Clearing effort in the 20 minute ftp test

Hi all, briefly I’m a 31yo male, long time cyclist and current cat 1 on the road. I just finished first four weeks of sustained power build high volume and finished all the workouts - felt very challenged at times but always was confident I could finish.

Ramp tested today to essentially the same result cracking at 19:30 on par with my peak from last season and through the sweet spot base period. I’ve always been a climber/TT with poor top end but I’ve been using the ramp test since it is short and convenient.

After today’s ramp test, I spun easy for 10 minutes and did a full on 20 min effort ftp test in resistance mode which put my ftp 10 watts higher than the ramp. The effort itself was close to my 20 minute bests from last season, about 8w lower.

Like many in this forum, I think I might move to the 20 min test moving forwards. My question is how to treat the 5 minute clearing effort before the test. I figured my ramp test today followed by the 10 min easy spin was similar as it was about 10w below my all time best 5 min power.

In the workout text Chad advocates going slightly harder than 20 min pace - or is this an all out effort to achieve a 5 min PB?

Also any reason not to go with my 20 minute test result for ftp given I ramp tested 10 minute prior rather than the prescribed 5 min clearing effort with 5 min recovery?

Thanks all.

I don’t understand why you would change protocol. Just because it gave you a higher FTP?

If you felt challenged but comfortable, it sounds to me as if the ramp test has estimated your abilities quite well.

1 Like

If you are going to pick an FTP number to train at, it’s way better to be 10w under your real FTP than it is to be 10w over your real FTP.


The 5 min effort is all out in order to drain the anaerobic part before a 20 min test.


Because if you’re training for say sustained efforts (timetrials, long climbs, planning to win via breakaways) you may find that 20 minute or 1 hour gives you a much better dialed in number. Plus the ramp test definitely favours those who have been doing powered heavy vo2max work vs sustained threshold work

Not sure I’ve seen many moving to the 20 minute test. Maybe I’m wrong. My understanding was the 20 minute test was less reliable than the ramp or the 60 minute test and tended to overestimate.

I was contemplating using the 20 minute test as my ramp tests through sweet spot and half of sustained power build have been same/few watts lower than my ftp at end of last season (Set via a ramp test). That being said I’ve been completing all the workouts at my ftp from last season and think I can push it up a few watts. How much to push up? - hence the 20 minute test. Thinking I will tackle the next half of build with my higher ftp from the 20 min test and at the next testing period do both the ramp test and 20 min test on separate days and see how they correlate. Ultimately I’d like to pick just one test to use year round that doesn’t rely as much on high top end which has always been a limiter of mine.

I think the idea is that the ramp test is more reliable for most people due to lack of pacing involved. But… if you have been doing this long enough to have a good starting estimate and know how to pace (and know how you fall with respect to the 95% factor), the 20min test is fine. For folks doing TT’s and similar it might even be preferred… testing is training and all that

Or, if you understand the ramp protocol as is slightly underestimates - just bump up the result by a few points and call it a day. The .75 is set to work for most people, but it’s not perfect. Maybe you’re really .78, and once you figure that out the test itself is fine

I trust you applied the. 95 multiple to your 20min test figures to get your ftp? I prefer the 20min test myself but tend to use how well I complete the workouts to guage on whether to manually adjust my ftp score. If consistently struggling despite giving my absolute best I’ll nudge it down, and vice versa.

1 Like

Yes, you MAY, but the original poster didn’t. He found the workouts challenging but comfortable.

The guys at trainerroad seem pretty sure that the trainerroad ramp test ftp gives you a good number to base your trainerroad workouts on.

I’d say use the ramp test result for your training but use the 20min result to tell your friends :+1:

No harm in trying your 20 min ftp result in your workouts and seeing how you get on though.