A better (for me) ramp test

TrainerRoad’s ramp test estimates Max Aerobic Power [MAP] (best one minute power from the ramp) and takes 75% of that estimate as the rider’s FTP. I’m one of those riders that consistently has an FTP that’s more like 70% of my ramp-based MAP so my FTP is generally set a little high & I’m constantly futzing around with it.

Recently I did an AC/HA test, TR ramp test, & some regular hour long efforts. As has often been the case, my hour efforts were 6% to 8% less than MAP-based FTP results.

I created a hybrid ramp test based on Hunter Allen’s recommended 20 minute FTP test protocol. At the end of this post (if I remember!) you’ll be able to review the Hunter Allen protocol. Instead of a 20 minute constant power as the test I spliced in the TR ramp protocol.

The results of the Hybrid TrainerRoad ramp test were within a few watts of my full hour efforts. So maybe that’s a better measure than just a regular ramp test. Something to think about if you’re a rider that experiences this same sort of issue.

Anyhow, it seems certain this isn’t the first time somebody has thought to do this. But I couldn’t find anything else about it on the forum…so I thought I’d post.

image v


I added this workout to the Hour of Power FTP Challenge team workouts page.

Always good to try new things. What’s your method for calculating your FTP from this protocol?

That five minute block scares the life out of me :skull:

1 Like

Same as the standard TrainerRoad ramp test. 75% of best 1 minute power during the ramp. Best 1 minute power for the whole workout was during the 5 minute blow out…so I had to futz around with TR analytics to get best 1 minute in the ramp.

So how is this a better test? Because 75% of the final value came out closer to your best full hour power? What not just use the standard ramp test, but adjust the percentage to better fit you?

1 Like

“What not just use the standard ramp test, but adjust the percentage to better fit you?”

That’s fine. I won’t hate on you if you do it that way. Good luck!

1 Like

I actually do do it that way, or least I did back when I was still racing. I first started doing ramp testing in the mid 2000s after reading this article:


Stern later suggested using 72-77% of your MAP to estimate your FTP, and I found that something on the lower end of that range worked best for me. YMMV.

Edit to add: another way you can “game the system” is to alter the ramp rate. For example, if you find that 75% of your MAP seems to overestimate your actual FTP, you can reduce the ramp rate from 25 W/step to 20 W/step or even 15 W/step. You will last longer, but will fail at a lower power output, which will make things align better.

1 Like

I’m on the other side of the bell curve and the ramp test can set my FTP a little too low.

That’s really interesting, did you think “if I do the 5-minute anaerobic blow out maybe that will fix the ramp over-estimates” or something else?

Will be interesting to hear if that is a repeatable result over the course of a season. I’m saying that because in WKO my FTP as % modeled vo2max will vary between 83-90%. My “bad” ramp tests are always when FTP is 88-90% of modeled vo2max.

Oh no, nothing like that. I don’t mean to represent this as an original thought. It’s totally an idea that Hunter Allen has promulgated for years. All I did was splice the first part of Hunter Allen’s test onto the TrainerRoad ramp. (I appended a summary of the protocol in my original post…that summary is Hunter Allen’s)

If you have the book ‘Training & Racing With A Power Meter’ there is some discussion of this approach & the author outlines a much more involved protocol. If pressed about it he’d probably say, ‘At least do a 5 min blowout’ before the FTP portion of the test. So that’s what I did.

I know! I’m really curious how this type of test protocol treat that cohort of riders.

1 Like

I’m similar to you (ramp overestimates). Tried the Half Monty out of curiosity.

Came closer to FTP (~2% overestimate instead of 4%) and given threshold HR was pretty spot on. So could be an option for you.

Might try it, but I’m back to doing longer protocols and shorter max efforts for establishing vo2 workout targets.

I recently did a 20 test, and it was a total s show.
But i think it was more of a trainer/gearing issue than testing.

Does the wo gives you a new FTP at the end?
Of do you have to calculate?

No. It’s not a slick product like the TR development team would create! After the workout is done I go to the ‘personal records’ chart on the performance analytics page for the workout. Slide the cursor across the personal records chart until the line is at 1 minute…note the power number…multiply by 0.75…that’s the new FTP.

Couple of apologies about this workout ahead of time. I didn’t take the ramp test text message out. So they are a little psycho. A couple times in the middle of the workout some message telling me I’m done will pop up. Also, after I fail on the ramp I switch it to resistance mode because the ramp will just keep going higher in erg mode.

The first couple times, might be a good idea to use resistance mode for the 5 minute portion of the test…unless you’re fairly certain about what type of 5min power you can do. I always guess too high.

@Joelrivera and a visual from a ramp test:

307 watts * .75 = 230 watts

FTP estimated at 230W.


I am musing here…
but wondering if a real ramp would be better than a stair…
so instead of adding 6% every minute…you just keep going up…
This would probably work better on resistance mode tho…
one can set to go up to 145% of ftp…most will fail way before that…

Ramp tests have been studied, evaluated, debated, and discussed by sports scientists for a long long time. Just use TR for convenience, or pick another step size if you can articulate why, or go to 8-min or 20-min or 30-min or Kolie Moore.

I’m still of the opinion that if you are targeting triathlons (did I get that correct?), then doing a 20-min test protocol is better for a number of reasons. My last 20-min test was a month ago, into a headwind, and was almost exactly 10km which is the distance of a Super Sprint Triathlon. Learning how to pace is a valuable skill.

1 Like

Yes you did…
I agree to an extent… once i work the issues of my trainer and gearing on resistance mode, then it would probably be better. But as i did last week, it is not possible. unless my ftp suddenly jumps to 285 (from 244)