Big question about FTP

Hello everyone. The question concerns my ftp measurement. The last time I did a ramp test on 01/27/2021, it turned out to be 274W. And on 03/25/2021 I decided to make a short ftp test, with 20 minutes of work, and in it I did 248W. it was a shock and disappointment, for the first 5 minutes I kept the power level at 280 watts, I planned to add power in the last 10 minutes, but at the 9th minute the power dropped and I felt acidic legs. Of course, I could no longer even hold 280 watts and just drove to the finish line. I had a severe shock and decided to do a ramp test the next day, and yesterday I did 277W on my legs tired after a 20 minute test, that is, I could give 280W. question what’s wrong with me? Which way should I look to understand this? 29W there is a lot of difference. I will be very grateful to everyone who answers :pray: It worries me very much, but I cannot find an answer.

p.s I am writing my ftp indicators for the winter:

Sounds like you just test higher on the ramp than the 20 minute, not uncommon around here


Ramp test overestimates for many. Does for me. I reduce my ramp test by 5% to set my FTP for workouts.

Search the forum for “ramp test” and you’ll see many threads on this topic.


It’s less about finding your “true FTP”, rather it’s about finding a consistent testing procedure that gives you a number (FTP) to base your training off of. So stick to one testing method, using the same setup and determine your fitness improvements over weeks and months. If your ramp test FTP gives you a number and you’re able to complete the succeeding workouts at the expected RPE then use that number. If it doesn’t, then adjust accordingly.

Don’t fall into the rabbit hole of chasing a “true FTP”, it doesn’t matter unless you’re attempting to use that to base a pacing strategy on a time trial. Call your ramp test results your TrainerRoad training number, a number only to base training at the appropriate intensities.


@Michaelkrsk first of all let’s just be clear that nothing is wrong with you! :smiley: I had a very similar experience to yours and many on this forum would say the same.

My ramp test result was within a watt or so of yours…right around 280…and I decided to try riding at my ramp test FTP for as long as I could hold it. About 15 minutes into the effort it started to look like I wasn’t even going to make it 20 minutes! Ha!

I did a lot of sustained power work. So starting out with an hour…Echo, Pioneer…then extend the effort…phoenix…then a little bit more…gibraltor…then a little bit more…boarstone, polar bear (one of my favorites…

Then I started doing just 1 hour of constant effort. If 2 minute average heart rate exceeded ~93% of max I reduced the work rate down by 5W. Sometimes I would extend the effort, sometimes I would increase the intensity. Eventually I was able to do 105% of my ramp test derived FTP for an hour.

So this is one approach you might consider. On the other hand, if you’re doing crit or medium duration road racing…you might not even care as long as you can hit your workouts. My problem was over/under and threshold workouts (think Kaweah) would CUH-RUSH me if I did the workout based on my ramp test derived FTP.

Here is my workout progression…




Your FTP in TrainerRoad is only relevant to your training in TrainerRoad. If you need a FTP for a time trial, you really need to set this outside and it likely needs to be a 20 minute test (at least). I over perform on the ramp test, so I usually dial it back 10w or so. If I were to follow the definition of FTP and tried to hold my ramp test FTP for a hour, I would blow up well before then.

When you read other’s FTP results, always take it with a grain of salt. Different power meters measure differently, and you can see 20w between brands. Some people are using virtual power. Then the test type will also influence the number.


What’s wrong? Choosing to believe that the ramp test did a good job estimating your FTP. How to look at it? Some above are posting that you should live in a fantasy world and use a bad estimate to set training zones. I guess on the theory you can pick and choose the sports science to believe, because training should be hard but testing should be easy :man_shrugging: Dunno, sounds like telling myself it’s okay to lie about my 30-70 minute fitness. Because anti-science? :thinking:

Another approach was offered up by @Brennus which is to HTFU and keep doing longer and longer intervals until you can ride for an hour at ramp test estimate. Some merit in that although you could do what I did and simply do a 30 minute test (Joe Friel protocol), call that FTP, and do longer and longer intervals until you can do it for an hour. And in the process my power increased as well.

Should be obvious by now that I believe lying to myself is the wrong approach. You need to decide for yourself on the approach.


Well, it’s a good selling point when people believe their 350w ramp test FTP is the same as a pro’s 350w FTP that they held in hour 3, on day 4 of a multi day stage race.

TrainerRoad’s numbers are only relevant in the bubble of TrainerRoad’s platform. TR works great, but you need some asterisks next to that ramp test FTP number.

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Just to add a bit of balance… my first FTP estimate via a ramp test was within 2w of what I had previously achieved via a 20min test :man_shrugging:

I know it might just be me finding it hard to see past my own first hand experience but I struggle to believe the ramp test protocol is so “off” to account for the OP’s observations.

Thanks, you added good and relevant content to the OP and myself. Keep up the good work, your willingness to add to the discussion and help others is not lost in your subtlety.


On “FTP”, if we’re thinking of it as an estimate of your 60 minute MMP, then that means it’s the amount of power you could hold on a perfect course, fully rested, motivated, cheered on by your loved ones, etc. for an hour. That effort would be a soul sapping struggle. Just like 3x20 should be effing hard.

So you are telling me that you could hold: 220W for one minute then hold 240W, 260W, 280W, 300W, 320W, 340W, 360W and then bailout at in the last minute 380W on the Ramp Test? And you struggle to hold 248W for 20min. My FTP right now is probably right around yours and the TR workout today had me holding 262W for 10min(x6) or 254W for 20min(x3 with 1minute break) and it was doable. The only thing I can think of is that maybe it was the heat that got to you on a longer workout. But that should be very doable and repeatable for you as 248W you managed to do for 20min is only 90% of FTP, that is very doable. Tomorrow I have 90% for 1:30 hours.

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20 minutes test requires some experience and it doesn’t mean you have to start on FTP. Start slightly lower for a minute or two and every few minutes reevaluate what you can sustain. Perhaps lower for a minute 5-10W and go up again. As you are far enough in test it may start feeling easier to sustain higher and higher power. The worst thing for 20 minutes is to start too high and then just go down…

Also - there are many mentions that perhaps you are too outside of the ramp test model from 20 minutes test (or newly recommended 30 minutes test where 30 minutes equals roughly to your FTP). If you cannot survive workouts - just adjust - TR guys mention that many times in various sources.

Also - depending on your powermeter - did you have it properly calibrated? When I was riding with Garmin pedals on some days it felt like being 20 watts off although I recalibrated before every ride.


Wow, that’s an aggressive stance. I believe what was advised to the OP was to not go chasing different FTP protocols (ramp, 20 min, then ramp), but rather stick to a single protocol and adjust accordingly. There is no fantasy involved, if whatever protocol you chose (ramp, 8 min, 20 min, 60 min, Xert, etc.) gets you training at the appropriate intensities then that’s what’s matters. There are pro and cons to each method and if you’re self coached it’s a learning processes no mater what the protocol. Rather than turning this thread into another FTP discussion, it was an attempt to put the OP’s focus in a positive direction.


I always test better on slightly tired legs, after a hardish day. Also, maybe your 20min test was just a bad day… happens

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275/0.75 = 365 for your max 1 min power.
You could try using 263w instead, which equates to 0.72 of your max 1 min power. There’s an article out there by Ric Stern about how 97% of athletes he tested had FTP between 0.72-0.77 of the max 1 min power. He once wrote 0.75 and people went with it. He recommends a different ramp protocol from TR but this is a place to start.

This is such a polarizing experience because I think people don’t try to walk in other’s shoes. People start cycling from different backgrounds, I feel like a lot of die hard TR users are triathletes. For a seasoned triathlete, I bet ramp test is either a good estimate or an underestimate of threshold. Some of us come from explosive sports like football and rugby. I think ramp test overestimates FTP for these athletes.

Some guys with FTPs of 400w have a max sprint of 1000w, meanwhile others with FTP of 275w can hit 1500w. These are very different animals.

Frank Overton’s site describes taking anaerobic fitness into account when using 20 min tests to estimate threshold (ie, subtract 5 to 10% from 20 min power). Similarly, you could apply the 72-77% adjustment for ramp testing, with knowledge some users might still fall even further out of that range.


Having just done a test (the Kolie Moore protocol) and got an new PB (call me Billy Bragg) I aim to do the ramp test on Monday at the start of a new plan. I will be amazed if it comes near to the number I got today. I do not train top end very much and I quit a bit easily.
I also fall into the slow twitch camp and see a test that goes longer to be more representative for the riding I do.

Whatever FTP you get you are supposed to be able to ride 40-70 minutes at that power. Let’s just call it an hour for ease. Do you think you can hold 274w for that long?

It is great to have a nice headline number as your FTP but if you train you need to be working to numbers that are realistic for you.

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Where does this notion come from?

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Think of this as a valuable lesson that you’ve learned early on. Next try a 35-40 minute test and you’ll really hone in on your true FTP.

I screwed around with a very inaccurate trainer and 20 minute tests for two years before learning this lesson.

The reason you may over test on the ramp is that you have an above average anaerobic contribution. This is good to know about yourself.

I don’t agree that it’s “just a number to train off”. You should try and hone in on your correct FTP. If you just go with the ramp and use too high of a number you’ll end up in the death spiral of overtraining and failed workouts.


OP asked about his finding his FTP with either a ramp test or a 20 minute test. If we’re going to agree that he’s looking for an approximation of the power he can hold for an hour, that would imply the maximum power he could hold for that time and then be completely spent. People think their FTP is too high from a test, but if it was easy, they’d call it Sweet Spot.