FTP / Ramp test

Hello,

I started my indoor biking again after a 5 year pause :-/ …
At that time my FTP was around 230. To get started I took the “Ramp test” - which indicated I should be at 160 watts FTP (yes I know - VERY poor health state :wink: ).
I set up a training plan, and set the FTP accordingly.
Now, I suspect that my FTP will climb rather quickly in the beginning, and my next Ramp test will be in a month.
So - here is the question :wink: :

I ended the Ramp test at 220 Watts (before bailing out). My next ramp test is based on the 160 FTP set, which has the ramp test ending at around 220 or 230 watts. Now, I reckon I should be able to manage the ramp test without stopping before the end, thus getting an unclear picture of the “real” FTP.
So, would it be better for me to set my FTP to - let’s say 210 before the Ramp test? This will set a higher end FTP on the test that I can handle, and maybe then give me a more realistic FTP suggestion?

Sorry if it’s a bit unclear what I mean - don’t hesitate to ask :wink:

Thanks for your time,
Martin

The ramp test will keep ramping indefinitely if you keep pedaling.

Whether the ramp test is a good test is a different question, but it won’t fail you in that regard!

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Hi Alex,

Perfect! I had misunderstood how it worked then.

I know there are better tests, but this is what the suggested plan (that TrainerRoad built for me) set.

/Martin

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If you know a better test that gives you a more accurate picture of where you are at, why wouldn’t you use that instead? I’ve found the ramp test to be hopeless for assessing my FTP.

Having done 3 ramp tests, 2 8-min (2x) tests, and a TTE test I feel much more confident going into a training block after completing a TTE test–It removes any ounce of doubt as to what my true FTP is. Every time I do a ramp test I have had to manually adjust (up or down) my FTP heading into the subsequent block of workouts.

FWIW, the TTE test I took didn’t create any stress that people often have with a 8 min or 20 min FTP test. It does require some pacing, but the workout helps you do that by setting wattage goals. Just follow them and make adjustments if you feel stronger.

@ATCO here is the test protocol I used: https://www.trainerroad.com/cycling/workouts/600374

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How so?

Link isn’t accessible

Apologies. You need to join @alexgold123’s team and locate it within the workout library.

Thanks. Got that now. So how do you ride this and then determine an FTP?

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how does that not create even more stress? That looks brutal

Here’s the article that informed/inspired the workout/test:

Discussion of the above:

The short answer is ride - hitting the target - until you can’t ride any longer, then go into the ride and select from the start of the final interval until the point you stopped. Average power for the interval (assuming it’s long enough) will be a close enough answer for an FTP value.

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It’s not brutal. If your FTP is 250w, you should be able to ride at 250w for at least 30-70 min. If you can’t then your FTP isn’t 250w–it’s lower. The beauty of this test is that it never forces you to ride above your FTP, you ride at whatever wattage you think you can hold for the longest period of time.

After structured training we all have an idea of what our FTP is. Coming into this test I reckoned mine was around 290w. Therefore, I broke the test down into two 20-min increments. My goal was to ride the first 20 min with a normalized power of 290w or at what I suspected my FTP was. I aimed to ride the second 20-min block at wattages above 290w (generally hovering around 300-305w) and keep raising the power based on how I was feeling.

It’s truly not a brutal test at all. The worst part of the test is the total duration, but you are never going as deep as you do in the Ramp Test or the 8 and 20-min FTP tests. In some respects I think the Ramp Test is far more painful.

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Interesting, I will have to give this a try next test I take

How do you use the results to get your FTP? Is it just the power you ended up averaging for the hour?

Once you finish the 20 min warm up you do a 10-min interval at 95% of FTP. Sweet Spot. Then you do 20 min @ 102% of FTP (102% because we want to try to ride a bit above FTP so we are making some gains) and then another 20 min that gradually increases wattage over the duration. It’s like a 1% increase every 2-min. Not much, but it keeps pushing you a little more.

You average the 10 min Sweet Spot block along with both 20 min blocks. The total effort is 50 min long for this test. More advanced tests have you ride longer than 50-min, but this is plenty sufficient to get a reliable FTP figure.

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Always underestimates my FTP, I have checked this against longer duration tests (up to 60mins sometimes) and the ramp test always gives me dubious results. As others on here have alluded to, it doesn’t seem to work as well for steady state athletes as it does for athletes who are more anaerobic. I’m a time trialist so very much a high threshold in relation to my VO2.

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Guys, this is a question from someone new to TR. The ramp test is fine for them.

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Agreed. Trust the product, Trust Chad.
Pick a plan. Test. Be consistent in your training. Maybe after a few successful blocks consider fettling

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OP had his question answered in the 1st reply…

And perfect for assessing mine. The only way to find out is to start somewhere and the ramp test is as good a place as any, and is based in a very large data set that should make it applicable to a large swath of users.

Absolutely. I remember my first FTP test on TR (2x 8min) it was the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever done on a bike. I wish the ramp test was around back then…it’s a great protocol for new users. I think once you’ve gotten some training under your belt it could be beneficial to do a longer test to really pinpoint your TTE. I see big benefits in that protcol.