My VO2 Block -> Ramp Test Experiment

I’m a new TR user, a newish cyclist (couple races, couple years of group rides with the local women’s group), but a long-time athlete.

I spent a week doing easy endurance rides to learn how TR works, and then I did a ramp test. Then I agreed to my husband’s experiment, and I took off on a two-week, 6-workout VO2 block that also included a really fun QOM-hunting outdoor ride. Then I did a rest week and repeated the ramp test. My FTP improved by 6% over my initial score.

I had been in shape but had been doing entirely easy base work and skill work for a while, so I think a big component was just refreshing my work capacity at VO2 efforts, but along the way, I also discovered what I have deemed “Fancy Pedaling,” which makes a big difference. (Fancy Pedaling is just pedaling the right way.) I also learned how to tolerate being on the trainer for a while. Ask me about that after I ride my first Baxter this weekend.

I thought others might find this interesting.

The Saga of the Second Ramp Test: or How the Universe Fought back against Big Data
  • Test 1: TR loses signal from trainer just before the first supra-threshold interval
  • Test 2: After a reset, TR loses signal from trainer at around 18.5 minutes
  • Test 3 (the next day, lunch time): Can’t calibrate trainer
  • Test 4 (after a reset): Can’t calibrate trainer
  • Test 5 (after another reset): Flat tire, suspected valve core damage
  • Test 6 (new tube): Can’t calibrate trainer
  • Test 7 (dinner time, after firmware update): Flat tire
  • Test 8 (the next day, lunch time): Hallelujah!!!

When one of my ramp tests “fail” then I do a block of vo2 and it fixes the problem. For example a year ago I was doing sweet spot at FTP of something like 230W, and then did a ramp test and felt like I was dying and it estimated 195W FTP. Rejected ramp test FTP and kept it the same. Did a 4 week block of vo2 and next ramp test was something like 233W.

Its not typical, but it does happen. Particularly when doing all inside trainer rides with no intensity. However I’m naturally a diesel, and finding that my calendar age is playing tricks on me when I fail to do weekly strength training and cycling intensity.

It does beg the question does the ramp test designed to establish your FTP actually test your V02 Max or your FTP?

I’ve read all the threads so no reason to post them in response to my rhetorical question. :blush:


I’m in a happy typing mood :grinning: so for those that haven’t read all those threads… ramp tests are designed to test max aerobic power (MAP) :wink: And can be used to provide reasonable estimates of FTP for a lot of people. And just like other field tests (e.g. 8-min, or 20-min), its up to you or your coach to interpret results. And if training levels seem wrong, time to re-interpret results or decide to do another test. @megsambit your husband has some good coaching instincts!

I like the ramp test, pretty easy to do and for me as a diesel it also serves a secondary purpose as an alarm when either a) my anaerobic system is getting neglected, or b) I’ve maximized sweet spot gains and time to focus on vo2 work (FTP as % vo2max is getting too high). :+1:


I was thinking about the protocols in general. If you use the ramp test to set your FTP, then the VO2 workouts should be well calibrated for your abilities, but you could struggle with threshold and sweet spot work. OTOH, if you use an 8- or 20-min protocol, you might find a big mismatch for target levels for VO2 work.

1 Like

It’s often the other way - Anyone with an FTP above 75% of VO2Max power will end up with an under-estimated FTP, so threshold/sweet spot is too easy and VO2Max workouts that are well calibrated. That’s the case @bbarrera mentions, and mine as well ( I always test low). I adjust the FTP up based on threshold work. And suffer to death on Vo2Max because I’m too stupid to adjust them down.

Another option might be to do V02 max test to set wattage for VO2m work and a 20-60 minute test to set FTP and below efforts. I know it would feel like a lot of testing but probably worth it if precision is of import.

From a training zone point-of-view, % FTP is really only valid for everyone when setting zones at FTP and below.

Above FTP the % is highly individual. The approach I’ve taken is to find my % FTP by looking at 90-day power-duration curve, and then via trial and error find the “right” TR Intensity setting within the context of my current focus. For example 92% on last night’s Bluebell (3 sets of 6x1-minute vo2) knocks down the 1-minute 120% intervals to 110% FTP. That was almost too easy, however I’m focused on long sweet spot and the goal for vo2/anaerobic work is to keep system warm. So lighter vo2 work is perfect, as a couple weeks ago I knocked out a full Baird -2 at 120% (nearly same as Bluebell) but it required 2 entire days of recovery and impacted volume of aerobic endurance work for that week.

1 Like