FTP test vs Ramp test

@jeanchristopheroy your ramp test Maximum Aerobic Power (MAP) is ~117% of your FTP. Or, to put it another way your FTP is a little over 85% of your MAP. That’s definitely on the high end but not unusual. If you sample 20 trained cyclists you’ll probably find some with FTP that is 65% of MAP and some with FTP is 85% of MAP.

TR makes the blanket assumption that everyone has FTP that is 75% of MAP. So if you deviate materially from that estimate your training plan can go off the rails.

I think you should do VO2max workouts with FTP set to 250 or 255.

I think you should do Threshold/SS workouts with FTP set to 285.

So, for example, set your FTP to 285. If you are going to execute Merced +1 dial the intensity down to 88%,89%,90% right from the get go. If you are going to execute Antelope +2 leave the intensity at 100%. Adjust those percentages as you are able to…you’ll figure it out w/in the first few workouts.

My ftp is often 88-90% of 5-minute vo2max, and I find the ramp test harder than 8-minute protocol. The ramp test often (but not always) under-estimate my ftp and I have to manually adjust ftp setting. And usually I need to adjust longer vo2 workouts from 120% down to 112% (setting intensity in TR app to 93%). According to the podcast there is nothing wrong with that according to Coach Chad (see summary above). I’ve read all the papers that Coach Chad has referenced, some solid data that working above FTP is highly variable and individualized.

Based on forum discussions and other reading, I believe the ramp test is good for setting a max 5-minute vo2max power. And so I continue using it to establish an upper bound on vo2 work, and to track changes after doing a block of vo2 (either TR build plan, or an actual block in order to be prepared for TR build plan).


That’s a little nugget I never considered, thanks!

I’m a triathlete, and (by definition) I should have seriously undertrained anaerobic abilities. My problem is the exact opposite. My last ramp test returned 299. I set my FTP to just 289 and struggled to complete some of the workouts nonetheless. I suspect the actual one-hour max is about 280 w. Rode a recent 70.3 at 230 w normalised (80% of 289 w, or 82% of 280 w) and the intensity turned out to be bang on.

I test, train and race on the same bike, in the same position (aerobars), so that’s not a factor.

I just completed a ramp test and didn’t show any ftp increase “within TR” even though my 20 min power has increased. By the end of the ramp test my legs felt like there were “full” and I could barely move them even though I never reached a point of being out of breath or breathing heavily. What would cause this? This usually happens if I ride hard without a warmup. Should I try 2 ramp test with 10 min break in between and see if the second one results in a higher number?

Sounds perfectly legit to me. For many people, 75% of MAP will work as a proxy for FTP…but it’s a distribution. For many people, some other % of MAP is FTP. So far on this forum there has been one person who had an FTP that was 89% of MAP…and another who had an FTP that was 61% of MAP.

So it varies. You might just say it’s all over the MAP.


Just wanted to share my experience. I feel like the Ramp Test has NEVER been a good representation of my FTP. A few months ago my FTP was 242 and I did a Ramp Test after the entire Half Iron Man Build plan - in which I worked harder than I ever have before on the bike! - but the test indicated my new FTP should be 240. A reduction. I was really disheartened. But then for the final 3 months leading into my half iron man I worked with a private coach who, after observing my trainer workers for a few weeks, raised my FTP to 252. The Build program in Trainer Road HAD worked - but I just wasn’t able to show it in my ramp test. Failing to demonstrate my growth in the Ramp Test was really disheartening, so it was really relieving when my coach let me know my FTP was in fact higher than what the Ramp Test said it should be.

Fast forward another few months - I finished my half iron man a week and a half ago, and I have a couple of weeks before I’ll start a full Base/Build/Speciality plan into a Gran Fondo I’ll be doing in April 2020. I have a bit of wiggle room before starting, so thought I’d try BOTH the Ramp Test and then the 8-min FTP test (48 hours later) to compare my results. Here they are:

Ramp Test - suggested new FTP - 230
8min FTP Test - suggested new FTP - 250.

I REALLY think the Ramp Test doesn’t work for me. 20 watts is a huge difference! I’m better at sustained power than I am for V02 and anything higher than 120% which means I really struggle in the ramp test.

In other words, the Ramp Test is just not for me. I understand it’s easier to pace the Ramp Test (because you can’t pace it really!) - but for me, I do WAY better (20 watts better) on the 8-min test, and suspect I’d be really similar on the 20min test. If you’re disheartened by the Ramp Test, it’s really worth taking the time to do an 8 or 20-min test instead - and you might want to stick with that from now on.

For those that are interested: the 2 tests were at identical times of day, with identical fueling, and identical meal the night before.


Well come on, I had the same problem as everyone here, training for 3 years with power meter and I already knew that my body does not respond well to intervals in vo2, although I managed to do 5 min at 440watts.

A couple of weeks ago, I training in the climb of my city, I would say 90% of my total effort.

20min to 370 watts avg.

ok, but yesterday I went to do the ramp test, when I hit 400 watts I was literally toasted, I was able to finish the 420.

he set 320 ftp, which is totally different from 20min.

ramp: 320 ftp
20 min test: 352 ftp


I’m not going to defend the ramp test, because I too have been growing increasingly skeptical. But in your case the difference could at least partly be explained by the gradient. Uphill watts are easier.

And also probably outdoor watts being easier (presuming they ramp tested indoors!)…

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Yes, it makes sense, but I probably won’t do the ramp test again, my bpm reached 192, it felt like I was in a criterium (where I’m extremely bad) ahhaha.

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Just going out and riding for 20 minutes is not the same as doing a 20 minute test. The protocol is to ride for 5 minutes at maximum effort and then rest prior to riding for 20 minutes at maximun effort.



I am new to TR. Just completed my second ramp test after Sweet Spot Base 1. Results were:

  1. 1st ramp test 240w - I felt this was low based on a 20min FTP test completed about 4 weeks before, which was 267w. Knowing this was low I adjusted my FTP to 255 and completed Sweet Spot Base 1 without any problem. I chalked up the low FTP to not being on the rollers for a few months.
  2. Last Sunday I completed a 20 min FTP test. FTP 271w. The test protocol was 5’ all out, 2x1’ all out, 3x20" sprints, then 20 min FTP test. 10’ rest between hard efforts. Flat course. I wanted to compare this number with the upcoming ramp test.
  3. Today I completed my 2nd ramp test - FTP 240w. I was half way through the next step then quit. My power did not fad. I just stopped. So I think I could have gone a little longer. Had I finished the last step FTP would have been 250w. Still 20w lower than the 20 min test.

My Conclusions:

  1. Indoor FTP power for me is lower than outdoor FTP power.
  2. I find it harder to keep digging on the trainer and want to quit sooner vs. outdoors.

As a result, I am splitting the difference between the 2 FTP results (260w. Up from 255w) for indoor workouts and using the higher number for outdoor workouts.

  1. Is this a good plan?
  2. Would it help the ramp test results if I did a longer warmup with some VO2 power efforts before starting the ramp test? Something to get my body acclimated to heavy breathing and pain. Instead of just jumping into a ramped up hard effort with a short 5 min warmup at low power. Something like 10 min warm up with 3x1’ intervals at VO2 power in the last 5 min?

For me, the first hard effort always hurts the most. Once I get some recovery after the first hard effort, I can usually knock out the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc efforts.


Personally I would do a 20 min test indoors before reaching that conclusion. I have a Kickr 2017 direct drive, and using big chainring have found inside/outside FTP to match. Having done some other testing, I believe a 20 min test in little chainring would give lower FTP.

For some ramp tests I’ve done openers the day before. Depends on how I’m feeling.

I really wanted to like and use the Ramp test and I have had 1 or maybe 2 successful ones… However, after failing them over and over the last 12 weeks I went back to the 20 minute test which I never had issues with before the ramp test came out and nailed it first try after not doing one in almost 2 years… my last successful ramp test put me at 303 which was about right. I did not fail workouts and felt good but the last 3 ramp tests I could not get past 275~ and this is after completing SSBMV1 and 2. Did the 20 minute test and held 326 easy which set my ftp to 309…

I have read every single thread on these forums about the two and it seems like I might be on of the weird outliers. Either way I just want to progress and I have felt stuck using the ramp test


I’m a +1 on consistently testing low on Ramp tests. I switched to the 8 minute version as it seems slightly less crushing than the 20 min. After doing some more reading I’m considering switching to the 20 min. I don’t think testing low on the Ramp test is all that uncommon.


I have tested low on ramp tests, but not consistently. For example about a year ago at start of general build the ramp estimated 195W FTP and the test felt horrible. Manually set FTP to 230W, stopped doing general build and instead did a 4-week block of vo2max work. Retested a month later and ramp test gave 233W which was reasonable estimate of FTP. I’ve since learned that my body needs some vo2 work on a weekly basis, either naturally by training outside or if stuck inside then doing one easy/shorter vo2 workout a week.


Here is an N=1 comparison. I decided to do TB mid volume and use the 20 min FTP throughout. I did I think 4 tests and was around 250 until final test of 252.

After finishing up TB, I went skiing for a week (Friday to Friday), and did a 20 min FTP test and came out 236. I thought I might be tired from six days of skiing so do modest work and retested the following Sunday. Spot on 236 again.

Today (two days later) I did a ramp test to kick off SSB and got a 243. Not sure what the conclusion is. But I decided to keep the 243 and see how SSB goes.

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Chalk me up as another who tests low on the ramp test. Of all the workouts, I’ve always dreaded VO2 max sessions the most and I think it shows on the ramp test. I just run out of gas in a way that I don’t with the 20-minute test. I haven’t done both in tight succession, but since I switched to the ramp test about a year ago I’ve been about 10-15 watts lower than I used to be during the two years when I did the 20-minute test. And I know I’m in better shape now. It’s not a huge issue though. I think of FTP as a range and not an exact number. I am 250 plus or minus about 8 watts. For any given workout I will adjust my FTP around that range depending on recent training, sleep, time of day, etc.


What type of training use in the week, for to get better in power?
Finally, what test are you using?