Am I bailing too early in the ramp tests?

Ok so my ramp tests have actually been losing a few watts each time the last several training cycles. I feel pretty good though and wonder if I’m just mentally not giving as much as I can during the test. Maybe I’m bailing early.


  • I started doing the ramp tests differently the last couple times. I only watch cadence and don’t display my power or HR or time of the test until I’m done.

  • I thought my max HR was around 185. I hadn’t got it over that for at least a year and it’s been a couple years since I got it to 189 once. I just figured well you do get older (I’m 43)

  • I started zwift racing for kicks and have done a couple races now. So I’m using the same trainer and ftp calculation that TR sees.

  • my last race I hit HR of 191 toward the end. I actually held it there for a bit and didn’t die either! (But I was spent when the race was done)

So I started thinking today… am I sand bagging my TR workouts with the ftp too low :joy:???

I rarely hit max HR in the ramp test, but I think if you have questions on whether or not you’re bailing too early, I’d say you are. I usually physically can’t turn the pedals when it’s over, and the cool down is really hard for me to finish. I’ve never been able to do a workout after a good ramp test. I think it should be pretty easy to know if you’re giving your all.

Also, my opinion is that you should at least have the time displayed. Matt Fitzgerald’s book, How Bad Do You Want It (which is great), has examples of specific round numbers being great at motivating efforts. Since the ramp test is only 5-7 minutes of truly hard effort, you need that goal of “I’m going to hit 20:30” to help make it maximal. Not looking at the time means you don’t have that motivating factor to go for and you don’t see the gains of each second, which truly do impact the final FTP in this format. I would also argue in favor of having all the other data present, but at minimum I consider the time almost necessary for a good result. You can build so much fortitude by just powering through what appears disappointing but may be a really great effort anyway.


I like your suggestion about maybe putting the time back in. I got the idea to do it blind from other posts about ftp test protocol… but for me… yes perhaps that doesn’t work as well. I definitely think I’m motivated by… “I can get that last 30 seconds without bailing.”

I mentioned the last couple test have gone 4 and then 3 more watts down from where it was when I was doing SSBLV2. I was doing builder phase at Low volume and it wasn’t too bad. Now I’m upping hours per week to medium volume plans and back on SSBMV1. I’m breezing through it but having done phase 1 before last fall I know the workouts aren’t as difficult. Maybe I should re-evaluate… or just up the intensity a bit.

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In my opinion, if you are asking the question, you are leaving something on the table.

Ramp test is designed so that you go until you can’t. Can’t. Not “don’t want to,” but CANT.


+1 for this - I certainly get very motivated by breaking my previous best, and using the clock as a motivational tool really helps!

Not to just repeat in different words, but:
I find myself at points that are effing hard and I have thoughts like, “I need to stop” but I just force myself to realize that if I’m saying “I need to stop,” at some level, that’s still a conscious decision. The way the test is designed, it goes until you don’t even realize you’ve stopped, if that makes sense. And to be clear, this isn’t some woo-y, make yourself seem badass, hypothetical phrasing, that’s how the test functions. Every second counts when the amount of data is compressed into such a short time.

Also, FWIW, I typically DO hit my HRmax in the ramp test, but I’m a cardio guy, not a strength guy.

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the whole “give it another 10s, then another 10, and again” really works for me as well.
The minute thing works both ways though - last time it killed me “ok, i finished that minute, can’t do it anymore” whereas this time I managed to eek out a bit more out of the workout.

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Definitely add the time back in. When doing a ramp test I don’t even let thoughts of quitting enter my head until the break even point at 19:30 (I think?). I’d definitely quit before that though if I couldn’t see the time!


Concentration is the key for me - I’ve had a couple of tests when my legs have stopped before I even gave them permission! Really disappointing when that happens, so set yourself to really focus, zone in / out - whatever works for you, as the efforts progress my “focus” times get shorter, from one minute to 30 secs, 10s…5s…when you get to thinking about such short spaces of time you know you’ve done a decent test.

Just to clarify - I’m with the others, use some method of timing to set goals!

+1 for all the comments “yes, you’ve got more in the tank”. I’m just interested in surpassing my current FTP, so aiming for 19:30. I might look to target 20:00 but definitely not 20:30. A minute increase on a previous accurate test would be a big improvement. Distaraction works well for me - counting each 15 secs towards the end and promising myself a hand position change, because that will be more comfortable etc

I don’t get the whole validation through how big my FTP number is. We have no problem with understanding that we need to calibrate our power meters to conduct accurate meaningful training. A TrainerRoad ramp test is a calibration check; you are calibrating yourself and your training load for the next 4ish weeks. On that day, at that time, with that amount of sleep and energy, you were able to perform to that level

Pretty much this. After a while you get a feel for whether you tested over or under your “correct” FTP and adjust things accordingly. I did a few Ramp Tests earlier in the year and I consistently felt like I’d underperformed - typically I’d only improve by a couple of Watts. Subsequent workouts like over-unders felt more like par-unders for example, so ended up adjusting my FTP by about 2% upwards. The workouts then felt as I thought they should.