130% fail on ramp test

Just done my second ramp test - after a couple of winters on the 8 minute test.

Both times - failed at 130% of old ftp.

Failure due to lung capacity rather than legs.

What can I learn from this?

First time around - I felt I needed a longer warm up (age 50)

so second time round I did 10 mins at 50% prior to the test


I’m not clear on what you perceive the problem to be. Do you think you should have scored more than 130% of your old FTP?

As above…not sure what you think the issue its. The ramp test is a test to failure - it just keeps going until you can’t carry on/quit.

To ‘break even’ on the ramp test you should have max 1-minute average of 133.3% of FTP so getting to 130% is only a 2.5% change downwards. Given that different tests give a different estimate of FTP (or Maximim Lactate Steady State if you’d rather think about that way) I think the result you have is broadly in line with where it ‘should’ be.


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Sonya Loney has a podcast and the most recent episode had a guest speaker from (or former) balance point coaching. They talked about respiratory training - check it out


Thank you - The in test instructions did indicate that 120% was normal.

I wondered if failing on bursting lungs vs burning legs was relevant - as I got to 130%

The test instructions are misleading from memory.

I’ve commented on this before but I think the ramp test really depends on the type of rider you are. I’ve come from the background of doing 30 min as hard as I can solo on the trainer (Friel method) to come up with ftp. Its grueling sure but its just what I consider my norm.

I’ve spent years being a triathlete before becoming a roadie the past year or so, so my short term power isn’t great. I find that the results I come up with the ramp test are not inline what my 30 min test. The first time I tried it I had not done high intensity above ftp, so to then hold wattage going above it one minute at a time my body wasn’t ready for it.

Results from the ramp showed me my FTP was 308. Couple weeks later I did my 30 minute all out on the trainer test and came up with 347.

Relevant in that it informs what ceiling you need to break through to move forward. in this case you perceive it to be your VO2 max rather than anaerobic power. But it still tells you your functioning threshold.

Are you sure it is lung capacity and not your cardio system?

What limits me during threshold or VO2 max rides is my cardio system. My legs get tired, but not to the point of failure. But my heart rate approaches maximum and I can sustain that for only so many minutes before the stress becomes too much and I quit or slow. I’m also breathing very heavy at this point - but my lungs are not the limiting factor, it’s my heart.

Hmmm - by the “thing” that makes me fail ? It’s the breathing. Unable to take in enough air.

Vs the burning legs

I hadn’t thought of heart rate - I was maybe 8-10 beats from max.

fwiw - I have done both the 2 x 8 mins numerous times and the ramp (never done the 20 minute) and the seem pretty similar.

It sounds to me like you performed this test as intended and got a result that is in line with expectation. There is a pretty deep thread here that discusses experiences with the Ramp Test and what people do to maximize their performance. I think it’s recommended reading ahead of your next Ramp Test.

My “failure” on my ramp tests have been my legs, they can no longer physically turn the cranks, its not giving up, they will no longer turn the cranks, even if my life depended on it, they are empty! Maybe that is giving up, my legs have given all they can and are giving up?

Heart rate is around 97% of max, 165/171 and know I can hit 171 if I had too… breathing working as expected for that but not limiting me as far as I know as I can breath faster as I have done in the past for other efforts…

I guess its a case of the weakest link in your own personal chain makes a ‘failure’… or maybe more than one link… something has to give up eventually?

Mentally gone
Legs empty
Heart Maxed Out
Breathing Maxed Out

Mentally “giving up” I believe is the one we can beat ourselves up with, as the rest of the body was capable of giving more and we know it. For me its the only one I don’t like failing with!

Just some rambling thoughts!

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