Initial ramp test FTP setting?

I use TR every winter from now until about March but always struggle with what FTP to I put before my first ramp test. If I set the FTP higher then I feel I would test higher since I’ll get to a higher output faster on the ramps and not burn out before I get to a level that shows increase. I feel like when I leave the FTP at what it was at I always test lower. Even during the winter sometimes i just skip testing because I’ll test lower unless I significantly increase it prior to the test. I just increase or 2% or so and move on with the next block. I always found the same with the 20 and 8 min test. word counter VidMate

Anybody else have these issues?

I face the same issue…:slightly_frowning_face:

Pretty sure the FTP value has no effect on your ramp test. I think it is just a visual indicator/motivator. The returned value is based on a percentage of the last highest full minute of power you sustain.

Check the TR website for better detail.

The initial FTP setting when you start the Ramp test definitely does impact the basic test.

The test starts 46% of the FTP value. It steps up 6% of your FTP at each 1 minute step increase.

In theory, you will pop at the same power regardless, but the difference in step size and effective test time between starting at 100w FTP vs 250w FTP will potentially impact the rider.

I’ve seen Ramps under 20 minutes and over 40 minutes when people start right around or well under their FTP.

Its nice to have it reasonable close, maybe withing a 25% guess. If you are off by 50-100%, the test may be less than ideal.

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If you were to set your initial FTP at say, 800 watts, the steps would be huge. You’ll spend much less time below your actual threshold and your highest 1 minute power will have a large anaerobic contribution.

So even if you don’t test anywhere near 800 watts when it’s done, you might get something that’s still stupid high.

I have always found good luck dealing with this issue/unknown by following Hunter Allen’s protocol for the 20min test (described in Training + Racing with a Power Meter). Basically, the 20min test portion of the protocol looks like a Time Trial where you start below your target FTP, ramp up to FTP and then increase during the final few minutes.
[It works great on a smart trainer in ERG mode].

As you reach your target FTP, if you are struggling (or anyplace along the way once there), you can just lower the % of your target to find a point where you can hang for about 15mins (or adjust upwards if you are feeling strong). As you reach the final 3 min ramp period, you can decide if you have something left in the tank for it, or conversely, whether you want to increase the ramp.

As for setting the initial target, its pretty safe and easy to be slightly conservative (at or perhaps 5% below target). Once you are into the first 2 minute ramp, or complete it, you will have a good sense whether the 15min straight FTP portion is something you can maintain or need to adjust upwards/downwards.