When the Ramp Test doesn't track well to FTP

You can hear that here: https://soundcloud.com/trainerroad/ftp-testing-and-the-trainerroad-ramp-test-a-comprehensive-guide-ask-a-cycling-coach-158#t=46:21.


This may have been discussed already in this forum, but reading can last for days on here. Great insight regardless.

My question is more in line with the warm up of the test and the steps you take as you are performing the ramp test. Prior to doing any TR workouts this off season I tested out at 334w and 4.1w/kg. I then took to the sweetspot base light plan and completed it. As expected, I then did another ramp test and tested out at 355w and 4.4w/kg.

After a week of team camp in California, 500 miles and 33k ft of climbing I came home, did a taper week and then re-tested to basically come up with the same number. However, this time around when doing the test with an FTP of 355w in TR, I found the warm up short and the initial jump into the actual “ramp” very extreme. Has anyone else experienced this? Perhaps the ability to make the steps start out a bit lower to really allow the “ramp” portion to feel somewhat manageable.

I find I need some additional warm-up before the Ramp Test too. So I will do Davis beofe, but just until after the first of the two V02max efforts. That may will help with the bigger ramp increases associated with a higher FTP

It’s also possible that the riding you did in the team camp didn’t actually lend itself well to seeing increases in the Ramp Test protocol (I obviously have no idea what kind of riding you did in your team camp). In other words, the Ramp Test may not show the fitness improvements you acquired - perhaps, you would see improvements on the 20min testing protocol given all the climbing.

My $0.02

Thanks for the call out on the Davis workout. I’ll definitely give that a shot before I do my next ramp test.

The start of the ramp test is about 50% of your last recorded FTP so there will be a jump when your FTP has also just gone up.

If you need it you can do a short warm up before the ramp test to help.

For more information/evidence/entertainment on this topic…

After completing Sweet Spot Base II at an FTP of 355, including successfully completing Mary Austin, I did a truncated recovery week. Today I started Sustained Power Build and scored 323 on the Ramp Test.

Immediately after I did 2x20min efforts averaging 357 (354/355; 360/362) and I had gas left in the tank at the end (to do this I adjust Eichorn so the intervals are at FTP).
image .

It’s pretty entertaining to me how bad I am at the Ramp Test with respect to my overall abilities. My legs felt fine, I got enough sleep, etc. - so I can’t blame it on a bad day.

But I think I have enough evidence to adjust my manually adjust my FTP to 360, while still being aware that I may have to turn the V02max intervals down a bit.

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Exact opposite here. I’ve done it on 50/34 subcompact and middle of cassette on Kickr 17, and documented in several threads (on my Kickr 17).

Doing a workout in Erg mode on the little chainring feels like I’m riding down a false flat - soft pedaling as if I’m getting a gravity assist.

Same workout/power/cadence in big chainring feels like I’m pushing the pedals harder, like riding up a false flat.

This is consistent and repeatable behavior on my Kickr 17. And visually you can see less power fluctuations in ride data while in small vs big chainring.

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Here’s one just for people to muse about:

I used the ramp test as a VO2max test protocol during my last testing day. Using the gas exchange data, I was able to see where I crossed threshold from a respiratory standpoint. I had to tinker with the number a little more after that (because this respiratory reaction is actually a little delayed), but found that 75% was too low for me. This has been mentioned on the podcast, and I assume there’s a skew representation of it with more trained athletes being higher than 75% and less trained athletes falling below 75% (and of course the massive differences in VO2 vs. steady state ability, as demonstrated by @John_Barclay).

Anyway, after doing some workouts with the ramp test and the tinkering I settled on 78% as my magic number. Threshold and SS feel doable, VO2 is challenging, and endurance feels like just that. Fun with physiology!

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If it works with your schedule, can you go out and see how long you can hold that 78% number? Interesting data.

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Yeah this is the next step, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to that because I have to be in the state of mind to go do that :sweat_smile:. With finals coming up for me I’m just sticking to my plan right now. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a place to work it in though!

So, I just finished SSB II at an ftp of 257. Did the ramp test yesterday and clocked in at 239. Didn’t feel right, so this morning, I did a GPX ride on the trainer of Col de l’Iseran (7% avg gradient for ~8.3 miles). Came in at an average power of 266 in a time of 59:39, which I plan to round down to 265 for my new ftp. Is this advisable? Thanks for the input.

Makes sense. If it was a steady state effort that “felt” like threshold then you are good to go with 265.

Absolutely! Gassed. Tomorrow’s now a day off. :blush:. Thanks for your help

For anyone who has done the “Hour Record” workout, does it switch an electronic trainer over to slope mode during the main effort? Anyone? @chad? Thanks

I smell a follow up to Disaster Day! Worldwide "Disaster" Workout Day - Dec 15, 2018

@mcneese.chad I think we need to have an “Hour of Power” day using the Hour Record workout. Maybe beginning of spring.


LOL, why does that seem worse to me :stuck_out_tongue:


FTP is one number.

I think we generalize too much and expect too much from this one number.
Using the suggested FTP from ramp test for me results in:

VO2 workouts are hard but doable.
Steady state impacts my muscle endurance which isnt as good. Need to drop intensity by 2-3 % to complete the last 10% of a workout on the longer workouts.

I dont think generalizing my FTP results to the three versions really means anything other than I am better at one type of workout then another. Which to go back to your comments…You can likely up the intensity on your VO2 workouts based on your ramp test result if you wish to push harder

It took me a long time to realize my workouts successful completion depends on a lot of factors. Air temp, fueling, how I feel and the FTP setting. All these impact if I can do the type of workout at 100%. If I drop my FTP I can do all workouts. If my FTP is set right I will complete my VO2 workouts and have to tweak my steady state rides intensity at the end to complete them. In essence…I need to work to improve my steady state muscle endurance. The FTP number isnt the problem.

This is precisely my point. If I truly ride to exhaustion, my predicted FTP is 40w+ watts what I can really sustain during workouts, then training becomes unbearable

That sounds really hard to do, since its doing ~75% of your best 1 minute power, that means you’d have to do an extra ~53W on top of 133% of you FTP for a full minute… and this is after doing 1 minute at FTP, 1 minute at 106% of FTP, 112, 118, 124, 130. lets just assume you have say a 250W FTP just for doing some math, the step sizes are about 15 W, which means you have 3 full extra minutes than normal… taking you to 136%, 142%, 148%… that’s 8 minutes above threshold, and 5 minutes into the upper regions of VO2 max. I doubt there but a handful of people who can maintain that level of intensity for that long.

Ok now use your estimations to explain why I can’t complete the intervals using the FTP from the rampsl test…

I agree with @jakeriddel - I can understand a certain discrepancy between ability to go deep between ramp test and normal workouts, but 40 watts is a massive difference to be explained by motivation alone.

Just to eliminate other variables, are you using erg mode for both the ramp test and subsequent workouts?
What kind of heart rate do you reach at the end of a ramp test and the end of, say, a high intensity vo2 intervals session?

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