Learned My Lesson Finally for Ramp Tests

This really SHOULD have been obvious from the get go…

Since I started trainerroad last year, I’ve treated the FTP test like an event…a race. Super fresh, rested, high carb breakfast 2-3 hours before ramp test. Big hit of sugar right before.

The last one, after my second go at SSB1, leading into SSB2, I took a more practical approach, IE, treated it how most of my workouts go. Get up, have a couple quick pieces of toast with a big glob of orange marmalade, down a cup of coffee while reading the paper for 15 minutes in my bibs, and get on the bike.

So, the bad news - FTP went DOWN 15 watts after completing SSB1. Now, to be fair, I replaced an awful lot of the trainer workouts with outdoor rides, as the plan started right when the weather turned.

The good news - this is SOOOOOO much more enjoyable Used to be every workout was a constant struggle from minute one to complete. The harder workouts, I would just be utterly destroyed, IF I was able to hold on to the end, and even if I did…the last couple intervals were usually pretty ugly in terms of cadance, form, power, backpedals, etc. Now, every workout is hard. Some REALLY hard, but I’m not wondering halfway through the first interval if I have any chance of actually completing the workout. Weekday workouts are the coffee and toast ones. Weekend tough workouts get the raceday treatment…full breakfast hours beforehand, dextrose mixed in with the sports drink make mary austin, palisade, or leconte very difficult rather than inspire fear and soiled underwear the day beforehand.

Anywho, just my 2 cents on something I should have figured out the better part of a year ago


I too have suffered from this affliction. I too have learned this lesson. I’m sure there are many more of us. Well done.


I think most that are new to TR, self included, need to learn this lesson the hard way. The FTP test is simply to set your training zones, that’s it. Treat it like another workout, then adjust your FTP going forward accordingly if workouts are too easy or hard.



Just finished up SSB2 yesterday with Leconte. Made it through…barely :smile:

We’ll see how the next ramp test goes going into short power build next week.

Had the same experience, old wheel-on tacx turbo used to forgive a higher ftp but new kickr is punishing. Now take ftp test with usual every day stresses :slight_smile:

Its vanity I guess but an accurate and relevant ramp test will result in a more consistent and manageable program and ultimately a higher ftp in the long run. Good luck mate :+1:

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Yeah see after you have a bunch of FTP tests and structured plans under your belt, you can pretty much set your training zones yourself. HR is variable and all that but combined with power and RPE and experience you can use HR to tell you a lot.

I like going back and seeing max HR and HR drift over different types of intervals and comparing that to what I’m currently doing.

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You should also consider doing ramp tests with a little residual fatigue - it’s not like you are going to be coming into every workout fully rested anyway.


Yup. After all, when you are training, you will also have some residual fatigue in your system. IMHO it makes little sense to optimize for the best FTP “number” just to find out that this makes workouts impossibly hard for you.

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I was thinking about doing a ramp test tomorrow. Not sure about going into it with residual fatigue and no warm up. I’ll probably blow up at 1/2 my ftp. But I know have over performed on ftp tests and suffered through training plans without getting any stronger.

As others mentioned, FTP is just an indicator. Once you know your FTP, you should be able to arrange your training zones.

Another important point is your body needs adjustment to new training parameters once your FTP goes up. It takes usually one or one and a half week for me.

For example, after I returned back from vacation, I took ramp test and my FTP was 1W up (yes only 1W:)). But I raised it extra 5Watts. First week was disaster, but my body got adjusted and I can kill all workouts.

The only workout that I am skipping is sprint workouts. I am not a sprinter and I suck big time on sprinting. But I can break away easily :)))

Good luck

Good topic. I’ve done only 2 ramp tests so far. Never took it with full rest and if some day I’ll do that is just to have an idea of my FTP at full rest, but the FTP for TR will be set always on a FTP test done in a normal day of training.
Even this way some trainings get really hard to get it to the end or keep it at 100%. From time to time a part of some are done on 95% FTP just to get the exercice to the end.
Hard work brings improvements but overtraining and burning out can do more harm than good.

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Ramp tests usually come after a rest week / just before the next block of training. Workouts during a rest week are dialled down to allow you get rid of the fatigue you’ve built up and absorb the training.

I was going to post what Hakanator noted: Usually you’d do an FTP test (ramp test, 20mn test or maybe the SufferFest 4DP test, which is brutal, btw) coming off a rest week, so you -should- be reasonably refreshed.

I try to be fully prepared for all my workouts - cooling, hydration etc, and doing so for an FTP test seems fine. I want to really make it a maximal effort - the higher FTP number isn’t just an ego thing - it means that the workouts going forward will be anchored on that higher number, which means harder workouts, yes but also (hopefully) means more efficient workouts and getting faster, faster.

Others make good points, of course - FTP is just an indicator, not and end result in and of itself; it’s something we use to determine our training levels. Doing an FTP test when you’re fatigued is going to result in a lower number, which may not be a true reflection of your general ability, which means the workouts levels may not be accurate.

There’s a whole 'nuther conversation to be had about FTP - the number - and how long you can actually hold that number (quite likely not ‘an hour’).

Good reminder and tips for me. I’m doing one tonight.

Well agreed, you dont want to shortchange yourself. Of course, do every thing you would do to make a workout go as smoothly as possible…but the only caveat I would add is constrict that to things you ACTUALLY do to make your workouts easier.

I personally think the ramp test/ftp test should be done fully rested. This way you can easily track FTP improvements overtime. If your coming into a ramp test slightly fatigued/or under fed how are you quantitatively tracking progress?

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If you are always consistent with how you take your ramp tests (fully rested or fatigued) then you will be able track progress. Ramp tests are also “less dependent” on fatigue levels than traditional FTP tests, within reason of course.

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True. I won’t disagree that it would make the workout compliance easier.

But getting a slightly lower FTP than what you could have managed will impact TSS and IF.

When I go outdoors and do an event/race I will be well rested, and this is where I like to have an accurate FTP.

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I don’t race off of FTP, so FTP is really only a training metric for me or post race analysis. If you race off FTP I can see how you’d want an accurate number, but then again your inside and outside FTP is likely to be different.

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Well, it stand to reason then IMO, that you should be doing separate ramp tests then. 1 done as closely to the scenario that you train under, and use that to set your trainnerroad FTP. Then do a separate test to gauge what FTP you are capable of for race day under ideal conditions.

You should probably be doing that anyway, just to have indoor/outdoor FTP numbers. I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to set your indoor trainer workout FTP based on your ideal, outdoor, rested and fueled race day FTP. That strikes me as a recipe for misery and a long string of failed workouts…