Poll: Would you ramp test if you didn't need to?

On a recent thread @Nate_Pearson indicated that the long-term plan is to only have to ramp test once:

Maybe I’m a little unhinged, but I actually quite enjoy a good ramp test. I think I’d still do a ramp test after every plan, even if the ramp test was taken out of the plans. As the ramp test conditions are so repeatable it gives me a real good gauge of where my cycling fitness is at. My local 10 mile TT is a pretty good test, but that will always be slightly affected by weather/traffic etc…

So, a quick poll… would you continue to ramp test if you didn’t need to?

  • Yes, I’d continue to ramp test
  • No way would I ramp test if I didn’t need to

0 voters

Even though I don’t think the ramp test is very mentally taxing probably no. I think I’d still want/need a concrete, valid, reliable number to use while pacing for time trials outside however. So, unfortunately I don’t know of a way to get around performing either the old 20 minute -(.95) or one of the progression protocols. I find those much harder in every way to perform than the ramp.

I’ve already stopped doing the ramp test at each block. I set the ftp based on the compliance i had with the previous setting. If everything went well with no backpedaling I’ll just bump it up by 10 watts for the next block. Right now that is just over 3% so a pretty decent gain for someone at my age and experience.

Whether or not my setting is my true ftp right is irrelevant as increasing the workload over time is what is most important. As long as my vo2 target is sufficiently hard and increasing i am sticking with this. Im trying to save the really hard work for build and specialty. At this pace those power targets will be about 30 to 40 watts higher than last year which is a really good year over year improvement.


I voted that I wouldn’t Ramp Test, but I’m in the cap of people who do enjoy that test. I don’t like the 20min test though. There’s a game-like quality to seeing how high you can go with the Ramp test that appeals to people of my personality type.

That said, I think the future has to be more intelligent training software that monitors your performance and knows from a combination of metrics where your threshold is at and adjusts the plan accordingly.

That’s why I voted no, not because I don’t like the Ramp Test, but because I support the direct TR is going (well hopefully going).


In general I try to do the training I need to do… so if I trusted their system for doing away ramp tests, why would I do that when I could get on with my workouts?


You don’t think you get any training stimulus from a ramp test?

I don’t think the stimulus from a ramp test changes according to where I am in my season or what my goals are. But the stimulus from workouts in my training plan do.

I only ever assess to keep the plan days right, and sometimes not even then.

Once you have done this for a bit you know where your FTP should be by how your workouts go (HR for power, RPE etc…)

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At least for me, and this could be completely mental, my history of performing ramp tests is very sub-par. I’ve done 7 Ramp Tests, and I consistently test 10 - 20 watts below my actual FTP. Or at least the FTP I can express in outdoor rides / TrainerRoad workouts.


FWIW, WKO4 has modeled FTP and “iLevel” training zones based off your data so in theory you don’t have to test ever. But, mFTP and iLevels depend on good maximal data across most of your power curve to generate “correct” numbers so you have to either test, or do good hard efforts over various durations to get it to work. There really is no way to avoid testing, just different ways to gather data by riding hard.

When I am in season, racing and doing very hard group rides, I can get away without testing as I get decent maximal data at various durations from just riding. But for just over half the year, I am not really doing any all out maximal efforts over most of my power curve and I think that is pretty typical. Some sort of testing is needed to set zones and the ramp test seems to work pretty well, especially for right around FTP and it is not all that hard.

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If there really was a way of never needing to test then it would be pointless so why would you bother? But my tiny brain just doesn’t see how this could be possible with the amount of variables involved.

So if the method really was complete then no I wouldn’t test, because its entirely unnecessary. But thats so hypothetical its moot, as we will always need to test… :smile: (says I)

For me it’s the best test to see exactly where my cycling fitness is at. If I wanted to see if I’d improved from Oct to Dec then the ramp test would be the best (most consistent, repeatable) way to test this.

Yes, currently.

If it was developed that you didn’t need to but the software could accurately workout what your fitness was and automatically adjust the workouts based upon that data…why would anyone bother testing? (apart from data/sense checking)

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I would test, though not sure if I’d do the ramp test or not. I’ve tested somewhat extensively with the 20 min tests on the road in the past, and that test probably suits my riding more (TT/tris/climbing) than something that’s weighted more towards VO2 effort. That said, the ramp test is easier, faster, more convenient, and the numbers it gives me - provided I execute properly - are right in line with my road tests, so it’s plenty good enough. I’d continue to test.

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I voted no but with the caveat that ild probably actually do it about twice a year. Once at the start of indoor season and once again coming near the end. Even at that it’s probably only the one at the start that would matter.

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I voted yes but I may end up re-testing maybe once every couple of months or even less possibly.

I think after a while you can use RPE as a good indicator of how appropriate your FTP number is.

When I say RPE I don’t mean on one single workout, but more holistically, ie am I feeling like sweet spot workouts are taking me right to the edge of getting through (in other words feeling like a threshold session), or is a threshold or VO2 workout unmanageable even with intensity reductions, or vice versa, is workout x, y or z feeling a bit too easy?

I’d love to see what they come up with, but personally think a repeatable test is always going to be better for assessing fitness.

I don’t know really.

Depends how much I trusted the alternative assessment.

RAMP testing is fun, it’s like the new FTP is the prize at the end of the plan.


Start of winter campaign (SS mid vol) I’ll use the Ramp Test because end of the Summer I’ve lost ‘feel’ for turbo and how to gauge a 20min effort. So to put down that first marker the Ramp test is perfect.

Midway through the winter campaign, I’ll consider 8 or 20min test because I’ll be re-acquainted with turbo and have enough form/feel to give it a longer test a good crack. Ramp wouldn’t work for me at this stage because lack of VO2max efforts in Sweet Spot base. I want to give myself the best chance of doing well in a test.

Approaching Spring: After 3 months of consistent turbo I’ll instinctively know where I am with FTP. I might, at this stage, do a 20min test because I’ll have the form and such an effort would fit nicely into season plan.

SUMMARY: I will ever really consider the Ramp as a FTP test at the very early stages of a structured focussed block when I don’t have form or feel for longer efforts. After that I would use Ramp as a form challenge. But I would favour longer FTP sessions.

I did a few hard outside efforts yesterday, although it was on a group ride and not planned.

My last tested ftp (ramp test) from 6 weeks ago was 240. Xertonline estimated my ftp at 235 - previous was 202 but last ride I gave it was a month ago. Its unlikely my ftp dropped over the last 6 weeks, and based on past experience I think Xert estimate would improve if I feed it with a few more hard workouts.