Aero/tt vs upright ramp test

Hey guys,
I recently did two independent ramp tests with similar rest periods before each my scores were
285 upright
265 aero/tt position
I have since been carrying on with full distance tri plan using my lower result and riding mostly in tt position apart from vo2 workouts.
This results in slightly easier riding when upright as opposed to workouts at higher ftp that I struggle to complete in aero.
I’d be keen to hear whether this approach has worked for others or whether I should be using the higher ftp and riding aero in recoveries?
Thanks for any help

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I am not too “experienced” but can share my personal history with the above (err one real season which is my current)…
Up until Specialty phase was doing everything upright on road bike, including Ramp Testing upright.
Then for the initial specialty ramp I go in aero position and maybe start incorporating aero work towards the end of build phase. Saw a drop of 11-12% ftp watts but have been training according to that number and it bumped a few watts halfway through specialty.

285 to 265 is relatively a little drop but I guess expect a lower drop since you are somewhat adapted… I read somewhere the avg drop of upright 20min power drop 11% when in tt without adapting.

I ride my workouts from start to end with at least one elbow on the cup/pad… unless of course there’s discomfort in the private areas (I tend to be sensitive). If I do come up during recovery valleys, it’s out of the saddle for 10-20 seconds. Also because the bike is locked in, you can get out on the saddle while in aero, I use this if during an interval I want to get out of the saddle and don’t want to break aero.

I would suggest you at least ride the work part of the Vo2s in aero, or maybe half of the intervals in and couple out. I don’t know what your Bike Course contains, but if there is slower than 13mph climbing you’re going to sit up and put down that power up the hills. Locally by me on our tri course (sprint/oly) theres a 2min 4% bridge “climb” that gets repeated twice within a couple minutes that I zip by everyone (thanks to those 120%s on TR) but I do them in upright at 16-20mph (wind depending)… So who knows… But if you do the Vo2s all in aero you might see more ftp watt gains I’m theorizing…

Honestly always, train how you race… :ok_hand:


I found similar numbers as you, about 20w lower in the tt position fwiw


Thanks for the in-depth reply. So just to clarify you test and ride upright until speciality phase!? Or are you testing upright and then doing all phases In aero? Think I’d struggle to hold the power with the wattage difference

I’ve not read through the other replies however here is my N=1:

I only race triathlon and TTs and do all of my training indoors (anything outdoors I view as recreational - though that isn’t to say easy!)

Because of this I test in aero, train in aero (including VO2 sessions as they are scaled to my ‘aero FTP’).

The only time I sit up training is the recovery valleys (though not always). I have no requirement to produce power in an upright or road position (other than climbs perhaps) so don’t see the value of training this way!


I would also recomend to test and train in the aero position.
So you get used to the different stress on your body.
A short time a go I dropped my handelbars on my Triathlon bike of about one cm and I noticed the difference in height in my legs.
Sometimes I get out of my TT position but I try to hold it the entire workout, so I can get used to the that position. Especially when you do a long course event I would definitely train in that position.

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Thanks guys it’s reassuring to hear that others are training and testing in aero. Hopefully the gap in ftp narrows over time as well :+1:

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I’ve taken a similar approach, testing and doing most intervals in tt position, using upright as a bailout sometimes.
I’m not sure if the gap in power has closed across the board- if anything (week 1 of 40k tt spec)I’m finding SS-threshold harder now in position vs vo2 max which was harder at first. Ultimately the gap doesn’t matter just that tt power goes up.

Next time I start a cycle I think I’ll try going upright for my highest test results and work the aero in more gradually, see how that goes

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Yup, you’d be surprised how easily you could hold higher %ftp in aero especially since in specialty the work part of intervals are shorter and less demanding (105%s in 40ktt specialty)

I highly suggest against this but if it’s necessary to come out then gotta do that…
Aero position is only aero (during a race) if you can hold it without coming up. So staying down for an entire TR session (say 60-75min) will definitely help reinforce the mental fitness to stay down low.

I happen to disagree with the close the power gap philosophy… it’s not possible to have the same Ramp test result at any point between upright and tt even if your adapted to it. Reasoning in short is you can’t recruit as much muscle lying flat.

I do think knowing a relative percent of ftp that changes from road to tt is helpful if have been resting upright and then for (how I’ve done it) coming into specialty in tt.

I did the ramp test in the TT position last night and also found a drop of 10 watts in my FTP. Encouraging to hear that it isn’t just me.

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I completely agree (and maybe wasn’t clear in my response).

I spend very little time not in aero position on the turbo, BUT if I do need to sit up (comfort on saddle on trainer, wiping sweat out of eyes, drinking etc) I’ll try to limit this to only during recovery valleys. I am not advocating (or personally doing) every recovery interval out of aero!

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I disagree (partially) with this. I think it’s fine to do hard work intervals in TT position and come up for some “relief” in the rest intervals. It’s not just about holding the position, it’s about getting power out in that position.

BUT I would also mix in some Z2 workouts done as much in aero position as possible, and also make sure you’re doing some longer intervals. If you can do 3x20 sweetspot intervals in aero position, you should be fine for an hour when it comes to a race.

As others have said, I highly recommend doing vo2 intervals in the aero position. For me, it really gives me a sense of how the last 5 minutes of a TT should feel.

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For sure… I do suggest you make for yourself this little rule I got… one elbow on the pad, idk it’s fun but very race-like. I happen to have a very comfy but super aggressive position, using ISM PN 1.1 saddle. (Random)

True and target power is the number one goal of each workout. BUT, in specialty for sure you should already be able to stay down for entire workout - you can’t just sit up in a race… Convince me otherwise lol, wondering what I’m missing though.

For sure TSS fillers have zero reason to not be 100% in aero… also again race demands and comfort in that case as TSS fillers are merely to bring on a different type of recovery (or lack there of) between workouts.

Wondering what percent drop this is for you… yes you’re not alone tho :wink:

I would say I do 90% of all my workouts and ramp tests etc in aero position.

It has gotten to the point now where it even feels more comfortable being in the aero position than being more upright when doing hard efforts.

Basically, I think I am now slightly more powerful in the aero/TT position than more upright.

Muscles do adapt and change and the only thing is breathing is slightly easier when upright but the TT position breathing is OK and doesn’t really affect power.

So if you intend racing in a TT posiion, definitely train in it as much as you can.


10 watts is just over 4% for me (241 down to 231) :frowning:


Gosh if I’m reading that right you are so lucky that little of a drop :see_no_evil:
Do you train in tt year round or once a week in that position?

Don’t feel as bad now! Haven’t done much training in TT position, mainly upright outdoor rides so far this year. I do scoot forward on the saddle sometimes whilst outside though.


Hey all, just bringing this topic back up. I’ll be racing 70.3 Worlds in September and the course has a lot of hills that will need to be climbed out of the aero position. Is it still everyone’s recommendation to Test and train 100% in Aero?

I trained purely based on my upright power for the last couple of months, just doing my easier rides in aero 100%. This worked for my race pretty well and I put down a good time, but I couldn’t quite hit my BBS power targets (probably because they were based on my upright FTP). I have never tested and trained 100% in aero and am worried I could be sacrificing some top-end power I might need on the climbs. That said, I’d much rather be 100% confident in my race plan and aero position power on race day.

I train in aero. I might sit upright during recovery efforts, because they are “recovery”. The easier I take the easy stuff, the harder I can go on the hard stuff. I ramp test 100% in aero. If you want to simulate hills, do some low cadence work. I think doing your hard/working efforts on the trainer upright is doing you a disservice. You want to maximize your ftp in aero then race to 80-85% of that. A friend used to do 20min ftp tests in and out of aero. It gave him an artificially high ftp, then he wonders why race day execution wasn’t better.

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