FTP testing with ramp vs 8 min

I’ve been with TR since 2013 and have been pretty consistent over the years with some time off here and there with babies taking over my life. I’ve zwifted a bit but prefer staring at netflix than a virtual me. I’ve also enjoyed the SF over the years. Anyway - I’ve been having a lot of trouble this last year with FTP testing. My FTP just keeps dropping. It probably started when I got the kickr and ERG mode. I used to have the Lemond Revolution which I loved. Not blaming the Kickr or anything. Just thinking out loud.

Anyway, been on the adaptive plans and my FTP was set to 227 from a previous test. I finished up the last plan pretty well. It was a lot of VO2Max towards the end but I didn’t fail a workout. Last Thursday, I had another ramp test at the beginning of the new plan and I measured 217. I had felt pretty good before getting on the bike but at a certain point, I just blew up. No way I could get higher. Was pretty pissed off as I have watched my FTP drop from 250 in 2018 to 240 last year and it’s been scraping 220 a lot this last year.

My ramp tests usually end up with my cadence getting slower and slower until I blow up. I usually use the big ring for the tests to get more drivewheel speed, but can’t seem to keep on top of the cadence as the power builds.

Saturday, I decided to take another test and opted for the 8 minute test. This was 2 days later and I get a much better number of 232. That’s a difference of 15W. One thing I noticed was that in resistence mode if I eased off slightly now and again it didn’t eat me up and I could just keep going. Perhaps it feels more real. I know FTP is just a number at the end of the day, but it also dictates the training I get. I’m going to do the 8min test going forward I think and see where it gets me. I need to believe that this is the solution to my lack of progress recently.

I do the ramp test in standard mode on my Kickr. I despise ERG mode, also find that the ramp test gives me a lower figure than any other type of FTP test and modelled FTP in WKO5 (with a well fed PD curve). There’s plenty of topics on this subject, but if you know a method that gives you a constantly accurate FTP then you can use that, or use that to work out where you are on the ramp test multiplier, it’s set at .75 of your one minute best power on here, but I find my FTP is pretty much consistently .78 of my one minute during a ramp test. I’m very much a steady state type of athlete so probably lie towards one end of the ramp test bell curve.

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Maybe consider the Kolie Moore protocol (essentially a 40+min TT)? The ramp test, 8min, and even 20min assessments are all proxies for the real thing. With the Kolie Moore protocol you also discover your TTE.
Otherwise, the main thing is that you set the workouts to the appropriate intensity that will elicit adaptations. That might mean you have to dial up or down the intensity.

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Interesting. When you do it in standard mode, so you up the resistence a little each minute or change gears to keep up with the increasing power requirements? But yeah, I think I’ll stick with the 8 minute test as I don’t really mind it too much… At least not as hard as the 20 minutes one :open_mouth: or for that matter the full monty which was way too daunting to face.

Yeah. I guess I don’t really care about the real number too much. It’s the figure I want to put me on the right training intensity. I don’t tend to adjust the workouts that much trying to believe in them so when they are that bit easy, I feel happier that I’m improving and when I’m bleeding and gritting my way through, I just believe in it and try to make it through. But I have been feeling that my lack of improvement recently has been to do with not scoring well enough in the ftp tests to push my barriers.

I just use gears, same as out on the road. I find I can control my cadence better, rather than getting bogged down in ERG mode.

My advice would be to think about whether a workout is at the right intensity. I’m always tweaking mine. TR doesn’t know my performance curve, it only knows my FTP. I know things are a bit different with AT, but I think it’s extremely important to pay close attention to how the workout is supposed to feel.

E.g.,

  • Sweetspot. Does it feel too much like threshold? Or does it feel too easy? If it’s threshold, bump the intensity down, otherwise can you bump it?
  • VO2. Can you do more? If so, increase intensity. Can you complete the effort? If not, then drop the intensity.
  • Endurance. Could I hold a conversation? No, then drop intensity.
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I don’t the the problem is testing.

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Thanks for that Brennus. I see what you mean. Pre-Covid, I did go out a lot more and particularly my Tuesday mornings, I’d have massive TSS - something like: - TrainerRoad
(incidentally, a lot of these Tuesday rides were also NP busters or close to it). I’m also getting less commuting in. I also felt I was in a hole though back then in terms of progressing :slight_smile: I’d also tend to get sick a bit more and never managed to finish a full training block from base to speciality always blowing up in build or just after it. Last year, I tried the traditional base plan in medium volume to see if it would help regrow some base to build my top end on. I felt that I wasn’t getting any recovery in though so went back to low volume training (which I was doing in 2018 - although my TSS was larger because of the Tuesday rides).

My understanding though is that I should at least be holding steady with the low volume plan as it’s not really designed to be a maintenance plan but one designed to build. Maybe it is that extra TSS I am missing though… Still, I am also wondering if it is just the intensity of the workouts after testing down… perhaps because the ramp test doesn’t play to my strengths. I do remember that TR workouts used to feel harder than they do recently. A 15W difference would make quite a difference I think. Maybe I’ll try add on an extra 30 minutes to my Tuesday sessions to see if I can get the TSS up a little also.

You are probably on to something…especially in light of the difference between your ramp test and 8 minute test. I agree that 7% increase just from switching tests indicates something is going on. 7% is a big difference.