FTP Testing cross roads

Looking for some advice

I’m due to do an FTP test later today and begin sweet spot base 2. In the past, I have struggled in the ramp test to get my FTP to match either the 8 min test or 20 min test. Generally, I perform best in the 8 min test, I put this down to endurance holding me back a little in the 20 min test. Asmtha in the cold and generally being hugely average at Vo2 holding me back on the ramp test.

Examples 282 FTP 8 min test, 278 20 min test, 246 Ramp test. All done same week with a days rest between, the order was ramp, 20 min then 8 min.

So my question is what do I do. Stick with the ramp test and get better at Vo2’s. Use the 8 min test as it gets the best numbers (reducing intensity of Vo2 workouts as generally struggle to complete). Use 20 min test as its closer to the original hour of power, plus I can use the Heart rate info to do HrTSS (with free training peaks account) to get a TSS for my mountain bike rides (no power meter).

Any thoughts much appreciated

P.s not a racer just want to be a decent all-round rider

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I would stick to your preferred option and use it consistently. If you can perform the workouts when using an 8 min FTP and feel these zones reflect your physiology, I would use that protocol.

I would advise against using different methods to determine training zones.


I can do all but the Vo2’s when using the 8 min test, normally have to knock the intensity down a few percent as just can’t get my breath

what test did you use to determine your FTP for base 1, and how successfully did you complete the workouts as a result?

Did the 8 min test, workouts were manageable, did Mary Austin just to see how tough it was when I saw a thread about it.

@wapes I primarily train with power (Quarq PM) but recently bought Wahoo HR strap to just overall better understand what I’m capable of and limitations on and off the bike. Long way of saying I use TSS from power but, I’m interested in you can’t use HrTSS from a ramp test? Or can you? I’m asking…

As to your question I’m with @Jonnyboy…use which ever number you can complete the workouts with. So from reading your post ramp. That’s my vote. That and I feel the ramp test is the easiest to control as far as consistency is concerned. Something that everyone is aware of but, it’s just doesn’t seem to be respected much (my opinion).

So your vote is the ramp test, will this not make sweet spot too easy?

As to HrTSS I have found I am so bad at judging RPE on a mountain bike I started using Training Peaks (free account) put in the last 10 min average of Heart Rate into the settings on a 20 min test and Training Peaks spits out a HrTSS. I know its mean to be last 20 mins of a 30 min test as per Training Bible but I guess this is close enough.

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Re HrTSS ahh gottcha!

Re SST too easy: This is the problem with forums/stranger advise. I just don’t have enough info and not really qualified to call that. But, if it was me, I’d accept SST workouts as a little easy (I think they are anyways) and just do more time in SST. So upgrade the workouts to the +1-5 which will probably add duration. Then with the slightly lower FTP the VO2 (limiters) will be more manageable w/o manually reducing intensity.

I don’t think there’s really a wrong way here. The more important thing I’ve found over the years is to have consistent/accurate data to set zones. Whatever way you think gives you the most repeatable and reliable data is what I’d do.

I’d agree that there is no real ‘wrong’ way to approach it. Ultimately they are all only estimates of what you are trying to find out anyway. All riders don’t have the same physiological makeup especially over CP/Lactate threshold - the assumption that VO2 max intervals should be around 120% of an (estimated) threshold value is an attempt to match the bell curve of abilities that riders have which inevitably fits some but not others.

What I do is use the test that gives you the middle of the 3 values you could test and adjust it from there. For me I get the lowest values on the ramp test, followed by the 8 minute test and the highest from the 20 minutes test. I’ve used the 8 min test most often when testing indoors and still have to nudge the harder VO2 Max stuff down a percentage or two but can still ride 3x30 at 90% without too much trouble.

I would say though that your results from the 8 and 20 minutes tests are well within a margin of error for PM and therefore pretty equivalent.

So tonight I did a ramp test after a rest week.
Down from 282 to 248. Same thing as previous tests get to around 330watts and it feels like I hit a wall.
Think I am going to do Coach Chad’s Vo2 set of 8 workouts from another thread, re test if its still way down going to use the 8 min test. If it does bump up following Vo2’s then I will stick to the ramp test and try to be a bit more of a rounded rider.

So completed a bunch of the Vo2’s in this and other threads…
Pierce, Taylor, Baird, English, Ian Campbell, Hurd, Dade (2 a week plus two other outdoor or indoor rides) had a rest week and re did the ramp test last night. Went from 248 to 250.
Disappointed again unfortunately, completed all those workouts at 100% no back pedals or extra rest so was hoping for a bigger bump. Did the 8 min test tonight with some fatigue in my legs and got 270.