FTP Ramp Test underestimated true FTP

Just started with Trainerroad yesterday. It had me do an FTP ramp test, but it significantly underestimated my FTP that I have calculated from a 20 minute segment from a recent race (206 vs. 216), and is basing my training on that lower FTP. I’ve tried ramp tests before, and for whatever reason I typically underperform in them, but is there a way to manually adjust the FTP in Trainerroad? I’m not new to cycling, so as far as I know it’s not a training issue that I continually do less well on ramp tests, I’m just good at holding up to 230W, but start to wilt on anything more than that for longer periods of time.

I would advise caution against using a race 20 min power for FTP estimation (unless it was an all out 20 min TT or 20 min steady hill climb).

If a normal road race, then power is likely to be too stochastic to give a meaningful representation. What were the NP and Ave Power for the effort?


It was a 21 minute hill climb, with an NP of 228 and an Avg. Power of 226. I guess calling it a segment is a bit inaccurate.

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I would go with 0.95 of your 20min power and adjust in the settings.

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A 20’ test protocol is not the same as a 20’ effort. Before the 20’ portion of the FTP test a 5’ all-out effort is required (and usually omitted when making this kind of assumptions).


The other problem with a race 20mins it can be heavily polluted by one off (or near one off) Anaerobic energy and you can’t actually sustain it as an FTP for an hour.

Sometimes you can also sustain a higher power when outdoors due to air cooling, momentum and motivation etc.

If the race is an hour you could use that but it might be polluted by recoveries where you are soft pedalling or ‘2nd wind’ and more Anaerobic energy kicks in. So it might not be the correct FTP for training.


Which lands in this case … just right.

But even that is flawed. Just think about how much deeper you can dig in a race compared to training.

@DrJimmy welcome to TR. tip to try the current ftp for a few workouts, if it feels to easy adjust up with the intensity setting :slight_smile:


Comparing an indoor ramp test to an outdoor 20 minute effort could not be anymore dissimilar.

First of all, most people have a discrepancy in their indoor versus outdoor power.

Second, most people can go sooooo much deeper in a race, than they every can during training. Basing your training zones off of a race effort is only setting yourself up for failure.

Third, you were on a hill for the 20 minute effort. Most people produce more power on an uphill due to greater muscle recruitment based on their position. (also, side note, you probably stood up while doing the hill climb at some point, and I believe Coach Chad has specifically stated on multiple times that you should not stand during the ramp test).

Finally, the ramp test and 20 minute test are completely different beasts. If you are more inclined towards VO2 max efforts, you may find that you are able to hit a higher number than the 20 minute test. Meanwhile, many people who are more TT style riders perform better on a 20-minute test.

As previously echoed, the most important thing is using a number that you know you can complete the intervals. If you really think the ramp test underestimated your true capabilities, then do a 20-minute test on the trainer, but even then, it still will probably be higher than your actual FTP.

If I was you, if you are going to be performing your training indoors on the trainer, stick with the ramp test. If you find the workouts are wayyyy too easy, then manually bump up your FTP.

Hope you enjoy the process!


Just go into the app and set your FTP with whatever you wish under your profile.

If you can meet your workout goals, then the number was fine. If you fail workouts, try using the ramp test number. Either way it isn’t world ending.


I appreciate all of the feedback. Just to let you know, the race I based my FTP on was inside on the same trainer that I did the ramp test on, so I would think it to be relatively accurate. I will try my higher FTP and if I start to fail workouts I will dial it back as JSTootell suggested.


I wouldn’t worry much about it. A 10 watt spread can simply be the difference between a good day and bad day. Maybe you were tired or underfed or stressed or it was just an off day.

Also, if you use adaptive training your plan will adapt based on your responses to the survey.


The answer is found in the fact that you didn’t do the 5-minute all-out effort that the 20 min test protocol requires, as a previous poster noted. It’s a mistake to train at an FTP that’s 10W too high - a much bigger mistake than training at one that is 10W too low. I would recommend following the ramp test result and training there, personally, or (preferably) perform a proper 20-minute FTP test including the 5 min effort prior.


IDK if this is pertinent, but prior to signing up here I have been doing some 1-2x/week VO2 Max workouts based on the higher FTP (3x7 intervals at 113% FTP) for about 3 weeks. They are really hard but I can always complete them and not be entirely depleted afterwards, and also have done several 3x15 sweet spot interval workouts without any difficulty. I do see your point, and without a proper 20 minute FTP test it’s difficult to judge, but I was just wondering if I was just better at steady state power than the dramatically higher than FTP efforts a ramp test demands.

Only one way to find out! Don’t let the ego get the better of you. A little too low is better than a little too high.


I have exactly this. I always get way higher numbers out of a ramp test (for example FTP 240W from ramp test, but I have to tune down workouts to an FTP of 220W), which make my workouts too hard to complete. I tend to do no ramp tests anymore.
I also know from myself I am much better at short bursts of power, than TT efforts.

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I don’t test well on the Ramp Test, typically my FTP is about 2-3% higher than the calculated figure.

Also remember that there’s cumulative fatigue to consider. I started on TR two years ago, Sweet Spot Base 1 & 2 (Low volume) were easy. Then I got into Build, again Low Volume, and it was a struggle. My FTP had risen from 241W to 256W between the tests at the start of SSB1 & SSB2 but only a Watt or two by the start of Build so it wasn’t due to a massive increase in that.

By the time I started on SSB again I could guess from the workout notes and how I felt whether my FTP was in the right ball park - given the errors in power meters, etc. if you are within a couple of percent then that’s going to be fine - and would adjust the intensity of workouts accordingly. After a couple of weeks of all the workouts getting bumped by a couple of percent I was confident enough to adjust my FTP through my profile. Threshold over-unders are really good for confirming your FTP :cold_sweat:

Don’t chase figures - your FTP is just a guideline to get the workouts in the right zones, the rest of it is just ego: 4W/kg anyone?

Enable AT in your profile; create a plan using Plan Builder and see how you get on but be honest with the post workout survey. Test, using whatever protocol you prefer but be consistent, or adjust in the way I describe above. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.


One thing that is worth adding - it’s functional threshold power, not the best power you have done in racing, where the motivation to push harder is way higher than during training. You have daily fluctuations of your FTP and it changes a little due external factors. Going with lower value makes no harm, going with higher - has many more implications.

And ability to do 3x15 SST is no sign of proper FTP as it is not even particularly hard threshold workout. Do whatever you want and what makes you comfortable but bare in mind that with proper FTP suddenly your capacity to do more work and recover is vastly improved.


Curious about this statement. Isn’t it really just a matter of wasting time? That is, training ‘too low’ will still eventually move you up the FTP ladder, but you’re just kinda wasting time getting there?

“Just go into the app and set your FTP with whatever you wish under your profile”

OOh, just set my FTP to 400 Watt so that shows up in my profile to make me look awesome, then manually adjust every workout to 75% :wink: (or lower)

Setting it slightly lower means you will finish workouts strongly, and not overreach.
You are training in a zone, so if you do 200 Watt, but the target should be 205 Watt, you are (likely) still in the right zone, so still getting the benefits of training in that zone.

Setting it slightly higer likely leads to failed workouts, which will make you slower.

Finishing workouts strong is motivating, barely finishing or failing is not.
Certainly if you are new to structured indoor training, both on volume and intensity it is better to err on the side of “too low” and be able to follow and finish a plan. You can always do a bit more if you feel good.

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