Disappointing Ramp Test - Retest, stick with it, manually adjust, or...?

I started training with power this summer and started using TR in August. My first ramp test yielded a 218 and I last tested in early November and got a 231. I’ve been training the whole time, except missing the first week of December, and I did do some jumped around, finishing tris in August, then doing some CX training, then SSB.

I’m starting the Olympic Triathlon mid-volume plan this week and just tested again tonight, and got a 212, which is disappointing. I intend on sticking to the standard schedule but had some problems with my trainer so couldn’t do the test Tuesday. Tuesday I still did ride for 1 hour in the morning then lifted in the evening, yesterday I ran in the evening, so my legs were a bit fatigued for tonight’s test. Also, all previous tests were done sitting up, but tonight’s was done in the aero position.

So, question 1: Could the combination of testing in aero vs. sitting, and having two days of training in my legs account for the drop in this test? I’ve been able to hold power okay during workouts in aero, so wasn’t expecting a huge difference, though I know the ramp test is a different animal. I wasn’t expecting to see a big gain over my last test, but an 8% drop seems excessive and not in line with where I feel fitness wise.

And question 2: How should I approach retesting or adjusting? Just stick with the test results and manually bump up if the next workouts are too easy? Or, retest next Tuesday after the off day? (try 8-min or 20-min test instead of ramp?)

Thanks in advance, I appreciate any advice! Also, I read other threads about this before posting, but started going down rabbit holes of SSB lowering FTP, and whether the ramp test or 8-minute test were better for different goals, so still opted to post this. Thanks

testing in aero will absolutely drop your ftp especially if you haven’t been training that much in the position. vo2 max, which the ramp test really needs, will likely suffer in the aero position. I would leave your old ftp and see if you can do the workouts in the aero position, especially if you have some z2 work lined up. The more you train in the aero position the closer in line your ftp’s will get. If the workouts are too hard, sweet spot feels like threshold, and threshold is unmanageable, then drop your ftp down.

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I think there’s a few basic fundamentals that you should address first.

  1. There’s a difference between disappointing and incorrect. Tests are there as our most accurate way of measuring things. If we don’t trust them, then why are we doing them? They might not always give you a number you like, but if you’re putting your faith in a training system then use that number going forward and see how you feel after a couple of weeks training at that power. Better to nail all your workouts at a slightly lower FTP than kill yourself and set yourself up for longer term failure with an FTP that’s too high.

  2. Test like you would train. Use the same position, the same power meter, the same fuelling, the same environment etc etc. You get the idea. Testing in aero position and doing workouts on the tops is introducing mostly unnecessary variability. That’s not to say you shouldn’t train in different positions, but you should be open minded to the fact that your power output may change.

  3. Consistency. I know I’m hammering this home, but keep things the same. Why change to the 8 or 20 min test just because the ramp test didnt produce the number you wanted? Any of these test protocols is fine, but use the same one every time. If you switch between different protocols until you get the result you want then you’re only cheating yourself.


Need more :+1: for this post. Great points that must not be overlooked.

:1st_place_medal: @onemanpeloton


I recently started doing my non-VO2 workouts in an aero position. It dropped about 11% off my FTP. Similar to what you saw. Over the course of several weeks most of that came back.

The primary reason your last FTP test was materially lower than your November test is most likely the aero position.

Should you re-test? Well, for me it would come down to the conditions of competition. If you’re going to be competing in an aero position at a threshold or sub-threshold intensity you should stick with your ‘aero ftp’ during threshold and sub-threshold workouts.

For VO2 max workouts…well, I question the utility of maintaining an aero position during VO2max work. Just get into VO2max and collect minutes in that physiologic state regardless of position. So it probably doesn’t matter if you hold a regular seated position and just scale it up to your November FTP.

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Good points and I appreciate the frank feedback. I’m certainly not wanting to cheat the system, my questions are coming from still being relatively new to this and trying to understand the unexpected / disappointing result since I don’t feel, fitness wise, like I’ve regressed. Thanks!

I absolutely understand. This forum is full of concerns exactly the same as yours. This forum is a wealth of information so we’ll steer you right. I sympathise with you for the disappointing result, it can be very frustrating. But if you don’t get the result you want, then there a huge number of factors to consider/change/improve on and they should be where your focus is directed rather than changing the test protocol that you use.


Thanks to everyone for the responses. I’ll stick with the new FTP for a bit, keep training in aero, and see how it goes. I read some other discussions where people saw quite different results between the ramp and 8 minute tests, and were advocating for the 8 min test based on what you were training for, which is why I asked about trying a different test. That, and natural curiosity makes me wonder if there would be a difference. I understand the importance of consistency so won’t make any changes unless training proves too easy with the new FTP. Thanks again.

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nailed it all with this response; good luck and the watts will be back, even stronger!!!

Good luck!


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