So I tend to be stronger at longer SS and Threshold work, and relatively weak at VO2max and above. As such, the Ramp Test resulted in a lower FTP number for me than other testing formats. I figured the Ramp Test got my VO2max targets right, but gives me targets that are too low for SS and Threshold.
Of course my ego dictated going with a testing protocol that would give me the higher FTP number. I actually started using Grey (2x20 at FTP) as my pseudo-FTP test. It actually worked pretty well for a while as my fitness increased. I successfully did 2x20min at 376W, so I used that as my FTP. It worked well enough for a while particularly has I found excuses to avoid VO2max work.
Over time it became apparent that I was losing some power and that the 376 FTP was no longer defensible, even for SS work. My pseudo-FTP test format stopped working well. Long story short I decided to embrace the Ramp Test because it is more closely tied to my relative weakness, and it would tell me when my body needs to train at lower power targets. In other words, I’m confident I can complete any training plan workout with my Ramp Test FTP.
So I did the Ramp Test and got an FTP of 343W (actually better than I expected). Since then I’ve been doing Sustained Power Build Mid-Volume and the workouts have been almost, dare I say it, relatively easy.
Any risk to nudging up the intensity a little on the hard days? Or should I refrain from indulging that temptation and just do the workouts as prescribed and see what happens at the next Ramp Test? Thanks!
I had the opposite problem. I was able to do VO2max workouts at Ramp Test suggested FTP but could not do sustained threshold/SS efforts (i.e. Rainbow or Needham -1). So I also dumped the Ramp Test.
But now I retested and am emphasizing sustained efforts training to get stronger in this area so that in the future my Ramp Test results should be as close to valid as possible for both types of workouts.
Exactly the same as me. I avoided them for the best part of a year because I also tested with longer tests and got a higher estimate. I too then struggled with VO2Max efforts.
As I don’t have any real plans for next year, I’ve decided to use the ramp test to see how I get on.
For SSBMV1, sweet spot felt easier than normal but I ended up getting an increase at the end of the block. I used the ramp test ftp again for SSB2 and am able to complete all of the “VO2Max” workouts so far in the plan. I have Spencer+2 next week, which is usually my nemesis!
It feels good being able to complete all the workouts and not having residual fatigue going into the next hard workout.
Risk? It’s not like your legs will fall off, but I would almost never increase the intensity and be very comfortable with reducing intensity any day.
A few percent here and there doesn’t really matter and we tend to focus on precision rather than effectiveness. The vast majority of benefit you are getting from training at all. You get more benefit from structured training. And a little bit more getting your training zones right.
Personally I would trust the RAMP results and let TR do the thinking. If you enjoy it a lot more tweaking it up occasionally, go for it. If you find your self raising the intensity all the time, or always on lower intensity rides, I would reevaluate what you’re trying to do.
I test much better on the ramp test than the traditional 20 minute FTP test. I’m not great at pacing those long efforts and never really see them in outside cycling. I’m much better at the 1 to 5 minute power above threshold but to hold threshold for a long period is a tough ordeal for me. I haven’t done a 20 minute FTP test in two years and did one the two days ago. It was ugly.
With the ramp test FTP numbers, my workouts are doable. Some of the over under workouts are really tough for me but overall I can complete them.
I think it just depends on what kind of athlete you are.
The great thing about the ramp test is that although it is by no means perfect, it does work well enough for the vast majority of people. IT might not give the absolute best FTP number for many people, but it will be good enough to be a good basis for training around.
For some people though it just doesn’t work. Just as the 8 minute test and the 20 minute test work really well for some, and really badly for others. Personally, I’m terrible at the ramp test and the numbers I get from it are miles off, so I don’t use it at all. I would rather do a full on hour long effort than a ramp test. This is, in fact, what I have been doing for most of this year, especially since Zwift released the Ventoux climb course. That takes me a little over an hour, and I know from experience that if I go all out on the climb in an even effort (which does though require having a really good idea of what your limit is before hand) then I can round up the average power a little bit to get an FTP value that works perfectly for my trainerroad training plans.
As @jasonmayo says, it depends what kind of athlete you are. I would also add though that all types of tests take a bit of practice for you to really be able to get the best out of yourself. If someone does a ramp test and it goes badly, I’d definitely argue that they should stick with the ramp test method a while longer before jumping ship - it might just be that they need to learn how to be better at the test rather than they are fundamentally unsuited to the test
I like the ramp test for exactly the reasons you previously didn’t like it! I.e. I think the number it spits out is based on an underlying assumption that you have a fairly well balanced power curve. Which means that if you’re struggling to complete certain types of workout using an FTP from a ramp test, you’ve just identified a part of your power curve which needs work.
Assumes of course that the goal is to have a well-balanced power curve, which is true in my case as I’m an all rounder who competes in a bunch of different events. I guess if you only did triathlons or longer TTs and therefore really didn’t care about your anaerobic capacity, then you’d probably be better off doing a 20 minute test.
It’s a real struggle for me to know what’s best to do. I really don’t feel I can justify lowering FTP to my ramp results when I’m completing over/ unders like “Avalanche Spire” yesterday with even the temptation to up intensity (I normally verify with Lamarck) when Chad said consider it.
And yet the ramp test would knock off at least 10%. My last VO2 max was Mills at the end of SSB2. I knocked it down between 3-5%, and then was able to complete after a first interval fail.
I really don’t know would I be better doing the ramp, using that for VO2 Max workouts, and just maintaining at the current “FTP” for the rest of the work outs and see does it catch up?
Essentially the same issue I have. So now I’m experimenting with going with my Ramp Test number knowing that I will be able to complete all my workouts and could potentially nudge up the intensity. My previous method of using Grey as my pseudo-FTP test stopped working well.
If you can do gray at 360, then your FTP is probably more like 360. If you did it at your current FTP setting, it’d probably feel like high sweet spot…because 343 is 95% of 360.
I think if you’re feeling the workouts are verging on easy, your FTP is set too low. That doesn’t mean you should go back to doing no ramp tests at all in the future, you just have to know that you probably test a bit low on ramp tests and to adjust accordingly. ex. If you get 350 on your next ramp test, your effective FTP might be more like 365.
The bigger risk is spending all this time training and selling yourself short because you’re doing it at a lower number than is ideal and you’re not pushing the desired/correct energy systems to the point of forcing adaptation.
I think 343 is probably good for V02max work, while 360 is more representative of SS and Threshold. So I think I have stopped thinking about it in terms of “this is my FTP”, but rather a tool to set training targets.
I do think about selling myself short on SS and Threshold work. I did Fang Mountain +3 yesterday and it was no problem at all (even with a really crappy sleep the night before).
So I like the idea of using my Ramp Test number to set my targets, but not to be afraid to nudge up the intensity.