Inital FTP Low - Redo Ramp Test?

I am new to cycling (1.5 months doing group rides @ 18mph or so average pace) and brand new to TrainerRoad. I grew up running cross country and swimming competitively and am 6’2 and 175 lbs. I setup my trainer last night and completed the ramp test this morning to obtain my initial FTP.

The test looks like it began by assuming my FTP would be 120 or so since it started in the intervals in the 60 watt range. I made it to 38 minutes failing at the 251 watt mark and the test ultimately calculated my final FTP at 189. I feel that I started at too low of a watt interval and was therefore prematurely worn out by the extended length of the test. Is there a way to begin the ramp test at a higher wattage or am I just overestimating what my initial FTP should be?

Thanks for the help

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The simplest way to see is to stick your FTP in at 189W and redo the ramp test in a couple of days.
That not to say that 189W is unreasonable for someone new to cycling. When I first started TR after 6 months of club rides, mine was 172W. However, it probably means that you have a lot of potential for improvement, which is fun!

At your weight and what you consider your average pace it doens’t look too low to me. You are at 2.7 w/KG not uncommon for an untrained person. My FTP when a bit trained is around 140 at 62 KG and I can ride 3-4 hours at 27 km/h in group rides. So it looks about right. Can do an hour at 32-33 km/h average alone.

I would start the SSB low volume. And see how it goes with a FTP of 189. With the low volume plan there’s room to test again next week. or at any point during the plan. The danger of working at a too high regime is going too deep in the base phase carrying fatigue and not being able to do the VO2max.

We have a tendancy to over estimate FTP. Especially when compared to casual cyclists who don’t train. You go my God I’m way faster than them. And then you get on a pace line with racers and you are out 5 minutes in.

Anyway the number doean’t really matter, what matters is consistence.

Couple additionnal points.

Have you calibarted your trainer?
When I test my FTP is higher when i use a big gear. compared to a small one.

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I hit accept on teh 189W this morning - if i redo the ramp tese (maybe tonight or tomorrow morning but understand limitations of redoing so soon), I’m assuming it will use 189W as the base correct?

Thanks - I might try it again using 189W as the basis just to be sure but agree that we probably all overestimate. I calibrated the night before but not this morning before the test and will do so immediately before now. I stayed in the big gear the whole test as well.

That’s right. The fist week if I undestand correctly is a fitness assessment. So a low work rate to figure out if the FTP is set correctly. Nothing prevents you to increase or decrease intensity within a workout. You do the first couple of intervals and if you feel strong turn it up anotch for the last ones.

Also, if you do all the drills cadence, strenght, pedaling focus, seated/unseated, you’ll see that it’s plenty of work to do, stuff to assimilate you might not be familiar with and it’s plenty of variations to tax your system, resolve, muscle, technique from every angle.

Just doing those represent probably a 5%-10% increase in work rate that don’t show on your FTP number but make all the difference once you hit the road in spring.

That’s one of the big reasons I chose trainer road over other training tools.

You’re not going to be “prematurely worn out” by a few extra minutes at less than 100W, especially if your FTP is where you think it is. The estimate doesn’t seem unreasonable for your background. You might get a different result from a re-test because you’ve learned how to pace it better, but that extra ramp at the start definitely isn’t tiring you out.


Agree with this.

Regardless of your background or what people might consider your FTP is likely to be, I’d say the extra work you’ve done was a good warm up and not a detriment to your overall score.

If you do retest I’d be interested to see what result you get.

I agree with the above wisdom, I was in your shoes a couple of months ago. Just stick with what is prescribed, you know pretty quick if you can start bumping things up as chad takes you through things, I always remind myself that he is much smarter than me at this so I should just do as I’m told!!

You’ll be working on technique and muscle endurance early on anyway as you build your base and there will be lots of low hanging fruit! The other suggestion i have tried after hearing something on the podcast was do Lamarck if you think you can squeeze an extra ride into your week. Chad used to use that as an FTP confirming exercise and the workout text is great!!

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Thanks and appreciate the advice. I’ve got Lamarck teed up for this evening now.

I just got my bike at the end of July and I enjoy riding and the workout that comes with it. I know we’re at the end of race season (it seems from what i’ve picked up from listening to the podcast) but would like to try and be competitive in the 2020 spring/summer at a low level here in Atlanta, Georgia via training this fall/winter.

I might retry later in the week or this weekend just to see what happens and will let you know

Like the others said I would do a week or so of the plan. Then if you feel it is easy bump it or retest if you feel the need.

I am up in the Greenville, SC area if you make it up this way shoot me a message we could join up for a ride!

Honestly, I don’t think I’d go this route. You’re new to structured training and probably don’t have much experience with longer threshold intervals (Lamarck is 4x10 at threshold), so you may find this less helpful than someone who has built up the muscle endurance for longer threshold intervals would for assessing how accurate your FTP is. I’d do as several others have said and just follow the plan for a week or so and manually adjust your FTP down the road if workouts are too easy and you’re consistently turning the intensity up.

I also agree with others that the extra time earlier in the ramp didn’t likely wear you out prematurely. My first ramp test, I went with the estimated FTP as a starting point, which was far too low, and it took a while before I failed the test (I actually didn’t fail until beyond the 50 min mark). The earlier steps in the ramp honestly just felt like more warmup than anything. The FTP estimate I got from that test still ended up working reasonably well to set workouts by. Workouts that were supposed to be hard were hard but mostly doable (I think I failed Eclipse 2/3 of the way through the last interval in SSBI). You may have undertested a bit, but probably not by as much as you might think, and it probably has more to do with lack of familiarity with the test than too long of a ramp tiring you out.

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You’re not going to be “prematurely worn out” by a few extra minutes at less than 100W, especially if your FTP is where you think it is.

I think that the issue with a large underestimate is more that the steps are too small (I think they’re a constant 6% of your estimated FTP?). His steps would have been 7.2W but they should have been at least 11W. The extra easy minutes didn’t wear him out, it’s the extra 4 minutes over FTP (instead of spending about 6 minutes riding over FTP he did it for over 10 minutes!).

I think it’s likely that OP’s test underestimated his FTP by 5% or more.


Please reply to this when you retest. I’m curious to see what happens.


will do - i’m going to get fit on my bike this evening so might do it again tomorrow or Sunday

At least for me, I need some weeks of adapting to the trainer. I ride year round outside (commute), but do my training indoor during autumn/winter (and outside from spring until late autumn). I’ve been doing TR for the last 4-5 years and I need some time adapting to the trainer. I simply do workouts like Goddard 2-3 times a week for a couple of weeks before testing and starting a plan.

So if you’re totally new to the trainer you might simply need some time adapting to it.

I redid the ramp test this morning and updated my FTP fro 189 to 210. I will caveat this with the fact that in between today and the last test, I got a bike fit and a new bike. They initially put me on an Specliazed Allez Elite 61 since I’m 6’2 175. I got my shop to swap me out for a 58 following the bike fit so some of the improvement is likely attributable to that.

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Have you been doing the structured workouts since the first FTP test too?

Yes, I’ve been doing them except for the past week as I took a week and a half break after a sprint-tri and a bachelor party in Vegas