Failed FTP test

Another failed 20min test. Almost every time I want to complete a 20min test indoor, I fail. Wanted to do this on zwift during a Bologna TT. But had too little warm-up (10min).
First 10min I could average 270w (goal in mind was 270-275). But then legs complete blew up so I bailed out and thought that with this ‘warm-up’, I would do another attempt one hour later.
That failed double. I took a more reserved start, first part 260w but then again, legs completely empty. HR got lower but could not deliver the watts anymore (quads full). Averaged 250w for 20min.

3 months ago I could do 30min at 268W. Ok, my A-event is passed, and I did go on holiday for 10 days but did some riding last 14 days and I did not feel that bad. Is this just a bad day? Or how do I have to mentally get over with this? Maybe just test outdoors again (indoor it is always a struggle).

Just do threshold workouts and see how the watts feel. Try something easy like 4-5x10 and see how you feel with higher and lower FTP. As the name suggest it’s functional threshold power.

FTP can fluctuate and especially if you werent riding for 10 days you have lost blood volume and some sharpness so the small loss seems very plausable, especially with 20min test.


This was indoors. Outdoors my power readings are 10-15w higher, so that is why I test sometimes indoors our outdoors. But outdoors I test more like Kolie Moore’s 40min tests.
Maybe there is a reason for my failed test. If I just continued in my first attempt my 20min would be higher then 250W. But in March for example, I did a 14 day zwift grand tour of daily racing. on day 14 I did a TT there for 252w average for 1h13m. Bizarre…
Today I take a rest day, tomorrow I will do a ramp test and maybe saturday an ftp test again based on this ramp test…

But I most say; I train for long events, so focus on endurance, tempo and I almost never do treshold or vo2max work. Maybe that is why I struggle indoor at this power. (But I do zwift racing so it is not that I don’t have intensity).

Thx! I will follow your advice…

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Hard to beat a ride up Alpe du Zwift for doing a long-form FTP test.

Start the climb at sweetspot. Ramp up over the next 5 minutes to whatever feels hold-able and keep going until you expire or reach the summit arch…

Of course, this assumes your combination of power and TTE gives you enough time to reach the top!


What does your detected FTP say?

I use that as a guide for pacing.


Yes! :wink: Was great fun, and certainly will do the coming tour’s again. Maybe I also lost fitness there ;-).
Yeah, also did all the races, and was competing for podium in BON so no easy rides. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

3th place. Podium ;-). On the long climbs I was strongest but they had more punch on thé shorter climbs and could hang on Longer with higher level riders. It was hard but one of the coolest things I ever did.
Ow. CAP. That is another level. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

Doping? Really?

Get some training in and give it a go in another week or two. I had an unbelievably low ftp result a few years back and repeated the test a week later. Confirmed my dismal FTP result at the time. :slight_smile:

You had unrealistic expectations, IMO….you were at 268 3 months ago, passed your A event, went on holiday for 10 days and then road intermittently for 2 weeks. Hitting 270-275 was just not in the cards.


Ditto. When hope, aspirations & optimism meet reality… it can be ugly sometimes :stuck_out_tongue:



Yes. That seems to be the conclusion. ;-). Reality check.
Good news is that I now have some motivation to build again ;-).


whatever the outcome of an ftp-test is, it is never a fail. It represents your current ability. A test does not define you


He was boosting his numbers.

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Its not a fail, you learned that 260W and 270W for 20-minutes is not sustainable right now. If you have good heart rate zones, go out and start riding endurance and throw in some tempo and accelerations. In about a month (2x your 14 days ‘off’) you may be right back where you left off 3 months ago.


Same here! I never bonded with the 20 minute test. I always went out too hard and then blew up too soon. I’ll only do a Kolie Moore style test now. I’d rather do 40 minutes that way than 20 the hard way!


My last 5+ minutes are usually at 105-110% or so.

I like with the longer format test that you can feel your way through it. It’s such a long test that you can back off by 10 watts for a minute or two and take a breather if you are right on the edge. I often find that 15-20 minutes into the test, I’m pushing more watts than I could in the beginning.

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Thx for all the good advice. :wink:
Maybe I do another test later this week but just a 20min starting at 250w and see what I have in the tank after 10mins…Kind of a reversed/reserved test. I see it as a treshold workout.

Or I do one outside, there I can push harder and my legs do not explode that fast. Altough I ride a lot on zwift, I always struggle holding wattages above FTP or CP. But I can ride at sweetspot like forever :wink:

If you struggle to ride above ftp, there might also just be a lot of fatigue at play

The Coggan 20 min protocol is:

  1. 20 minutes easy warm up
  2. 3 x 1-minute wind ups with a minute rest between (100 RPM pedal cadence)
  3. 5 minutes easy
  4. 5 minutes all out (hard at first, but not so hard that you can’t complete the effort)
  5. 10 minutes easy
  6. 20-minute time trial effort (this is the test - like the previous 5-minute all out effort, keep in control, hard but steady, you don’t want to over cook it and die at the end)
  7. 10 to 15 minute cool down

I’ve seen slight variations of that in various systems over the years.

I’ve never heard of an FTP test where you just jump in and do 20 minutes and that’s it.