Help with FTP from test results

Hey everyone,

Just finished a 20-minute FTP test and was hoping to get an opinion on what to have my FTP set at for the following weeks. I did the same 20-minute test a little over a month ago and ended with a 299W FTP. Since then I’ve only done a few of the TR workouts, but they generally felt difficult but manageable, so I felt the FTP estimate was accurate.

I took a few days off last week to recover a bit, did a light ride yesterday and felt good coming into today’s test. During the 5-minute effort, I still felt good and managed to push my 5 minute power significantly compared to what I’ve ever done. Unfortunately I have a feeling this hard effort put me at a disadvantage since during the 20-minute effort I started at about 320W but found my power decreasing as the test went along, and I ended with an estimated 285W. This was a bit annoying, since the other times I’ve done this test I’ve started decent and end up increasing my power as time goes on, not the other way around. Is it possible that I went too hard during the 5-minute effort to the point it hurt my FTP results and should maybe test again soon going a little easier in that 5-minutes, or should I maybe just stick with the 285W for the next few workouts?

I also noticed that after the test Xert increased my estimated FTP significantly based off the 5 minute power, but I’m finding it hard to justify using that number since I struggled so much in the 20 minute test. I know there’s not really a clear right answer here, but any help would be appreciated!

Here’s the workout data if anyone is interested.

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Definitely. That’s what’s so stupid about this test.


@old_but_not_dead_yet Good to know, I noticed TR saying during the test something about it being good to go all out for a more thorough warm up, but I can definitely see how it killed me for after. Any recommendations on a better test or better warmup for the 20 minute test?

And your pacing of the main portion was poor. If your previous FTP (based on the 20min test) was 299W a month ago, 320W was a little, shall we say, ambitious :grinning:

If workouts feel OK, I would leave it at 299W and progress.

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Thanks for the recommendation, I go with that and see how it feels!

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You could always post the link to your test so we don’t have to guess at what you did.

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@N8lewis To be honest, I didn’t know I could do that, here’s the link then FTP Test

No offense, but why would you crush the 5 minute portion? That’s really just a warm up for the test.

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It had been a while since I had done a solid 5 minute effort, and was trying to meet a power goal for that duration. Also during the workout the text on screen mentioned it being an all out effort, which made sense to me at the time as I figured I could recover in the 5 minutes after that. I realize now I should probably focus on going all out on one of the two efforts depending on what I’m trying to test, not both.

Interesting. I looked at your power curve out of curiosity. You’re 5 min power is ~413w. Your peak power in a Zwift race was ~1300? (I bet you sprint a lot higher outdoors). It’s pretty clear your power curve is missing a lot of data points, but it seems like you are under-testing your true 20 min max. By a decent amount? I think you would really benefit from a Kolie Moore test, something open ended to exhaustion so pacing isn’t such an issue. That 5 min blow out effort is a bad answer to the issue of anaerobic contribution to the 20 min test. Just use 92.5 or 90% of 20 min max if you have good anaerobic fitness.

IMO the 20min test is more accurate than a ramp test if you get the pacing right but if you don’t it can be way off. It sounds like you didn’t get the pacing right; in direct reply to your question


Conversely though, in your previous 20mins test you maybe didn’t push hard enough and your original FTP might have been slightly overestimated :thinking:

I would split the difference say an FTP of 290w and see how you get on on.

As an aside, congrats on the power records :muscle:

@_Matthew Thanks for your response. I believe my recent peak sprint recorded outside is 1299W, and while I think I could increase that a little, I don’t see myself getting much higher than that in the near future funnily enough. I’ve heard a little about the other types of tests, I’ll have to check them out more and definitely try one next time, thanks for the insight

@HLaB you make a good point, I might set it to 290W and see how that goes, thanks!

I don’t really understand why the effort in the warmup. Of course doing 5min >130% FTP will impact your 20min testing interval. I don’t really see why anyone would be “annoyed” by such an expectable result.

If you want to test your ftp I suggest doing a consistent and repeatable protocol as opposed to a try to fill out my power curve approach

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5min all out is the original 20min FTP test protocol…


Original to Trainerroad or original to whoever invented the 20 minute test?

Coggan and Allen, training and racing with a power meter

Idea is 20min test isn’t to set a 20min PR, but to estimate FTP. The 5 min effort is supposed to reduce anaerobic contribution during the 20min effort, making the 95% appropriate.

FWIW I hate doing the 5 min effort and like knowing my 20min max. I just take closer to 90% of it as FTP (based on years of testing I know this works for me)


that 5 min. effort is supposed to be all out as well.

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Yeah, that’s what I said

Is that book the basis for FTP and all of this?