Another failed ramp test

I just completed general build low volume. My FTP was 205 and I completed 95% of the workouts, although some were very tough.
I just took a ramp test and once again it showed my FTP to be lower than it was before I started the last block (195).
Seems to happen to me on a regular basis so I just keep ignoring the ramp test and bumping up a few watts as I move forward. Does this happen to anybody else? It’s unbelievably frustrating

You are not alone.

I may merge some threads for cleanliness, but have a look at the ones above as there is plenty of existing discussion.

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Thank you.

I will read these, but what’s amazing is it happens to me every time, but if I chose that FTP , it would be wrong

More worthwhile reading, that may have some positive tips to improve your test taking. In some cases, I think people are not giving themselves the best chance to perform to their potential.


Yeah the ramp test isn’t the end all. If you can complete the workouts at your current ftp and feeling good, give it a bump but keep checking it and don’t be afraid to bump it back down if things seem too hard.

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There’s so many factors, on/off bike, that play into that metric that I think it’s hard to quantify sometimes.

Coming out of Sustained Power Build LV (with fillers) -

  1. I dropped 5W on my last assessment and, if I’m being honest, it came as no surprise. 2. Looking at the graph my line was trending downward vs. my assessment prior to.
  2. I was having a particularly stressful time at work during those weeks which I am absolutely certain had an effect.
  3. I think to a small degree, I outperformed myself on the assessment prior.

Here’s my take…

  1. It’s a picture in time and doesn’t define your overall fitness
  2. Do the prescribed workout and increase the intensity (if you’re feeling particularly sprightly)
  3. Consider other factors aside from the ‘magic number’ called FTP
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Yep. Did a race yesterday where I did a 2019 PB for a 2 minute effort to bridge to a break, and after about 10 seconds of sitting on felt ready to go again.

My last two ramp tests that were a part of the mid-vol crit build were both at 340W. No doubt that I was better able to recover due to the last 6 weeks of training even though my FTP didn’t change.

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I don’t think anyone really fails a ramp test. Even if you complete a base, build, or specialty cycle, there is no guarantee that your FTP test, ramp or otherwise, is going to increase. Even if it remains the same, that does not mean your fitness did not improve. This is especially true the closer you get to the pointy end and/or your potential.

The same goes for failed workouts. You back it off 5% or you took some backspins to complete the workout. That is not a failed workout!

If the ramp test is not giving you the results you want or believe you should see, then perhaps try the 8min or 20min tests. Or as others have mentioned, you can manually bump your FTP and see how the following workouts feel. They should feel tough the first week or two as you adjust, but still doable without smashing yourself.


Try the 8 or 20 min ftp. Ramp may not work well for you

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Yes, they do. My story:

Prior to Dec 2018 ramp test it was working well. Then it seems my vo2 ceiling fell down.

Dec 2018 ramp test:

  • prior to test I’m completing sweet spot at ftp = 240W
  • ramp test estimate of 188W ftp
  • kept ftp at 240W and that same week finished sweet spot and threshold workouts

Failed ramp test at end of January.

From the fractional utilization of vo2max podcast discussion, and vo2max deep dive podcast discussions, I realized my power at vo2max (5-min power from ramp test) was really close to “manual ftp for workouts” setting. That sure seemed like it was a strong contributor to the two failed ramp tests.

In February I did a short 2-week vo2max booster block, the result was a good ramp test the first week of March.

Out of 11 ramp tests:

  • 8 “good” tests
  • 2 “failed” tests due to power @ vo2max detraining, and corrected with vo2max booster block
  • 1 failed this month due to allergies
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I still don’t think you failed the Ramp test.

First of all, it’s not a pass/fail type of test. You gave your best effort and the result was not what you wanted/expected. Even if the ramp test underestimated your FTP due to it favoring those who are more VO2 inclined/fit (think i said that right) that does not signify a failed test. I would argue that perhaps the test does not suit you.

What about those who are very much VO2 inclined (i.e., 120% VO2 workouts are all too easy at a given FTP while the 90% sweetspot crushes them)? The ramp test is more than likely to overestimate their FTP. Did they fail the test? or did the test fail them? do they get an A+ ?


Like vo2max target power, the ramp test has some assumptions about aerobic fitness. If those assumptions are not true, then the ramp test will fail to give a reasonable estimate of FTP. Call it what you will.

When I’m reasonably aerobically fit, as measured by “ftp as % of 5-min power in last 90 days,” then ramp test gives reasonable results.

Above FTP, power targets depend on physiology and current fitness level. TrainerRoad’s vo2max 120% power targets assume “ftp is roughly 85% of 5-min power” (with 5-min power as proxy for pVO2max). If you are above that, say ftp is 90% pVO2max, then your vo2 workout target should be 111%. If you are below that, say 78% pVO2max, then your vo2 workout target power should be 128%.

In summary, I believe there is a range of aerobic fitness (as defined above) that results in “good” ramp test estimates. However even with a reasonable FTP esimtate, that may not give reasonable with vo2max and anaerobic power targets as explained above.

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This episode is pretty good. They talk a lot about FTP. Could ease your mind by changing your attitude toward FTP.
You can find it on any podcast app.

You rock .


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Yes! This is different than saying you failed the ramp test.

Whether it is the 20min test, 8min test, Ramp test, etc., there are conditions for a reasonable estimate of FTP. There will also be outliers.

My biggest point of contention is the use of the word fail in the context of the FTP test or often regarding workouts when the reality is that most of the time, it is definitely not a fail. Change, improvements in fitness, etc., are not solely defined by chasing a number. In the case of an FTP test, it may not go up much if at all after a training block, but that does not mean you failed the test. It does not mean there were no changes in your fitness. When it comes to workouts, dropping the power target 5%, taking a few back pedals, or pausing for a few seconds does not signify a failed workout.

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I failed to meet the (unstated) assumptions of the test, and therefore it failed to provide a reasonable estimate of FTP. That works both ways, those with detrained vo2 and those with very high anaerobic fitness.

I’ve got my own personal algorithm to recognize when it happens.

Just by eyeballing some of the threads around here over the last several months, there’s lots about “failing” workouts/tests etc. When an episode of training/testing is “failed”, the way I see it is there could be one of several factors at play…

  1. The problem is with the individual - personal/environmental.
  2. The problem is with the test/workout
  3. The problem is with the plan

The interesting part is - some « successful » workouts may be successful because of the same reasons. If I underestimate my FTP and nail the next program segment, that technically is not a success. I failed to challenge myself sufficiently.

Yep. I have yet to have a ramp test result in any bump in my FTP. I’ve increased my FTP by 5% twice since joining TR about a year ago, each time after a “failed” ramp test. I haven’t regretted the manual increases yet (ok, maybe a little when I’m really deep into those O/U intervals).

Same thing happened to me. This test is akin like adding rocks too a basket that you carry up stairs. Up a step, add a rock. I can handle the weight, but the cardio seems to putter. Reminds me of body building.