Max heart rate - ramp test

Yes, I know heart rate is not important for the purposes of TR and all of that. But is there a way of calculating max heart rate from the ramp test? I assume it’s not the max number I get during the test, right? Could anyone shed a light on this for me?



I think if you really empty the tank, you’ll likely get close to maxHR during the Ramp Test. I see about 4 bpm higher in the Ramp Test than any other workout.


Your HR could go to max during the ramp test, but it won’t for everyone. You can’t really calculate a max HR based off anything except for the highest observed HR. Anything else is just guesswork and approximations. That being said, if you do any amount of cycling, you’ll likely have periods where you’re working hard enough to get your HR up to/near max. If you’re interested in your HR as a metric, just pay attention to what it peaks at, and use that as your max.


Mine was way higher than what I usually get in the hardest workouts, like over 15 bpm.

Maybe they could still be harder then? Haha.

But obviously if it gets that high I’d probably get to fatigued to continue.

Anyway, I’ll do a proper test in a lab in a month, was just wondering if there was any way to calculate it from the ramp test.


Same, I just saw my highest ever HR on a bike at the end of a ramp test, and my HR is usually lower indoors than out too!

Mine has hit my highest ever on the ramp test. 196. I’m taking it as my MAX as i felt like I was going to explode!

Mine clocked 181 on the Ramp Test yesterday and I gave it my all, but on a ride in the bush a while ago going up a 3min steep rocky loose climb I got Max HR up to 189. There are just so many outside factors that can influence HR…

That’s funny I did a ramp test yesterday too. Mine clocked in at 181 max for the test. My max on my garmin is 186 and that may have happened 2 years ago.
But on topic - I’d say you will be close to your max HR on the ramp test.

I think for most of the testing protocols, you’ll first hold a very high percentage of VO2 max (or several intervals of it on short rest) prior to doing a 1-2 minute all out effort.

Right now my ramp test HR is the same level I reach on my 8 min test, so I wouldn’t call it my max.

You will get very close to your max HR on the ramp test or hit your max if you go hard enough

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It’s probably subjective and also depends on your form when doing the ramp test.

My usual max heart rate is 181 during rides and workouts. When I reach that point, I’m unable to put any more force into the pedals after some time. The only time I exceed that is if I go really hard and drive myself to an all-out in a burst effort, such as during a sprint or a tough climb. In that case I reach 191 but I also want to just fall off the bike afterwards.

In the ramp test I reached 191 in the last interval that I could complete (moved from 181 to 191 in three intervals), then failed immediately on the next tougher interval.

I have to say that I did not have any cooling because I was doing the test without a fan. Workouts have gone significantly better since I have proper cooling, so the peak HR may simply have been a symptom of overheating. I’m looking forward to the next test.

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I’ve got one on Tuesday - I’ll be happy if I stay under 205

Considering you are doing the ramp test seated you will not be able to reach HRMAX.
HRMAX with standing efforts: 186
HRMAX during ramptest all seated: 176


In my experience (and I think for the vast majority of riders) it is extremely challenging to hit the same max HR indoors and outdoors. There are a number of motivating factors at play, but I think it is fairly atypical to have the same motivation and drive in a mass start race finish as on the trainer.

I’d love to be able to push to my true max HR indoors and my non-race max HR outdoors is often fairly similar to what I can hit on the trainer. However, what I’m capable of in the final five minutes of a race is just different from what I can do when I’m alone (either indoors or outdoors). Trying to hold a wheel or establish a gap when your entire race ends if you can’t do it provides more drive and thus higher pain tolerance for the vast majority of people.

I think if you aren’t racing or finding yourselves in these types of competitive situations (which could be driven by a group ride or some other high motivation scenario such as a strava KOM focused athlete) then it is likely your actual max HR capabilities are higher than you think and you aren’t actually approaching your true max HR on the ramp test


I just did a ramp test:

Ramp test Hit 198
highest recorded this year indoors was 206 (Zwift race duration 1:24:42)

Did you lab test? how was the protocol?

I just meant ramp test, not max Hr test

A counter example: during the fall and winter the maximum hr that I have hit in workouts was regularly in the 190s during over-unders or a ramp test. Since the beginning of February, I can’t get it over 189. I was looking at that in GC and then realized that the last hr over 190 was on February 5th. My Lasko fan arrived February 7th. :slight_smile:

Hi, today I completed a ramp test and my heart rate went up to 209bpm. I think I could have pushed 20 or 30 more seconds, but I got kinda scared of that high HR. Has any of you reached such a high number? Could it be that my HR monitor is wrong? Btw I’m 22.

It is common to see your highest heart rate during a indoor FTP test. It’s nothing to be concerned about unless you have an existing heart condition. I wouldn’t let any metric (heart rate, cadence, wattage, time, etc.) influence your FTP test. If its a distraction cover up the number with a piece of tape.