6 Hrs a Week to improve FTP is it possible?

William s

New Member
Feb 27, 2013
Hi everyone I am after some input from ya all on my off season training emphasis.

After returning to cycling and racing I've managed to get to the following

FTP 260 5min 291 1min 410 5sec 1200
weight 80kg down from 95 still 6 or so to go.

Due to my work training for the last 5 months has been good adv of 12hrs a week. now work returns i am back to 6hrs over 5 days a week with at least 2 of those on a trainer. I've taken a break for the last two weeks as i was a little burned out. Been going at it since Feb without any real rest.

The questions I pose to the forum are a follows

1. is 6hrs a week enough to continue improving FTP with SST and V02 intervals?

2. if not should I focus on Strength Endurance and improve anaerobic qualities (my weakness) with some Vo2 work also?

the longest Road race I do is 2hrs its mostly Handicap and shorter races very similar to Crits with a LOT of short hills. there are no major big climbs around here at all.

I am at a bit of a loss which way to go right now, I know that maintaining anaerobic training will be difficult for such a long time and could lead to burnout etc. I am also aware that increase in FTP is going to yield in bigger gainer later on when I am off work and can get some longer training sessions in.

be nice to hear what some of you think

Good numbers.

My input on your questions. As to whether you can improve your FTP with 6hrs/wk of riding depends on how you use the 6 hrs. You have a trainer, which is the most efficient way to use limited training time if you can handle the trainer mentally. My off-season trainer rides are typically 5mins warmup and 5mins cooldown plus long L4 efforts (30-60 mins), so it's relatively easy for me to have an efficiency index (L4-L7 mins / total mins) of 75% or so. I have to work at it to get much more than 50% on the road.

With your limited training time, I wouldn't work on anaerobic efforts until after the first of the year. You have plenty of time to build your anaerobic power and anything you do now will drop your ride efficiency index due to the work/recovery ratio of L5+ efforts compared to SST/L4 efforts.
Hi William, I have the same FTP as you but a bit higher 5 min. Last winter I trained about 5-7 hours/week on trainer and managed to Increase My FTP with about 30 watts from roughly 220 watt to 250 watt. I did more or less only threshold/tempo intervalls and above. 5 min warm up then intervall sessions and 5 min cool down. I also had a bad bike crash in january and was off the bike for 3 weeks and more or less had to start all over with the training. I used sufferfest videos to make indoor training more fun. Did lots of 20 minutes and I think It has improved my cycling. I think you should focus on SST work and maybe do some on the bike strengh training. Perhaps doing low cadence sessions. VO2 intervalls can be added later on. This year I will try to be more structured in my training and are aiming for FTP of 300 watts
Been doing this for a long time, since 9 years old. Work always gets in the way, but the way I approach this is if I can get +12 hours on the bike every week, it keeps me in the peloton and I get serious about the way I train and follow a structured program. On the other hand, if I get down to 6 hours a week, I make the best of it by keeping endurance up with a 3 hour group ride over the week-end and doing a few roller interval sessions 1/2 hour early in the mornings with a couple of hard short rides in the week. With 6 hours a week, I don't get too serious about how I train.
I'm sure it's possible, but the more accurate question to ask is, "improve by how much?" 6hrs is 6hrs, which immediately implies a ceiling. Your numbers are really strong for having just gotten back into it--also begs the question, how long had you been riding & racing before taking a break, how long was your break, and what were your numbers like immediately after the break in February?

I'd wager that you'll have great success doing ~3 SST efforts per week. RDO knows more than most of us, and in my own experience, doing a steady diet of anaerobic efforts is only productive in limited bursts, especially on such limited time. I know there are a lot of claims about doing only intervals when you can't do +10hrs/week, but I don't buy it as a permanent solution. It's not necessarily burn-out that gets you as much as it just isn't constantly effective.

I've been able to boost--temporarily--CP5 by doing a 14-day block of various VO2max intervals, and while I wouldn't say that my experience determines everyone's, I do think you can hold off on that stuff until you're getting closer to race season. If you're doing CX, of course...that's another story :)