Slightly off topic.
My conclusion from reading this thread: The TR ramp test leads to overestimated FTPs. Thus a lot of the TR plans Sweet Spot workouts are actually more like threshold. My n=1 agrees with this.
To me that raises the question: If a more realistic FTP is obtained from KM or similar. How will this play out with the TR plans? (you would be constantly training at a lower intensity) Are you better off sticking with the ramp test and the plans, and just knowing that you cannot necessarily use that FTP to pace races/efforts?
The TR plans:
- use Coggan classic levels/zones, which are based on having a reasonably accurate FTP estimate
- at mid volume or high volume seem to be designed for the unique individuals that recover very quickly because the plans are top heavy with intensity
If you agree, draw your conclusions from that.
The ramp test overestimates ftp, if you are fairly strong anaerobically. For strong aerobic “diesel” type riders, it will probably underestimate.
I think the main consequence is, be ok with adjusting the intensity of the TR workouts so they are achievable. Depending on the rider type you are, that might be the majority of the workouts under and up to ftp, or the workouts over ftp. You also might just fall in the middle, and they all work ok too!
With regards to this thread, if you actually want to be able to hold your ftp number for a long time, for example for a 25mile/40km TT, you might be better off doing a long form ftp test.
If you are just going to fudge your number until you are happy why not skip the test completely?
Over FTP is highly individual, so for vo2max and anaerobic work you have to find what works for you. FTP really applies to workouts at FTP and below.
For me personally, it definitely overestimates, but not to the point where I cannot complete workouts. I follow the low volume plans, and sprinkle on some outdoor rides.
My main point is this, would I see a greater benefit if I did indeed reduce the intensity? ( I complete all workouts, but sweetspot often pushes my HR into the threshold zone, and my RPE is high).
If you are completing all workouts then there is no reason to reduce intensity…when considering adaptations. If, however, you want to improve, say, recovery and fatigue, then you probably could reduce intensity by a few points without any detriment to performance benefits.
Re: the above, I think both KM and Coach Chad have stated that being off the mark by a few % points isn’t going to drastically alter anything. This is something I’ve tried to cultivate this season, development of RPE rather than strict adherence to power numbers. That, and knowledge that if I’m in the ballpark, I’m going to be getting most (if not all) the adaptations – esp. sub-FTP zones.
Well, that’s what I ended up doing regarding the ftp test…
I’m not following a TR plan now, they didn’t really work for me
(Not quite sure if we had a slight misunderstanding - I didn’t mean fudging the test numbers, but the workout intensities, which are by default a fixed % of your ftp. The % might be wrong for someone and need adjusting. It’s a consequence of TR basically using Coggan’s classic levels)
If you are doing LV SSB plan - you will be probably able to do every workout and recover between them. The problem will start with something like suprathreshold or especially when you will do longer threshold workouts like 3x20@100% FTP - if your FTP is off they would become suprathreshold that will kill your training and recovery. If your FTP is properly set and you go with something like 97%-98% of FTP for these workouts - they suddenly become easily doable and you will be able to also work more on your TTE and recover properly. So it all depends how you train, your volume and work type.
The best part of the latest podcast is near the start where KM mentions talking to an athlete struggling to do over-unders based on a ramp test FTP.
That was me.
(I told my Mum about this and she seemed bemused, perhaps you guys will be appropriately impressed and even a bit jealous.)
Refraining from zinging mother jokes is about as hard as ramp-based over-unders.
I try to always be diligent with this one and say that estimating your FTP low will be fine, but estimating it high certainly will lead to a suboptimal training outcome.
I agree with this.
I agree. Until you start looking elsewhere for training info and starting having your doubts about TR’s approach. I.e. too much Sweet Spot, not enough endurance, and not enough recovery. Which is where I have been at for about the last 12 months.
This. Remove vanity. Focus on what physiological hand you’re dealt and play it.
Aside: This thread has sort of affirmed my doubts around the TR ramp test. It’s a fantastic marketing tool because it’s relatively “easy” when compared to a “traditional” FTP test and far less time consuming than a TTE test. Who doesn’t want all of that? It’s much easier for them to sell new riders. But is it the best approach?
I’ll never forget my first 2x8 min FTP test, it really hurt, and left me wondering if this is what type of pain I would have to endure with regards to structured training. However, I’ve learned that suffering on the bike is what comes with competitive cycling and focused training. It’s something I learned relish about the sport, and not something I try to avoid.
The way the TR team justifies the ramp test as a less mentally fatiguing approach really doesn’t make sense to me. I’m too lazy to go digging for quotes so I will paraphrase… SO many comments from the team about “less mentally taxing”, “easier to pace”, “less disruption to the training week”, etc etc. It’s almost like they don’t want to admit that FTP testing is and is supposed to be difficult. Let alone the common theme around here of “can I just self-adjust my FTP based on how workouts are going”…ugh. Which really means, can I just avoid doing another FTP test?
I get it, they aren’t trying to develop the absolute best and most accurate way of finding FTP, but more a simpler method that is reasonably good. Which I think it is if you’re willing to self-adjust workouts if you find them too difficult. But, this can be confusing and demoralizing for a rider. “It said my FTP is XXX-watts, but why can’t I complete a workout at XXX-watts?”
If we all agree that there is an element of suffering in this sport, why try to work around that? I’ve never understood that. FTP tests aren’t meant to not hurt, and if the ramp test generally overestimates (which I think it does) the subsequent training that follows based on that FTP number assigned by the ramp test very well could lead to very difficult, uncomfortable, and sometimes unproductive workouts.
The one time I did KM’s TTE test I found it very difficult in the last 10-15 min, but very doable AND repeatable. I think it’s an excellent protocol for leveling one’s ego, and also making subsequent training effective and not insurmountable.
Keep in mind that one of the best features of the ramp test is that you do not have to come into the test with an preconceived idea of what your FTP is. This is great not just for a beginner like myself, but also makes transitioning between training plan phases easy. You don’t have to guesstimate how much you have gained during your last block etc.
Finally, there are several workouts you do throughout their plans, like Lamarck that do indeed test your ability to hold your current FTP for a significant duration.
It would however be really interesting if they would release numbers backing up their claims that the tested FTP and workouts really does work for most of their subscribers.
Thanks for making this clear. Would you kindly comment on climbing vs flat road when testing using your protocols outside?. H
I FULL agree with this. Doing your first FTP test is difficult, especially if you have no idea what your FTP is within reason. Which is why the ramp test is pretty effective for a ball park guesstimation of one’s FTP. But, as other’s have stated, there can be a large anaerobic contribution which can conflate that number.
I would be curious how many users’ FTPs are self-adjusted DOWN after doing the ramp test. I know I have.
I always wonder about those users from the ‘ramp test tips and tricks’ thread, who try to score an ftp as high as possible. Can they actually use that number?
Tbh I think the whole obsession with FTP numbers, and especially W/kg, is because a lot of people to not race, and their performance marker is their FTP number.
re: TR/Ramp/SSB I’ve been scratching my head for awhile now, along with the more important training intensity distribution since earlier this year when I began posting results from doing more pyramidal sweet spot plan (FasCat). The cynical view is that TR sold out and now has to justify the decision, I literally can’t listen to the explanations. Ramp does a good job estimating max aerobic power (MAP). And from looking at my own seasonal data, FTP as a % of MAP will vary from 83% to 89%. So how does anyone believe 75% is a science based approach? A science based approach would start with where use of ramp to estimate FTP came from (this article and related articles), and acknowledge FTP as % MAP varies across a season. I can’t be the only one seeing this, and that % FTP for vo2max and anaerobic workouts is highly personal and individual.
which makes sense for onboarding a new user, and then use that to do a longer test. Because Coggan classic levels are designed around having a reasonable FTP estimate. Above FTP? Those are very personal and individualized so TR needs to fix that and move away from Coggan classic levels.
The other uses of the ramp test and MAP that I think are reasonable:
- convert from Coggan classic training levels to TR’s own MAP based levels like Ric Stern published back in 2001 before Coggan published his levels (look familiar?)
- use max aerobic power (MAP) to predict 5-min vo2max power and related workouts
- aligning TR data with research studies
I’ve had to adjust UP after a ramp test. That seems to happen when FTP is around 89% of MAP. And I’m a naturally diesel.