I am doing an FTP test this week. First time in several months.
I have always done the 20min FTP test but after speaking with some people I am going to give the ramp test a go.
My question is, as it’s my first test in a while, do I keep with my old FTP or bring it down to roughly to what I think it is now?
If that makes sense?
No need, the test starts pretty low at around 50% of your current FTP so unless there’s a big difference between last tested and what you think it is you should be OK.
in case this is not obvious, the result may be different from a 20 minute test. What I think people need to remember that a test is just that a “test” Think of it like a spelling test, the more you do the better you get at spelling tests (or any test for that matter) so the first time out with a new test you may not get everything just right… the more you do it the better you will get a the protocol and the more consistent your results will be with your improvement. So just thought I would throw this into the mix, to think about why you change protocols.
Very much Ron.
I have read and been told that the ramp test is a little more accurate. I may bring it down a little then.
I dont want to burn out that’s all. I suppose even if I complete the test and I am not close to the finish power I have a starting point for my plan than anyway.
I think people get too caught up in “accuracy”. There is no accurate FTP tests, they are all estimates. The key is finding one that can work for you and then stick to it. The thing is that you want to measure change in the estimate. If the estimate is a good one for your physiology, then it should give you the ability to set your workload appropriately and also as time goes on show you can assess your fitness changes (and NOT your test taking skill improvement). So find the test you like and then go with it don’t cherry pick, FTP is a personal thing that helps you understand the change in your fitness and to hopefully set the workload in training so you find workout hard but doable (ie the last part of a workout should feel hard but if you use will power you can do it) and so that as time goes on you can measure the improvement.
That makes sense. Thanks Ron.
Probably it doesn’t matter so choose whichever. If the difference is 10% or less…pfft…flip a coin.
One thing I would add is determine your average riding outside gear ratio between chainrings and cogs that you use most often. Assuming you are testing/training in ERG mode, use that ratio and try to match it on your indoor setup for the ramp test and training in general. Also, if your focus is MTB/Gravel, use the smaller chainring. If you are more of Roadie, use the larger chain ring.
You can read more why at this thread: Big vs Small Chainring - Same Power (ERG Mode Gearing)
Basically, with ERG mode, you can really skew your results if your gearing is inconsistent with what you would do outside due to the inertia effect of big vs small ring. When I first started TR, I changed to small cog/big ring on my 2nd rampt test and got a huge unrealistic bump in FTP result. When I went back to a ratio that matched MTB better, I started failing workouts left and right. Changed back to small cog/big ring from the test and I could finish workouts again, but first MTB race I lost all my punch up climbs and low cadence/low gear ratio fitness. I could ride forever and noticed considerable gains on road bike, but I wanted to improve for MTB races. Following my advice above in first paragraph has really been a game changer for me. I got back/improving my punch up climbs and low cadence/low gear ratio fitness for MTB races now.
Bottom line - align with your cycling focus and match the ramp test/ gear ratio. The test is just an assessment to make the training work you hard enough, but not too hard to fail workouts. I know for a fact I can switch to small cog/big ring right now and get an instant 20+ bump in a FTP test. But the problem is that I will never get even close to that ratio in MTB races, and the lower cadence needed in MTB is much harder to keep going when you don’t have as much inertia help from the bigger chainring. So if I train at that ratio, I wont see the desired gains for MTB.
Hope that helps - Just don’t want you to make the same mistake I did.
That’s a good point on gearing.
Regardless of which gearing you choose, using the same selection for testing and training is probably a good (if not the best?) idea.
If I’ve had a big lay off then I’ll drop my FTP before the test to where I think I may be. If you don’t then your rate of increase per step is going to be higher than ideal and you will fail well before the 19 ish minute mark. It will also make that final step prior to failure feel even bigger
Well I did the test without lowering it and i wasnt far off my original FTP.
Now to get training