Did my first ramp test, my FTP seems too low

I’m 40M, consider myself relatively fit but more run/lift fit than cycling fit. I’ve biked less than 1k miles this year and not since October so I was expecting my FTP to be low but not this low. FWIW, my rides were usually 25-30 miles with around 1500k feet climbing. I’m new to this data, but just reading around about what are “beginner” FTPs, me at 99 seems well below even the newest of newbies. Can this be right?

I set it in ERG mode, calibrated and then did it. One thing that struck me as odd was that I was seemingly forced to maintain a really high cadence (120s) to at least get to the target power level. Is that what you’re supposed to be doing?

Also how brutal should it be before you stop? I stopped at a point where I was spinning pretty intensely but my HR only got up to around 176 whereas I think my max HR is around 192. Could that be the reason? I lasted 17.5 minutes. I could probably push a bit beyond it but would’ve been hard to hit 18.

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What trainer do you have?

Welcome to the forums and TR.


Something is wrong with your device setup.

Could be that the ramp test is defaulting to resistance mode.


Easier said than done but with ERG you are in control of the cadence; in theory you should be able to pedal away at say 85-90rpm and the trainer will ramp up the resistance relative to that.


Kickr Smart trainer, the previous version

Regarding this statement… did you calibrate the trainer during the ramp test while TR was controlling the trainer in ERG mode?

If so, that may have messed up the calibration. I would suggest recalibrating via the wahoo app AFTER warming up the trainer THEN redo the ramp test and see how you make out.

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Just a quick comment on ramp tests and ERG mode that I found out when I did my first one. If you are new to ERG, there is a tendency for ones cadence to continue to go up as the test goes on. This happened on my first ramp test, and was a basic misunderstanding of the ERG functionality. Due to this I ended the ramp test and my FTP seemed unusually low. I think this was because I generate much more sustainable power at a lower cadence than at 120 which I struggle to maintain. I had to do the ramp test a couple of times to better understand how to pace it - which of course was as simple as picking the cadence and holding it throughout as opposed to responding to what I thought the trainer was doing. What I learnt was that executing a ramp test takes practice, and when done right the final minute should be excruciating :wink:


It does not really matter if your FTP is too low with adaptive training you’ll quickly be on the right level of workouts if you answer the survey honestly

Yeah but could be time/workouts wasted.

I think AT will have a tolerance and if he hits 10 on every PL (which could be time wasted) it won’t automatically update his FTP.

Better to get FTP very close then let AT take care of it.

To my understanding anyway. :+1:t2:


Definitely sounds like a problem with your setup. I use a wheel on trainer and have found that if I’m in the wrong gear (too low), I need a high cadence for my trainer to provide adequate resistance in erg mode. I haven’t used a kickr, but am wondering whether gearing is the root of your problem. Is it possible for you to shift up?

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There has to be a problem with your setup.

As for execution, you should probably hit or exceed your max HR by the end of it. Like, you should be falling off the bike. And not feeling well.

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It’s not a problem with the trainer. OP was pushing too hard for the actual wattage so ERG mode kept adjusting til they ended up at a super fast cadence. Just spin easy at first at your preferred cadence and it will adjust so you hit the wattage there. This sounds like an opposite case of the ‘death spiral’. Once, I completed my last step at like 40rpm bc I ended up in a death spiral


Yup, sounds like he may not be familiar with ERG and the need to just hold cadence while ignoring power. Chasing watts leads to these runaway cadences from many cases that I’ve seen.


It would help to show the power profile of the workout.
How can you do a TR ramp test for 17-18 min and end up at 99 W FTP?

Even if he was chasing watts, ending up at too high cadence, the trainer would have been able to provide more than 125 W of resistance in that amount of time?

thanks for the tip, I re-did the test and it was better this time in terms of being able to find the right cadence and staying there (and having a higher ftp, still low but this time it was 154). Although this time, the resistance built up so slowly, is that normal? I thought the test would be 20 minutes, with resistance increasing exponentially as you get near that but here it was just gradual at the same interval until I couldn’t go any longer, which for me happened at around 32 minutes. My legs gave out well before my lungs, was not near my max HR rate but legs were burning up pretty bad. It was weird not seeing my HR shoot up (like when I rapidly increase running intensity) at the later intervals when I was going pretty hard. I do wear a Hrm. At the point I stopped my cadence was still the same - not sure if that’s normal either.

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It’s what I would expect if it thinks you have a much lower ftp than you do - which it did.

Glad you got it sorted. There’s no rush and I’m sure you’ll see sizeable gains if you stay consistent for the next few months :+1:

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It’s a linear ramp, not exponential (each step is the same number of watts, not percentage increase), so yeah, that’s what you’d expect. HR shouldn’t shoot up either (or at least mine doesn’t), just inexorably increase until you can’t go any more. And with ERG mode cadence can be constant, though I find sometimes mine drops before I fail completely.

just to put some context to your “result”, if you go outdoors and ride steady for, say, 2 hours, what is a typical average speed. i would expect your 154 watts threshold will translate to about 13mph average. if you reply with 18mph, i would throw your result in the bin, and sort your trainer equipment out.

It sounds like the second test started with the assumption that your FTP was 99, so it took a really long time to build up to the higher watts. As mentioned previously, it will bump up a bit every minute. If your FTP is 150 and you start with the assumption that it’s 140, it’s going to be a much shorter test. I hate to say this, but I would do it again, starting with the 154 FTP, and focus on a steady cadence for the first 90% of the ride (until you start to really struggle and do whatever it takes to keep spinning). There’s a good chance your FTP would be considerably higher if you failed at the 22nd minute than at the 35th minute.


If it was relatively flat, I’d say average speed would be around 16-17. With my typical rides of 25-30 miles with about 1500-1700 feet climbing, my avg speed would be around 15-15.5. But I haven’t ridden in a few months so I’d expect it to be a bit lower now if I went out and rode, but probably well above 13 I would think. So even if the watts threshold is a bit low, will the trainer just adjust accordingly for me?