Kolie Moore's FTP test protocol

Thanks! Team Gold for the win

Anyone using that test that’s had some time off may have a tough time - I’ve arranged it so that when you hit the ‘ramp’ at the end you’ve already beaten your previous FTP, so any time spent ramping up is FTP gain. If you can’t hold 98% FTP for 10 minutes you’ll get no worthwhile result. Then it goes up to 102%, so after 10 minutes at that your average power is your current FTP. I find that better than increasing current FTP or guessing targets. Hope it’s useful anyway!

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Thank you for creating the team & sharing the test! I’m currently in a sustained power build block & will need to test in a couple of weeks. Think I’ll give this a go at that time or maybe sub it in for another workout.

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Really? In Kollie’s Baseline protocol he wants you to hold 92-95% for 10 min. Where/why are you getting 98%? Also, thanks for creating this workout…excited (not really) to give it a shot.

This is a variant of ‘progression 1’ on that article, as I felt I wanted something long enough to give a realistic representation of actual FTP. He says “10 minutes at 95% of target FTP” - which isn’t 95% of FTP, unless you plan on making no progress :slight_smile:

I actually started off with 96% for 10 minutes, then jump to 100% for 20, then the ramp - which was fine until I realised that when you’ve done the 10 minutes at 96% and all the 20 minutes at 100% you’re rolling with an FTP drop at that point, which is incredibly demoralising!

I’ve since tweaked it so that arriving at the end of the 20 minute block puts you at an average of 100.66%, so you can aim for that as a guaranteed result then see how far you can go from there.

No problem, hope you enjoy (?) it! In my experience it’s better than the ramp test in every way, gives a more accurate number and a decent workout :+1:

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My version of the baseline does the following:
10 minutes ramp from 95%-100%
15 minutes 100%
15 minutes ramp from 100% to 105%
15 minutes 105% (just in case :slight_smile:

You do have to get quite far in this (35 minutes if my quick math is right) to get the target FTP. I’ve done it a couple of times, and at about 20 minutes in I will tweak the power a bit based on how I’m feeling.

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Nice work. Good call on bumping it up to 98%. I can see your point about wanting to complete the 20 min at FTP and then anything beyond that is bonus. I’ll be curious to see how I get on with it. I haven’t tested my FTP since the beginning of my last block (about 4 weeks ago) and assume that I’ve gotten stronger.

I have a feeling that my FTP is 5-10w higher than I have it set at so I’m curious to see how I feel when I hit the 20 min interval @ FTP. My plan is to ride the first 5 min @ FTP, assess, and either continue at the same wattage or bump it up 5w and re-asses every 5 minutes.

Have you done both within a close period of time? I’m curious what your FTP is from both. I suspect the ramp text over-estimates just a touch.

I thought I had, but on looking back I can’t actually find an example! I know though that every ramp test I’ve done has given me a nice-looking number that ends up burning me out in 2-3 weeks (or making workouts impossible if I’m in a harder phase). I had similar problems when they used to recommend 2x8 test, and defaulted to 2x20 in order to get a better number (although even that was slightly high, on reflection). I think if you have a decent anaerobic system/strength it can really skew the shorter tests.

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I just want to say thanks for putting this all down. I’m going to use this for my next FTP test in a few weeks. Pretty excited too as I’m loading myself with ridiculous amounts of TSS for the next two weeks

Just to say that this has been really helpful - especially as it’s helped me to put power numbers/FTP in perspective. As someone whose main racing is 25 mile time trials, it’s actually pretty important to know what you can really hold and for how long - especially when on “rolling” courses this could be a >1hr effort. The shorter tests don’t really capture this.

Having just done the progression 1 test, although my resulting FTP is lower than it would have been if I’d self adjusted on my perception of recent “threshold” efforts, it’s a way more useful number for training and racing. Yes, I might be able to do shorter threshold intervals at a “higher” FTP (which is in fact over FTP), but now realise this only ever threw me off when I had to do longer threshold efforts in a race setting, where I’d start too hard and fade. It’s confirmed what I knew really all along - that I need to work on muscular fatigue/TTE in the TT position where I feel this loads up more.

Rather than hitting the exact prescribed “build” that TR planner is giving me for the next 6 weeks, I’ll be swapping out the 6-8min 105%+ efforts, and doing more/longer threshold work. Cheers, and thanks to @empiricalcycling for sharing your knowledge/the great podcast.

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Might be useful to everyone here who’s really reading into the protocols to consider I wrote them that way for general consumption. If you think your FTP went up 5w or 10w, then that’s your target for your test. If you can do more on test day, awesome.

…however, with my athletes, here’s how I test. I start them for about 10 minutes at about 20w below what I think their new FTP is, then they ride to feel. Since I work one on one with all my athletes, and have ongoing dialogues with respect to physiology and pacing, I’m certain they’ll be able to find their FTP and the ride at it until exhaustion.

Example: in December, an athlete did an 80 minute FTP test at 310w. He remarked that if he went even 10w higher, he knew his legs were not long for this world. So he just rode at 310w as long as he could. A couple weeks of rest over the holidays, then vo2max training, and then another FTP test to kick off the pre-season training block. Afterwards he said he wanted to try to improve on his last test, and he could have probably done 330w for 40 minutes, but he knew by feel that wasn’t his FTP, so he did 308w for 78 minutes. Basically identical test, which is what I expected (but I didn’t tell him). Because we’ve been working together for a couple years, he knows the feel of FTP very, very well. He knew to keep his ego in check, because a good test means better training and real improvement.

Thanks everyone for enjoying the podcast, and especially for changing old habits to train better.

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Thank you!

Another 4 week period another test.

Same protocol as last time. Did 310 for 42 minutes at the start of January, did 315 watts for 42:30 minutes on the 28/01 so a good progression. Think I am going to move onto the next progression next time, as I relate to @empiricalcycling comment above. Did 20min at 315 and then raised it to 325 for the next 12 minutes which definitely burned me a lot. If i held my power steady at 315 I probably could have kept going for another 25 minutes I would say.

In 4 weeks time assuming the training block goes well I will probably aim for 10min at 305, then 45min at 320 followed by 5-10min ramp if I can. Still think these are the best ftps tests I have done for my training.

Only downside is having to do MAP testing separately, which the ramp test kind of gave you quite naturally.

Yes. test. But I think what cfellowes means by core part is the SS and then the Threshold part of the “workout” which wouldn’t include whatever you cook up as a warmup and cooldown.

I have a question about the progression 1 test. Say you do 95% of target for ten minutes and then 100% of target ftp for 30 minutes and then fail somewhere in the final 10 minutes (whether or not you actually manage to ramp up). Would you still take the average of those 40+ minutes as a good estimate of your ftp or would you consider that a failed test? I have, in the past, always treated that 10 minute ramp in the end as a bit of a bonus.

I really enjoy this protocol btw. and I do appreciate how much I have learned to distinguish the difference between what it feels like to load up your legs vs. just fatigue, which I have struggled with in the past. So thank you for that article!

I always look at the power curve and check the wko5 model to see where my eyeball puts FTP, and where wko5 puts it since normally the way I train people, an FTP test outperforms the model in terms of TTE but not in terms of watts. So inspection of your power curve is the first way I would assess FTP, but sometimes takes a little experience to really see it. Looking at the test itself, I would take the average of the entire test. A ramp at the end usually adds <5w to average power total, but can be easier for some people to think about instead of really trying to nail FTP by feel. So despite it not making a big difference in terms of watts, it can make a large difference in terms of test duration. If that’s important to you, try for no ramp, but if not, ramp away!

Btw, if anyone’s got questions just @ me, I don’t check this forum (r/velo is my usual hang) but have email notifications for mentions.

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https://www.trainerroad.com/career/epvanhouten/rides/72059761-ftp-test-221w-for-35min

Still coming back from injury so not the best numbers but a 0 erg test.

Interesting that you get your athletes performing tests of that duration. I recently watched a Youtube video with Alex Dowsett talking about his hour record. He mentions not having performed an hour on the track prior to his hour attempt because it “buckles you”. He says that after his attempt, which he claims in the video was high sweet spot*, he didn’t feel great for about three weeks afterwards. Had he attempted a trial run in his build up, he believes it would have hampered training.

*(he stuck to predefined lap times instead of going on feel plus he couldn’t see his power numbers)

It makes a lot of sense in this case to go by lap times since that is the overriding goal.

Having looked at the data for a lot of high level athletes, I would think that an hour record is actually over FTP. But if his TTE is really about 45 minutes, then he’s got lower fat reliance at FTP than I might expect. It happens, physiology is complicated. TTE for most pros is >60 minutes, often into the 80s.

One other thing about riding on the track that’s not usually taken into consideration is that the power output is not going to be completely steady. The small accelerations you do out of every turn can take a large toll on your energy reserves. Plus track rules state you can’t have a computer visible, so if data’s being recorded it’s going to a central collection unit.

I’m training an athlete for a run at the Mt Washington record this year, and his last FTP test was 65 minutes, and he did intervals the next day without issue. However, if he were actually climbing the mountain in his training, it’s biomechanically different, and these different demands are going to leave him empty for weeks after the race, so I would similarly not have him do the full climb at pace in training.

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Just an update as gave this a try myself at the weekend (progression 1). Went out a bit conservatively for the first 10, bumped a bit too much for the next 15 so couldn’t manage much of a ramp at the end, but averaged 319 watts for the 35 minute test. By feel I would put threshold at around 310 so might use this for training going forward. Trainer road ramp test gave me 280, but as has been said elsewhere on this thread, the ramp test feels like a bit of a random number generator for me based on how fresh I am / how much high intensity training I’ve being doing recently. Will stick with this longer protocol for the season.

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