Doing all 3 FTP tests to get a ‘true average’

Wondering if, in search for increased accuracy, one should do all 3 FTP tests close to each other and then take an average of the results
Ie Ramp Test, 8 min and 20 min

Given all three are meant to be equally valid, it would be illuminating to do and see if there were any obvious differences
Someone who has a higher number via the 20 min test than the RAMP one would be minded to work on Vo2
At the same time, I often find sweet spot and threshold work at my FTP spot on. But Vo2 work at FTP very hard

My gut is to use the 20min FTP for those sorts of intervals
And the (lower) FTP number for the ramp test for suprathreshold and Vo2 work

And hopefully those FTP numbers converge over time

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Does any of them even matter? If you can barely complete the hardest workouts with a given FTP (workout intensity scaling), you’re good. It doesn’t matter what that number is or where it’s derived from.

Just pick a number, wherever it comes from and whatever it is, and start training. If you consequently fail the hardest workouts, the number you picked is too high, and if you easily manage 3 minute intervals at 120% and the harder over-under intervals, the number is too low.

I don’t understand the obsession with FTP and testing…


No - it’s not an obsession with testing
But knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a rider is surely useful
Ie very punchy races, vs ones with 8 min climbs vs long 20-60 min climbs

I think knowing your variances is the opposite of being obsessed with testing - too many people find the one test that gives them their highest number and religiously hold onto that protocol


There was a comment that may be relevant on the last Zwift Cycling podcast where Kev Poulton (who trains Katusha and preciously May Haymen) said that he does the ramp test then verifies it in the same session with 8 min all out effort. He said the ramp test gives you a range (72-78% of max 1min from memory) then 90% of the 8 min test comfirms it.

If you’re thinking about it this much then just do the 60 minute test and be done with it. What you can then do is when fresh, do the ramp test and see how it corresponds. For me the ramp test corresponds nicely but that could also be because I’ve done a lot of top end work leading into it. It’s difficult to know just what systems are helping you get that number. You may not even care. For me, from now on I will always do a 60 minute test. I’ll know if factors are affecting my performance and not giving me a number I’d expect, it’s more of a way of clarifying what I already know.

The 60 minute test is not as grim as it sounds. Seiler suggested (it also matched my own) that if you are at (or below) 90% of HRM at 20 minutes you should be able to complete the 60 minutes. If you are way over then obviously it might be worth taking a recovery then going another 20 minutes to complete a good quality threshold session.

Remember, doing those 3 tests could yield different results for many other reasons (motivation, stress, fatigue, nutrition).

Having said all that, if you’ve been doing some structure for a while or using a powermeter for sometime you will know what you can for a 20 minute or 1 hour test within about 5 watts (10 max) in my experience. This knowledge will come from the workouts you are doing. You might get a nice surprise if you have increased your duration or intensity (or both) between the time of your last test.


I may have given the impression I care too much !
Honestly not the case, just a quiet Friday and trying to promote a bit of debate
My main events are always in the summer and involve climbing in the Dolomites and Alps
I have used a SRM outside for 12 years now; so I know what it should feel like
Give me an hour of pain up Alpe D’Huez over a Vo2 interval all day long !


Isn’t this similar to the sufferfest test?

They do 1 minute, 5 minutes and 20 minutes in 1 test I think according to the test Dan took on the GCR video.

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Maybe. But it seems the OP was originally indicating he wanted to run multiple test in effort to validate or find the most accurate FTP.

Later comments seem to move in the direction the SUF test is meant to address via profile testing. So really 2 different possibilities.

I have to diasgree with this. Your FTP is the power you can sustain for around 40 - 70 minutes and shouldn’t be altered based upon perceived effort of VO2 intervals. For some people 2+ mins at 120% of their FTP, repeated through a workout is just not doable if all they have been working on is long steady efforts. If they adjust their FTP based on this then they won’t be training in the correct zones below and just above their FTP. It is far better to keep your FTP, if it’s fairly accurate, and adjust the VO2 intervals down from 120% down to 115%.


Sure, it’s not an exact science. That’s my point. Adjust things around so that workouts actually target the intended physiological areas. For some, who are “balanced” and synchronized with TR’s intentions, adjusting FTP only would be fine. Others would need to adjust VO2max intensity for example. And for those who are not “balanced” and want to keep things simple, adjust FTP only but according to your weakest area - it’s better to have too low intensity than too high.


Do it! The reality is, he FTP test is just to approximate your ability to direct your training zones. You’ll be within a given range with all three and that range will be within a tolerance that will drive your workout intensity.

IMO, you’re best off doing the ramp and then 1 hr @ 95% of that number to confirm your actual ability to hold that power and feel like you’ve got something left at the end. (Doing 100% will just fatigue you too much). That should give you an indication of your true one hour power and give you a great workout/perceived effort reality check.

I like the idea of comparing results from a ramp vs long test, to better understand your own power profile. I think the 8 minute test falls right in-between, you could certainly do all three, but I think the ramp test nicely covers the short effort, and the longer tests would be a good point to compare to.

We all have a somewhat different ability to hold X percentage of our VO2max for threshold efforts. So a rider with a TT profile may end up at 90% at threshold, where a sprinter may be closer to 80. That simply means that the rider with a TT profile may be able to achieve the same stress on their VO2max training at a lower intensity than someone with a sprint profile. Additionally, the sprinters will tend to have a much higher anaerobic capacity. That’ll also make it easier to work above threshold, because there’s simply more gas in the anaerobic tank than the TT guy has.

So as it relates to understanding your ability to hold efforts at 120%, perhaps the best test is to simply do a FTP test, any test. And then hold 120% for as long as you can for a followup assessment. Especially since you find threshold work to have approximately the right RPE as it is currently. If you max out at one interval max of 3.5 minutes, that’d mean different things than if you could hold it for 5, for example.

Indeed; and if you do this enough you know what feels right and what does not. It always amazes me, when I am really fit and in tune with my body, that I can be on a road and guess my wattage and I am within 5 watts of it

This is going to totally derail the thread, but WKO4 has TTE (time to exhaustion)
The point being FTP is the steady state you can sustain between 40-70 minutes
And TTE gives you the max duration you can hold that…

So know you have 2 variables; FTP and TTE

So you could have 2 athletes both who weigh 70 kg, One is 4w/kg, and one is 4.4w (ie 10% more)
But if I understand this right; if the first chap has a TTE of 60min, and the second guy is 45min, then the first guy (with the lower power, and the lower w/kg) wins up a 60 min climb

But no one ever asks what your TTE is! I guess thats not sexy enough !


FTP for cyclists is like 3 rep max bench for gym rats :rofl:


It absolutely is; with the added fun that everyone uses slightly diffferent weights




Really seems like you want to know more what your power profile is rather than confirming FTP. I can’t think of a good reason to test three times in close succession. You’d basically lose a week, or at least two hard training days, to testing periodically until you achieved whatever goal you were trying to achieve. As someone else mentioned, you won’t possibly be able to hold all of your variables consistent enough for the test result comparison to be truly meaningful in the way you want it to be.

If what you really want to know is strengths and weaknesses, then search workouts for HA AC for the Hunter Allen (Dr.) Andrew Coggan power profile. I think you can probably derive strengths and weaknesses well enough simply with a single periodic FTP test and garnering results from workouts. I don’t need a power profile test to tell me I’m pretty good for long Sustained efforts, not as good at efforts just above threshold, and decent at VO2max efforts, while not being able to sprint worth a damn.

Unless you’ve got a really good reason (few do), there’s no reason to test more frequently than we already do in TR plans. Frankly I think we test too much, but since it’s usually a ramp test, it’s not that stressful. As you can see on this forum, test results drive people batty!


Can’t believe you all fell for this click-bate thread just to spice up everyone’s’ Friday morning at work :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:.

The best approach is to do each TrainerRoad’s FTP tests on consecutive days, follow that up with Sufferfest’s 4DP, then the Zwift Ramp test. Of course replicate those efforts with the 8 min, 20 min and 60 min FTP tests outside and multiply those results by 1.02 fatigue factor (FF) and then extrapolate the offset to then get your “true average”. Once you have your FTP true average ensure you repeat that process weekly in case your FTP has increased or if you tested when you had an off/down week.


The true average is you and 60 min on a road bike. I’d go tackle that before different FTP tests that are all average calculations in their own ways and require their own pacing skills.