FTP Over estimated

Hi Donal

Which method did you use? estimated FTP from normal rides/races; ramp test and 20min test and 2x8min tests will all give slightly different results in most people; but as you say one critical point is to find an estimate which is not too high so you blow up in training, or too low that the stimulus is not sufficient for improvement. As a temporary measure why not take your FTP down 5% manually, and then retest using a different method? Remember FTP test is an estimate of actual FTP which is itself a moving target… bw AG

Typically you gain back fitness after a break a lot faster than you can build it from scratch.

Just wondering which workouts are you having trouble with? Sweet spot, threshold, VO2Max? This might suggest that one specific zone is a little undertrained.



Ive been sticking with the ramp test for consistency, and making sure everything is like for like when testing. I wasn’t too surprised at the bigger than normal jumps.

You are correct in that i expected it considering my cycling history (amateur of course). The session in particular i struggled with was a VO2max workout. 9x2.5mins @120%.

I managed the 1st one but each after that i backed off to 90% of the interval power and gave up after 4.

Hi A,

I do the ramp test every time for consistency and to be honest because its less stressful. I did back off the VO2 intervals by 5% after the 1st one but struggled to hold that after a few more.

It could just have been a bad day.

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Ah ok, so you have trouble with an interval series, in which case I think its reasonable to start 5% or 10% lower when coming back to intervals, because you can alway let the number of intervals be the key difficulty variable rather than the intensity of interval one.

Try a threshold workout like Lamarck to check your FTP - for some people V02 is always tough after a bump (myself very much included).

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Thanks appreciate the reply. Usually at the start of a block following a new FTP its a bit tougher, so rather than fail on the workout ill back it off until hopefully i make the adaption in a couple of weeks.
I tend to need more recovery between key sessions anyway in my mid 50s.

That sounds sensible, ill work around 5-10% reduction on intervals that are threshold or above and hopefully adapt in a few weeks.

Yeah, I think that as the length of VO2Max intervals gets progressively longer through a training block, most people find it tough when it gets to 2.5 minutes.

You could try substituting out one of the sweet sport workouts during the week for an additional VO2Max workout with slightly shorter but doable intervals. I find a nice bounce in my VO2Max capacity if I can get in 3 VO2Max workouts over a 2 week period, without crushing myself in high intensity work.

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Which plan are you following right now?

If you had a 5 month break you should go back to Base1. It sounds like you’re in base2 now since you said this is the second test?

I’d agree, you need to lower your targets for a little while. This just might be a correct FTP, you just have been off too long and your anaerobic system has softened up. Luckily that comes back more quickly than the aerobic system.

I had a similar experience. For me possible explanation was that prior to ftp overtesting I did Short Power Build LV which is quite intense and possibly set me up for overtesting.

I ended up not doing ramp tests anymore. I now use under/over workouts like palisade to calibrate my ftp. I set it such that the unders are just low enough to feel slight recovery to do the overs, but by the last interval if I am not near complete exhaustion then i know my ftp is set too low.

That said, I am planning my first Ramp Test on Monday since about a year simply to check whether my approach/assumptions are still valid.

Lot of these threads lately, easy solution is to not do the ramp test and do a proper one. Ramp test is convenient, but wildly inaccurate for many.

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I get the opposite with ramp tests. The FTP is so low I have to increased it session by session it is in. I think some of us just don’t fit well with ramp testing. I stick to 20 minute tests, but they are so much more emotionally taxing.

The only alternative is to see what you’ve put out in real life, but 20 minute sections of uninterrupted uphill/flat are pretty rare near here. Also I’d have concerns about a difference between outdoor FTP & indoor, although my experience is that by a 20 minutes duration the difference is narrowing.

Do the Kolie Moore’s test. I am always surprised how much less taxed I am after these tests than after ramp test. not to mention 20 minutes test when you have to ride above FTP. And it is great workout on its own. It looks demanding but if you are more inclined in longer efforts (what your ramp test suggests) this should be perfect.

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Thanks Jarrson. Just searched for it and found 4 bits:

  1. A baseline

  2. progression 1

  3. progression 2

  4. progression 3

I guess you just start with baseline and then progress to 3, which is where you stay from then on?

Baseline is quite short, but good to test the idea. The progression 1 is great, because it is closer to usual TTE (40-50 minutes) and you can finish it earlier. My only tip is - do this in resistance/level mode. It makes massive difference and you can easily regulate your excersion.

Maybe try the 20 minute test, and see if you get a different result. Ive got a ramp test scheduled for Tuesday, but will change to the 20 minute version. Like you Ive struggled on the aerobic capacity work ,if the intervals are long eg 3-6 minutes . But Im a diesel ,with no sprint or change of pace, get dropped in road races. So probably just not yet able to maintain multiple efforts at AC. It can be a bit demoralising to not be able to complete the workout. If its just a one off (because youre tired etc) then probably worth persisting, but if it`s on several days, then adjusting the FTP may be the best bet, and you will have the satisfaction of completion

When helping anyone to find the appropriate ftp test protocol I firstly look at the athlete power duration curve and I benchmark it vs Coggan tables (except for 1 minute power that I think is not correct).

If the athlete is clearly biased to the near end, I would never ever suggest anything like a 2x8 minutes test but always something like a 20 minutes with a good 5 minutes effort slightly anaerobic during the warm up.

If we are talking ramp test, the suggestion would be to multiply the best minute power not by 0.75 but by 0.71 to 0.73 as a starting point and then see how sustainable are the % of FTP based workouts and adjust again.

If the athlete is stronger on the longer side of the curve, then I think the typical testing protocols and metrics apply much better.

So far it has worked. Before I had a lot of trouble with cases of overestimated FTPs myself included.

The figures were always great for the ego until the first 2x20 workout showed up in the training program.

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Thanks for your interest and taking the time to reply
I appreciate there are many variables to the result of an FTP, I have tended to stick with the ramp test for the past couple of years, simply because its less stressful and generally has been giving me ball park numbers i can work with on TR plans. I always try to keep as close as possible to the same protocol to eliminate as many variables as possible when performing the test, same bike, PM , time of day, relatively rested etc. Sometimes i do notice one variable at least for me can be unpredictable and that is, as much as you have prepared you can simply have a bad day. I originally commented on this forum about an over estimated FTP test because i couldn’t ,hold even 90% of the prescribed VO2 max intervals power, yet a week later i could 100% of the first few dropping to about 95/97% of the last few. Now I’m actually thinking it was not overestimated or at least not by very much. I just thought the last jump was significant, but judging by my history and past maybe it was realistic. I have raced masters for about 10 years, pretty much gave up cycling last August because i was simply getting sick of it but i had an FTP of about 315 last summer. Started doing a little indoor training in January this year, did 4 ramp tests between then and May, their progression were 232, 258, 263 and finally 292w FTP. Im thinking the best thing to do it reduce the first week after a test by 5% and gradually bring it back to 100% as you adapt to the jump.

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:slight_smile: That is exactly what I do. That and using the less challenging workout variants in the beginning of a new “emproved FTP cycle”.

This pretty much is what I have been learning and probably it is a bunch of stupid statements but…

Something we should never forget is that FTP is defined as MLSS - Maximum Lactate Steady State - there is nothing saying it should be 60m Power or even near. I think we can assume that some athletes phisiology just does not allows for a MLSS longer enough to sustain TR type long intervals. Sustainability of the MLSS is for sure trainable but maybe for some it will never be enough.

I hope I will am not saying nothing obscene here in this Forum but I might feel closer to Sufferfest profiling that looks at some sort of power duration multiple point test (INSYD does the same by the way).

I would never prescribe the same power levels for a VO2Max workout (based for instance in 1 to 3 minutes efforts) to an athlete with a 1500w PMax and a guy with 800w PMax even if they have the same multiple tested lab based FTP, as well as same weight, age, gender, etc…
What we know is that TrainerRoad would target the same power outputs for both.

However, one should not purely freak out if the power target compliance looks impossible.
There are tools to calibrate the efforts it in the app without sacrifising at all the purpose of the work and, with time, we gather the necessary self knowledge to adjust our training according to our personal characteristics.

FTP is indeed the best standard for training for an endurance sport but it might be an oversimplification for a lot of people who are not even outliers.

The more serious the cyclist becomes about her/his performance, the less universal the FTP reference will be.