No accuracy in the Ramp Test

I have done the Ramp Test twice and in both this test gives me in the end a FTP way above of where I am if I make the test in the 20 min FTP Test, but waaaay above. I was in 303 FTP with 69 kg and when I finished the Ramp Test it gave me 341 FTP, yes I have got better for sure I have no doubt of it but 301 to 341 is a huge difference. I will do the 20 mim FTP Test and I think I’ll be in around 315 - 320 FTP Unless that the ramp test is for some specific measurement that I am not doing that is totally wrong as an FTP measure, I usually can do the GAPP training after the ramp test and this time I got killed at 1/3 of the training, I just got my two legs cramps for the intervals at 422 435 and 460 watts it was crazy, way way above my capabilities.

Well they are different tests so they will give you different results for sure.

If you think your ftp is 320, set your ftp to 320 and train. If you think your training is too easy, dial it up a skosh. Or reach out to 330 & train…if it’s too much dial it back a skosh.

If your FTP is 320 even just your trainer accuracy will cause it to vary between something like 313 and 327. It wouldn’t surprise me to know that the difference between a ramp & 20min test could be 6% or 7% for a given rider.


What is your setup? These missing details might help explore that variance you’re talking about. I would make sure whatever equipment is being used, is appropriately dialed in - i.e smart trainer or power meter.

With that said, I would echo what the first reply stated. You know yourself better than anyone so dial things up or down accordingly.

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It is the wahoo kickr… I´m thinking that maybe the calibration was needed, also that this ramp test may be for a different kind of result, meaning kidn of cyclist… I´ll do the 20 min FTP test when I recover and compare the results

It’s also possible that you just don’t pace your 20-min tests all that well and undershoot your true capability. That’s pretty common, as a 20-min all out effort is tough for a lot of people to pace correctly. The Ramp Test, if you don’t just quit on it, takes you right to the point where you can’t physically pedal anymore. I’d bet that 95% of us don’t really bury ourselves on a 20-min FTP test.

It’s also possible that your VO2 capacity is high relative to your muscular endurance, so you might be able to tolerate those 1-min intervals well above threshold better than some, which might give you a somewhat higher ramp test result.

That said, previous poster nailed it. If you think your real FTP is 320, put it there and adjust as you may. FTP testing of any type isn’t meant to be a strict “be all” metric. It’s there to track progress, and give you a good idea of where you should be training and racing, instead of just winging it or guessing. Ultimately, you’ll know best what you’re really capable of through your results in training.


Are you warming up before the ride? You shouldn’t. Are you standing? You shouldn’t do that either. Just some thoughts on making sure you’re following the “rules” in case it’s not the trainer.

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excelent point

ha! very well explained and with lots of logic it may be that… I´ll do that and calibrate accordingly. Thanks for the advice.

On an indoor trainer especially, it is mentally very taxing to go all out for 20’ In fact, I think the hardest 5 minutes I have ever endured on a bike is the 10’-15’ section of a 20’ test. “You mean I’m only half done? There’s no way I can hold this for ANOTHER 10 minutes” “I must have gone too hard.” “Man, I suck.” Are just some of the thoughts that creep into my head as I pass 10 minutes.

There is no pacing in the ramp test. You go until you can’t pedal any more. It’s unlikely you’re going to dehydrate or overheat since only the last 5 minutes of the test is REALLY hard.

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The ramp test can do a reasonable estimate but if you set out to do it with a target power in mind and are willing to go super deep then you can overshoot your actual FTP by a longshot. I’ve done this before. I felt so proud of my “increased” 30w+ until I started doing threshold intervals afterward with the new setting which, as you can imagine, were impossible to complete.

Best way to approach the ramp test is to take the result with a grain of salt, then start doing workouts and manually adjusting it accordingly.

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Yep, that’s what’s happened to me in the past outdoors, especially before I became better through practice at pacing the FTP tests. I imagine it would be worse if I tried it indoors, for sure.

Can anyone tell me how could ramp test considered useful while it is performed without gas analyzer or direct lactate measurements? How could it produce adequate results based only on heart rate?

Not sure where you got the impression it is based on heart rate. You can do it without heart rate just fine.

It’s a measure to dimension subsequent workouts. It has to be seen in that context and it works just fine.

I’ve gone back to the 20 minute test because I don’t think too highly of the ramp test. The ramp test is good though because the majority of users overthink or avoid the 8 minute and 20 minute tests. The ramp test is the FTP test for the masses.

  • The Ramp Test doesn’t use heart rate in any way, none. You can run the test with or without heart rate connected. It can be interesting to see the heart rate progress and peak, but again, it is not used in any way to calculate the FTP.

The Ramp Test is based solely on Power data. It looks primarily at the Best 1-minute Power from the test, and multiplies that by 0.75, to calculate an estimated FTP. The test also reviews the Best 5-minute Power from the test to make sure the build up to the 1-minute value is “proper”. If there is a perceived issue, there is some magic math to adjust the estimated FTP upon completion of the test.

  • TR has formulated the Ramp Test and the FTP calculation from it based on review of related science, and testing of thousands of riders. It, like the 20-minute FTP Test and 2x8-minute FTP Test, are meant to stress the rider in particular ways, and relate the test result to Power data. That power data is a proxy for Maximum Lactate Steady State, that is kinda-sorta related to FTP.
    • That is about as good as I can describe it. I admit may have butchered it and even have the relationships incorrect. I defer to others here that know it all much better than I. But I do think the overview is about right.

As such, there are TONS of people, coaches and programs using those and similar tests with purely power data, to approximate FTP, and use that value for setting training zones.

“Ramp test” been around as long if not longer than Hunter Allen’s VO2 Max test and 20 minutes TT. Look up Maximal Aerobic Power test, British Cycling and Australian Institute of Sport. Heart rate, gas exchange, and lactate sampling are not requisites for any of the power testing protocols. They were developed to avoid expensive lab work.