How hard am i supposed to push on ramp test

Cadence is NOT sacred.

  • It is not set to any particular requirement or range.
  • People can pedal at whatever works for them, to include the variability that accompanies use with rollers, resistance trainers or smart trainers in Res/Std modes.

So, essentially a non-issue or something to worry about in most cases.

  • This is more or less the only “requirement”. The test is set with the assumption and preference for seated effort for the entire pull, with no “KICK” at the end.
  • Pedal in a steady method until you can’t do it any more.

There is huge variation amongst athletes when it comes to heart rate. I’d correlate typical heart rates with power numbers. In my case, I am between 150 and 160 at sweet spot. But I don’t think I have ever seen my heart rate rise up to 180, the max was 176 or 178. Besides, your body will protect you and not let you overdo it. So don’t worry about your heart rate being too high.

In any case, ramp tests are hard. No matter how strong you are, they will just be hard. Just push as hard as you can that day without e. g. going out of the saddle or doing something crazy. If you test too well, so to speak, you might have to train at an FTP that you can’t sustain on bad days.

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Maybe I’m the weird one here. But for me HR is a motivator in the ramp test. Outdoors my max measured HR is 191. Indoors (at a ramp test) I got to 186. So when I want to quit at the ramp test and look at a HR of 180ish I tell myself that’s not all I got, I can push more. That motivates me ;).

But yes, I understand everyone here. It’s annoying when the HR is (for me) in the 170-range and I see that I’m still far away from my current FTP…

Btw, last year I did a stress ECG and got my heart checked. Probably good advice for everyone to do that once in a while if you push the pump to the max.


Whatever makes your pedals turn :wink:

I’d be very cautious here: my FTP heart rate is about 15-20 beats below my max heart rate. I wouldn’t use heart rate as a proxy for power. Even on my ramp test this morning I “only” went up to 173, which is quite high. Perhaps I could have lasted a few more seconds, but we’d be talking a few seconds.

No worries. I wouldn’t use HR as a proxy for power nor do I give it too much attention in individual moments. There are so many factors that influence HR (caffeine, stress, rest, hydration, etc). Yet I find HR in training as an additional datapoint quite useful. If I do a long Z2 ride and the HR is way above or below my usual HR in that zone I investigate if I have an explanation for it or if something is off with my body.

My point of the previous post was that I sometimes trick myself into giving the HR number more / an inflated meaning to push me, yet I can understand why it has the opposite effect for other people (as seen in the thread).


I don’t really have anything to add that hasn’t already been said before, but here you are anyway

IF you are fit and healthy, your body has way of protecting itself, you might be able to get to 190, but you can’t stay there, humans are inheritance afraid if the “heart event” and see a high heart rate and think this indicates that this is about to happen, it’s not the case. I feel it’s worth learning your year rate, I’m 51, T1 diabetic with asthma and often see 190 and that’s not a problem, a few years ago I had a virus infection which caused swelling of the heart, going for a walk caused it to be be around 150, now that’s a problem, you will find that when you do sweet spot work your heart rate will be in a certain range and that can be a good indicator of things

Like others have said, if you have concerns then it might be worth speaking to a doctor and getting checked out, but don’t associate a high heart rate (automatically) with a issue

And remember that max and min heart rate is an entirely individual thing, my max (@51) is over 190, a year or so ago my local chain gang (I miss those days) stopped and a younger guy was boasting the he got his up to 170 I was like stopped and around that … but that’s ok … for me

Agree. Actually I don’t look at any of the stats whilst doing a ramp test. Phone flat on the desk and pedal until failure. It’s elegantly simple to execute although deeply unpleasant :joy:

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Same here - I’m 51 (not for much longer though :unamused:) and my HR maxes out at 193/194 on a ramp test. In general my HR ‘runs’ a lot higher than my peers for similar exertion levels, yet my RHR (56) is lower. All your individual make up.

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Really well said.

don’t hold back, as said by many before me. Just push the pedals until your can’t. When you are 38 and healthy, it should be no problem if you hit your max once in a while

Also, just posting your ramp test HR doesn’t mean anything, not even in relation to your age. It’s just too personal.

For me I never hit my max in the ramp test, I looked up the last handful of tests and my legs give up in most cases between 178 and 180 (max = 186). So close to max, but not there yet.

You did it just right. You should be ready to puke. It’s like that in cyclocross. I’ve seen people throw up at the finish.


The best way to improve on TR is to give it the best go you can. Getting faster can and will involve an element of suffering on a few occasions during the workouts depending what you’re trying to achieve - the ramp test anchors your training so if you don’t apply rule 5 and bury yourself or push beyond what is comfortable how do you expect to gain the best results from the training?
Sometimes you have to say - OK lets see what can happen. Your central governor will stop you really hurting yourself though it’ll feel like hell and your body will just pull the plug for you.

Hmm I might need to push harder next time then …

I am not so sure. My experience with the whole Ramp Test and FTP thing is a mixed bag.

I am quite capable of pushing beyond my limits at the ramp test, but find me constantly doubting if the then set FTP is not too high. I really struggle to complete many or even most workouts at the defined intensity of 100%.

…not because I am mentally not prepared or biting enough, no, just because I am so tired, my muscles are so sore after only one or a couple of workouts that I have to skip a couple of workouts, sometimes even a whole week, to regain muscle strength to go at it again.

When I lower the intensity by some 5-10% it is much better.

So, how come? Should I really push so hard at the Ramp Test?
Next time I will try the 20min test.t


I agree. Clearly some individual variation here, but I have the same experience.
I can push myself on the ftp ramp test, and get a number that is a good data point. Hopefully it indicates progress from the last ramp test.
Earlier this year though, completing workouts at my new ftp was counterproductive.
I could complete them, but sweet spot workouts became threshold workouts, and threshold workouts became anaerobic workouts. After a few weeks it was unsustainable, and not the intended zones for progress.
In my experience, the ftp result from the ramp test is a great indicator of progress, and then I adjust for the following workouts accordingly. Maybe +/-5-10W.


Probably worth speaking to a doctor if you have heart concerns, and are unfit.

Hi, I had the very same worries, I’m 50, about 3 stone overweight, FTP 180, not particularly fit, I’ve done a triathlon sprint, not an iron man. My HR goes up to 190 ish. I was worried too as I’m at an age where I have friends who have had heart attacks.

Once a year I have a BUPA ‘MOT’ where they do a variety of test and includes a 30 min chat with a GP about any concerns.

I asked about my high heart rate whilst exercising (it’s 55 normally), she said as long as I didn’t feel dizzy or the rate didn’t suddenly spike, it’s fine. The rate shouldn’t be erratic.

I tell myself better to risk training hard as opposed to risk getting a heart attack from sitting on the sofa all day.