Ramp test analysis

Hi all

I just did my ramp test after running a modified LV SSB I phase. My FTP came in 1 watt under my last FTP test from September. Such pain.

I noticed that in this test, everything up to my anaerobic power was actually relatively easy, compared to my prior test. But I failed hard once I went anaerobic.

I was wondering if you all could comment on a couple thoughts:

  1. I remember reading that the ramp test has a large anaerobic contribution. Since I’ve been heavily focused on sweet spot efforts, and given my relatively lower RPE compared to the last ramp test, is it correct that I’m much more deficient in my anaerobic power?
  2. With this latest base phase I added 2 hard, heavy lifting sessions. I noticed an increase in RPE at the end of the last week, but I took an easy week prior to the ramp test. Could the weight sessions have adversely affected the ramp test results?

Thanks all!

I’ve spent more than my share of time trying to read the entrails of a ramp test, especially if the top-number result is less than what I was after or hoping for. (When I’m happy with the number, there’s no need to question things too much, of course.) I don’t think there’s much to be gained from it, though. Ultimately the 1 W decline was the difference between holding on for 3 more seconds. I don’t think you can chalk up 3 seconds to aerobic vs. anaerobic conditioning; some days you just show up tougher than others, or more focused, or the music is better, or your chamois rides up on you … etc.

I would take away the bigger observation that you went to a real bare-bones amount of on-the-bike stress and saw no appreciable decline in your FTP. That’s a solid win, since the reduced bike volume let you carve out time for other aspects of your training. And it’s entirely possible that the SSB1 gains may not be particularly well expressed in FTP so much as in your sub-threshold endurance (i.e., don’t measure yourself just by your FTP). All things to feel positive about, in my view.


Doing more workouts at essentially the same difficult level isn’t the end of the world. You can always try doing some harder workouts at the same FTP setting. Sometimes you go down a few watts before you add even more than you had before.

I still believe it’s easier and more repeatable than a 20-minute test.


Your last FTP test in September was using the same protocol, ie Ramp, or you used a different test method (20min or 8min)?

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Yeah, it was a strange feeling. Even at VO2 I was still feeling good and was aiming for a big increase. But once I hit anaerobic, it felt like my legs couldn’t turn over.

That said, I’m lying in bed now with what Feels like a chest congestion, so that might have something to do with it :sweat_smile:.

Ramp test.

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You could’ve had a good day when you tested in September and a bad day when you tested recently. Maybe you went in with some fatigue or stress that affected your performance.

Tests are useful indicators but your workouts give you the real information - if you feel like the workouts are getting easier and other markers improve (e.g., HR is lower for similar workouts), then you’re improving anyway and could bump the FTP or intensity up.

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I just did the ramp test then sent it over to Golden Cheetah for filing and analysis. I maintain all of my ride files there. The interesting thing on my analysis of the ramp test I did was that my W’ fell to -0.3 so essentially zero meaning when I quit it aligned with the calculated data from GC which I thought was really cool. W’ is sort of the power reserve gauge when it hits zero you should be out of power to continue… and well that made me feel better about the result even though I was thinking maybe I would have gone a few more seconds my body did not agree.


This. @TRusername, I just did a ramp test last weekend at the end of SSB LV1 and I thought I would see a decent bump considering I was nailing the O/U workouts at a much higher wattage than I ever did before (somehow clocked a 290FTP in september when I was thinking I was around 270-280 coming off triathlon season, for reference I was around 285 this year leading into summer).

Somehow only pulled out a 283 after my test last week. Easy to be bogged down on the numbers but when I look back to my O/U workouts, I was holding the power in aero and feeling stronger than I ever had with those, so I am pretty sure I didn’t go down in power. I think its easy to focus on the FTP number but at the end of the day, theres more to training than FTP. If I dropped my FTP to 283, I would definitely think it’s too low. My 290 setting from before seems more accurate according to my hard workouts and I would use the ramp test results as a “guide” rather than a hard number. Always nice to see a bump in fitness but its only part of the story, and like others have said, it could have just been an off day for you or you went in slightly more tired than last time.

Also important little piece to always remember is that power meters are typically made with a 1.5-2.5% manufacturers error, and when you think about it, the difference between say 290 watts and 283 watts is less than… 2.5%! So really, even in my case (although I am on a Tacx neo) it is almost within the manufactures error tolerances. What I am saying is that the number really does not matter per se, but the workouts over time are what matters. You will for sure know if your FTP is way too high, but 2.5% is not even that big.

Don’t get hung up on the numbers. You can always change them later and your race success, while tied to the physical abilities you possess (FTP being part of it), are dependent on other factors as well.

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Thanks for the reply. Ironically, I did indeed over perform on my workouts following the ramp test, but it turns out I should’ve listened to my body and taken the week off as I’m now dealing with a nasty cold.