Are you supposed to complete all the days for a week back-to-back then rest until the start of the next week?

(Dan Crisp) #11

Bob And Trevor that was how I understood it. Meaning following the plan strictly would mean he earlier week were 4 consecutive days followed by 3 rest days. Reducing to two rest days in the later weeks. For me rest at the start rest days were from tues to fri. I did do low zone 1-2rides of an hour on tues and Thursday as active recovery. Wednesday was always a complete rest day I did this throughout the 10 weeks and when it added a 5th day I just subbed in my existing social active recovery ride. For the last 3 weeks I certainly wouldn’t want anything more than active recovery for those days. The rides become longer and more time in sweet spot. You need the recovery for the adaptation to occur. Whether this is active or complete rest will depend on your schedule and more importantly how you feel.

(Trevor Hartman) #12

Thanks Dan, makes sense!

(Whitney Massey) #13

I adjust my FTP up (280 W) on the Foundation days  (D1 & 3) and back down to what I believe is my “real” FTP (255 W) for the O/U days (D2 & 4). Not sure if the program designers would agree. Don’t always do the super easy D5. Currently in week 11. Short FTP test December 2016 put me at 231. Lost 2 months late last spring due to Achilles rupture with healing & recovery on-going so I am pretty happy with where I am now.

(Dan Crisp) #14

Update. The 4 week ftp booster yielded another 14w I had some pacing issues (got caught between gears). With a smaller cassette I am confident ftp would be 295-300w
These programs really do work.

(M att) #15

I am bumping Tom Nesbitt’s question:

When starting the workout are you supposed to enter your current ‘real’ FTP or projected FTP which you would like to achieve? Currently I am about to finish week 3 (skipped first two weeks) and I feel like its way too easy…