Ramp Test : Just Doesn't Work For Me

After many attempts at the ramp test, I find I simply can’t achieve the FTP that I can with the 20 minute test. Firstly, I’m puny, 52Kg, therefore can’t generate big power values. For the 20 minute test I can achieve an FTP of 225W, requiring a 20 minute output of 237W, this I can achieve and subsequent training using this FTP would suggest it is representative of my capabilities as I can achieve the necessary intervals, rarely needing to bale out of a workout. During the ramp test, I can only achieve around 270W, giving an FTP of just over 200, simply because I don’t posses the physiology to put out wattage greater than this magnitude. Does anyone else find this is an issue ?. I would much rather perform a ramp test than the 20 minute test however only if it gives a true representation of my FTP for training. I don’t want to drop down to 200W and lose the adaptation I would achieve using 225W.


I took a peek at your profile and when you were using your 20 minute test FTP, you failed a good amount of your indoor workouts. If you are regularly failing or turning down the intensity of the workouts, you are missing out on more adaptations than if you had a lower ftp and completed the workout.

My recommendation would be to try following the plan you’ve selected with the Ramp Test ftp and then re-test using the Ramp Test again and see what your workout completion looks like. I’m guessing you’ll have a much higher completely rate and see an improvement the next time you do the ramp test.


A couple quick thoughts:

  1. The ramp test is relative. The fact that you’re lighter weight should not in itself mean that the test won’t work for you. Everyone that does the ramp test should hit that ceiling where they just can’t put out any more power.

  2. The test will not work for everyone. On average, TR has figured that about 75% of a rider’s maximum 1 minute power on the ramp test equates to their FTP. This is just an average, though, and not everyone is going to fit into this neat little box.

  3. If the 20 minute test gives you a better result and you can back up that number in your training, then by all means go with that number. Maybe a different solution would be to perform your 20 minute test and ramp test close together (not on the same day) and then work backwards to figure out the “correct” percentage based on your maximum 1 minute power.

  4. Such a big discrepancy between your 20 minute test and ramp test makes me wonder if something else could be off here. Are you going as deep as possible on your ramp test until you absolutely cannot, no matter what, turn the pedal again? For about 2 or 3 minutes the ramp test is really not fun, but you have to gut it out.


That’s the sensible approach. I guess it’s just difficult to accept a lower FTP however as you say, better to start lower and build up rather than failing workouts and/or reducing intensity. My last event was back in September and since then I’ve been sticking to outdoor rides, nothing structured, so a drop in FTP is to be expected.


FTP ebbs and flows with the season! Mine is down as well from peak season, but when I look at where I started the previous year, I’m doing just fine.

Every year is a new opportunity to get the fundamentals right for the next season :grin:


I think it’s just wishful thinking on my part that my FTP has remained at 225, my “season” finished in September therefore I haven’t been following structured training since then, just riding outdoors. I’ll accept the drop and train to the new number and hopefully build back up with time. I’m just starting back into base anyway so I should expect a lower starting FTP.

You’re still almost at 4 w/kg so I’m not sure what you’re complaining about haha

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I think that’s why I was more annoyed about it, dropping below 4, but it’s totally irrelevant going into base training so I’ll man up and take the hit :slight_smile:


FTP is just a number.

My Opinion:

  1. Swallow the pride, ego or whatever hangs on that silly number.
  2. Take that value for what it is.
  3. Apply it to your training.
  4. Crush your workouts to their fullest of intended intensity and duration (with minimal Intensity decreases or back pedal breaks).
  5. You will improve from your current state by doing things as intended rather than tweaking and likely causing problems while chasing some old value.

As others have said - base your ftp on whether the workouts ‘feel right’…not whichever test gives higher number (however hard physiological that is!)


Not sure if its relevant to you but this is something to contemplate and a discussion I have had with others. I like a long warm up with some ramp ups to flood the muscles briefly. I feel I can push myself harder by doing this. The 8 and 20 minute has that built in but the ramp test does not. I tried this on the last go around, I did Davis prior to the Ramp test and was happy with my results. Everyone is different so do what works for you.
As others stated its just a number to train at and as long as you stick with the work ahead and can complete it. You will get stronger and faster. Good luck

This sums it up perfectly. You can pick the higher or lower FTP number as your starting point but you’ll know yourself if the workouts are too easy or too hard as a result

I made exactly the same mistake earlier in the year, stuck a ftp in I thought I ‘deserved’ and then started bailing on workouts…


During Beta Testing of the ramp test, I was the same and didn’t trust the number. However, I also had to pause or lower intensity of VO2 Max workouts (in particular). I was pretty much one of the people that was talked about in episode (I think) 185 of the podcast.

Since trusting the ramp test, I can complete all workouts at 100%. fwiw my FTP was also static during the period of sticking with my 20 minute test result. Since going with the ramp test, I’m back over the level I had stagnated at.

My conclusion has been (n=1), that just because I could complete workouts up to and over threshold, doesn’t mean I was training in the intended zones. i.e. were my tempo intervals really sweetspot, my sweetspot really threshold etc.? I could manage up to VO2 Max, but that doesn’t mean I was doing the plan as intended.


I just did the Ramp Test and decided not to look at the screen as I thought I could go longer just concentrating and listening to my playlist. I am on a Wahoo Kickr in Erg Mode. The last two steps went below the power required. My cadence did slow down, but I thought in Erg Mode, it would keep the same power threshold? I was trying to use all my glycogen up!

Can you share a pic or link t o the test for review?

How do I pull in the pic of my test?

Any standard screen shot method, depends on the device you are using (mobile, pc, mac, etc.)

I have the reverse problem. I am a big guy (250lbs) and coming back after a long injury break. I find the ramp test overestimates my FTP and I struggle to complete the workouts.
My working theory is that there is a mismatch between my fitness and my leg strength. Has anyone else had this experience?

The ramp test is based off off previously developed max aerobic power test which was designed to give estimate of vo2 max. Ftp is a surrogate for lactate threshold, a slightly different physiologic marker. They are guesstimating ftp because vo2 max correlates with this. If you are having big discrepancies but are testing correctly you should probably use ramp test ftp for vo2 max work and 20 min ftp for sweet spot work. Also, a big discrepancy may mean one area is just undertrained, especially in the new athlete.