Checking FTP results

Just looking for some advice on how to check my FTP test results. I’ve posted on here previously on how I get wildly different numbers depending on the type of test that I do. Ramp test lowest, 20 min in the middle 8 min highest.

I have heard that people often use Lamark as a good workout to validate their test result. I know there is a thread of people doing 1 hour of power but that doesn’t really fit in with the types of riding I do and therefore see FTP more as a number to use for my TR workouts.

Are there any other workouts people use, is there anything Vo2 that people use as an equivalent to Lamark?

Thanks everyone

Worth a read.

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@wapes Here’s how I think about FTP and testing:

FTP … are we talking about the same thing?
I see a lot of confusion in the forum about what FTP actually is. A lot of people believe that “the power I can hold for an hour and every other test is trying to approximate that”. Handily Coach Chad has a good explanation in episode 187 of the podcast at 9:40 that makes clear that FTP is the power output at the physiological point where lactate starts to accumulate. For some people that might translate to their “hour power”, but for most that’s unlikely.

FTP Testing
Now that we know that FTP is a physiological marker, it becomes clearer that all testing protocols other than blood lactate testing are trying to approximate your point of MLSS. Ramp Test, 8 min, 20 min, 1 hour, … all trying to approximate that point.

I’m not sure I understand your point about the 1 hour test not suiting your riding style? Are you suggesting that you don’t typically ride for long duration at steady-state so a 1 hour test wouldn’t be appropriate? Maybe explain more about your concerns are about riding style and testing protocol.

You mention that you get difference results from different training protocols. I’m not surprised by that, but you don’t mention how much of a difference you’re seeing. If the spread is 10 watts or less, I wouldn’t worry about it. If it’s very wide, then I’d want to more about how you tested. Were they all on the indoor trainer close together (within the same week)? If you didn’t standardize the tests (a mix of indoor and outdoor testing, using different power meters, different times of the day, fueled differently, etc) I don’t think you can trust them too much.

What I use FTP for
The only thing I use it for is to ensure that I’m roughly training in the right zones based on the intention of the workouts I’m doing. If your FTP is set 50 watts too low for example, you won’t be training in the right zone for a VO2Max workout for example. As long as I feel confident I’m in the right zone, I’m good. This of course offers some acceptable variance since the training zones are reasonably wide. If you could know 100% your true FTP for that day, a 5 watt variance isn’t going to screw up your training.

Validating FTP
I can’t see your ride history to get a sense for how much you ride and how often you test. In my experience, the more frequently and consistently you ride in a standardized environment, the easier it is to judge your FTP based on RPE. I ride in my garage on the trainer at least 5 times per week. The trainer and the TR workouts act as a constant to judge workout difficulty based on RPE. If you only did a handful of TR workouts in a month I think it would be almost impossible to judge effectively the relative RPE of similar workouts. I know what a 90 min sweet spot workout generally feels like, so if a couple of similar workouts in a row feel easy I start to think that my FTP likely needs to increase and I should be expecting a bump in the next Ramp Test.

A single workout to test them all
Your question about a particular TR workout (like Lamarck) to validate your FTP, in my opinion, is probably the wrong way to think about it. A single workout on a single day only tells give you information at a point in time. I think this type of approach is more useful for invalidating your FTP, rather than validating it.

Let’s say you have an FTP, but you’re not sure that it’s right and you ride Lamarck to test it. If you have a total fail on the workout half way through, or you complete it really easily then I think this tells you your FTP is not set correctly. If however you complete it, and it’s really challenging, but doable; what does that tell you? Your FTP might be set about right is one option, but could you have also completed it with an extra 10 watts? Could you complete Shortoff +4 at the same FTP? We’re not sure. What it would tell me is that the FTP is likely in the right area, keep it there and continue to assess.

Bottom line
If you haven’t committed to structured training, ride inconsistently or in a variety of very different conditions, then I don’t think any of this really matters. FTP is really only relevant for anchoring the zones of structured training. If you don’t have consistent, structured training in place, then really dialing in your FTP testing is kind of pointless. Don’t stress about it, just do the Ramp Test since it doesn’t require any pacing skills and do your workouts. It’s going to be close enough for this type of rider.

If however, you have committed to structured training and consistently apply yourself to quality workouts, then the training itself over time will validate the accuracy of your FTP. You’ll just know if it’s right or not based on your experience and continual validation in a comparable environment.


All of what @julianoliver said.

I did Spencer +2 and Lamarck this past week, and was just about able to complete them with RPE approaching 10, and heart rate getting up to 97% of my max. This tells me my FTP is about right to inform my training zones for TR workouts.

There is no way I could hold this FTP for an hour, but that doesn’t bother me, as I don’t need to know my hour power to set my TR training zones.

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Thanks, @julianoliver for your detailed reply. I will try and fill in the blanks.

My point about the 1 hour power was that I understand FTP is a physiological point and not an arbitrary amount of time ie 1 hour. Plus 1 hour doesn’t represent my riding with efforts being more along the lines of 15 mins or less, no matter whether I’m on road or MTB.

Results at the last round of testing were Ramp 240’s, 20 min 260’s and 8 min test 282. Did the tests in that order, had a rest day between each test.

My feelings are…
Ramp test I’m poor at due to what I feel is my asthma. I cant breath, my heart rate never gets near peak and my legs don’t end the effort.
20 mins struggle with pacing and gears on my trainer always feel like I want to be in between. Can finish all workouts on this number.
8 min test cant complete some of the Vo2’s you mentioned Shortoff there would be no way.

I am committed to structured training but although almost a year in I’m not convinced I trust myself to know how hard a ‘sweet spot’ effort should be for example.

So… when I asked about a workout to qualify the number what I am concerned about is going with the highest 8 min test, burying myself at sweet spot as its actually threshold and not being able to complete Vo2’s. Or going with the 20 min test and not pushing hard enough to improve.

Hmmm, the asthma does throw in an interesting variable. I’m assuming the issues you face in the Ramp Test likely manifest in every VO2Max effort you do as well.

Here’s how I would think about it. To anchor my training I would ignore workouts that trigger your breathing issues in general and treat them differently. My aim would be to set an FTP that gives me adaptations from predominantly sweet spot work. Honestly I’d use your 8 min test result as a starting point and go from there.

I know this runs counter to the kind of riding you do, but I think I would focus on plans that maximize FTP gains without hitting VO2Max frequently. The theory I’d be going with is that if I can get my FTP high enough, then I’ll be avoiding VO2Max efforts more often. So Sweet Spot Base I & II, Sustained Power Build and maybe something like Century Speciality. These plans still have VO2Max efforts included in there and I’d be looking for the ideal reduction of the intensity that I could sustain without triggering breathing issues. Maybe that’s 5% or even 10%. Given your situation I think that’s ok.

If you can do 8 mins repeats at 282, then you’ll likely be able to complete 90% of the workouts in the plans above and then a strategy for coping with the other 10% without compromising your breathing. I see no point in reducing the core of your workouts, just to accommodate the workouts that you have difficulty with due to health issues.

I hope this helps.

Once again thanks for your response.

As for my asthma I find the ramp test different to the Vo2 max efforts I think its the fact that it just keeps building that it overwhelms my breathing.

I will perform another 8 min test and get on with my training. I feel like I just needed some help to validate what I am doing. I am in the middle of sustained build and moving onto century for a ride I have planned in August. Its like you read my mind!

Once again many thanks