Ftp test outdoors

What’s the best method of doing a ftp test outdoors? Ramp, 8, 20?

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Not the Ramp.

The 2x8 or 1x20 are the ones that make more sense.


I used the 8-minute test that’s on my Wahoo head unit.

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I’m on a Garmin 520 , if that makes a difference.

Is there a tr “workout” I can use to do it? Like as if I was doing a TrainerRoad workout normally outside.

The actual TR workouts do not appear to offer an “Outside” option. That said, you can use a number of workout creation tools (like Training Peaks, Garmin Connect?, etc.) to make a test and load it on the Garmin.

I’m not a Garmin user, but I predict someone here has a good idea for how to get one or both of those tests on your head unit.

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I mean the protocol is easy enough to not even need a workout loaded. If it was me @alexstenerson I’d opt for the 2x8 effort as it’s much easier to find that length of road/area to test than a 20 minute continuous effort. Of course there should be some blow out efforts before the 2x8 sprinkled in before the actual 8 minutes, I’d just take a note from the TR 2x8 and take it outdoors. Take 90% of the second effort.


if you have a target FTP based on doing workouts, say you believe current FTP is 250W, then do the following:

  • divide estimated FTP by .95 (250/.95 = 263W)
  • use 263W as initial estimate to pace the first 5 minutes
  • reality check every 5 minutes
  • increase power if you are feeling stronger

of course you want to do a proper warmup and a hard effort “blowout” effort to reduce impact of anaerobic contribution.

Checkout the (Hunter Allen protocol) in the TrainerRoad 20 Minute FTP test workout: https://www.trainerroad.com/app/cycling/workouts/1270-20-minute-ftp-test

I have a 20 mile straight, flat, paved trail I plan on using

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Do 30 min all out by yourself and whatever you get call that your FTP.

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Let us know how it goes. I’ve had to relearn this often so I’ll mention it; the flattest of routes become super “not flat” when trying to maintain a steady wattage. Crush it!


It’s a rail trail that used to be a train track :slight_smile: Strava says 200ft of elevation change over 20 miles

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Just curious why you settled on this method. Not saying it’s wrong or right, just curious.

@alexstenerson For sure not the ramp. For myself, I sort of enjoy the 20 minute method. I’ve done many and think learning to pace these efforts is important if you enjoy racing of any kind. For the purpose of my FTP I have learned that subtracting 10% seems set manageable zones. It’s just super important to keep as many variables constant over time with testing to better see trends up or down.

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Friel’s 30-minute test: https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/joe-friel-s-quick-guide-to-setting-zones/

  • last 20-minutes to estimate LTHR
  • 30-minute average power to estimate FTP
  • solo, max-effort for 30-minutes

After al these years I didn’t realize he did this for FTP. I always stopped reading after the LTHR stuff…Thanks!

I’ve got a 520. If you delve into the unit it has an 20 minute ftp test pre-programed you can activate as a workout. Similar format to the Trainerroad 20 minute ftp workout session (since they are all based on 1 recommendation). It’s been a long time since I used that feature so can’t recall exactly what the sequence is to get there but you can do a google search to find it pretty quickly.

Also, best way to do it outdoors is a 40k TT that is relatively flat. Or find a velodrome and punish yourself for an hour record attempt.

But seriously it’s hard to find roads where you can do continuous efforts for that long without interruption. I’d totally try outdoor period tests for on a 20 mile stretch where there was little to no risk of having to slow down for lights/cars/people/animals/etc.

It’s a test that Joe Friel prescribed to set an “accurate” ftp. Doesn’t really mess around, warm up, that 30 min is the only effort, and then cool down.

Yep thx. @bbarrera linked it and set me straight ^^^ up there.

I use PowerMatch indoor and use the same FTP for outside as I feel my RPE are quite similair for each powerzone outside and inside. Am I missing on something by not testing my ftp outside?

Why not the ramp (assuming you have a flat straight road with little or no traffic)?

In short, doing a ramp requires hitting a prescribed wattage in 1 minute steps. It is impractical and likely unsafe to try and watch power that much while on the road.

People can do what they want, but I think it’s a bad idea compared to the other tests. Those are “steady effort” tests at longer intervals, with the aim to be self-paced at the “max effort” for the stated time. Those are much more straight forward and safe compared to what is required to properly execute a ramp outside.