Ramp Test - Significant Decline in FTP (4 weeks apart)

I just finished up Trad Base mid volume and entering SSB 1 mid volume. I had a significant break from riding (3 months) due to surgery. Road consistently for fun for 4 weeks then entered into Trad Base at the beginning of Sept. My initial Ramp Test had my FTP at 330. (Down from high of 360 in late 2017). I just took another Ramp FTP test this morning and felt crappy. Got a miserable result of 302. Not sure if it is fatigue but wondering if I should scrap it, keep my previous test (4 to 5 weeks old) and retest next week. Anyone have advice in this situation?

Some additional context is my diet changed (now vegan) 5 weeks ago. This was not a huge change as I was pretty close to being plant based before the full change. I believe my calories, macro nutrient mix and nutrient density are all good, but I am not militant about tracking. Could the change have such a dramatic impact on my testing or is this more likely a not properly rested issue? Just looking for thoughts.

I have had a similar situation. FTP tests are a measure that we use to establish your training regimen. It sounds like you may feel that the more recent FTP test is aberrant. I would say the BEST test of this is how well you are performing in your workouts. If you keep your FTP the same, ignoring this most recent test, and you are able to complete your workouts without issue, then I would keep your FTP and forget about the most recent. If you find workouts to be untenable, then I would adjust it to the more recent FTP.

Bad FTP tests happen, and in turn sometimes you have to feel it out. Good luck!


First, did anything change between your ramp tests? Equipment the same? Same location? Time of day? Fueling? Temperature? All these things can have an effect. I saw a drop in FTP when my location changed. I was working in an air-conditioned room and saw higher numbers than when I moved to my garage which was a lot hotter.

Second, what did you do in the 4 weeks? Was it real structured work or just riding around on your bike for a month? An FTP over 300 is very high and yes, I could see that dropping 10% from 330 to 300 if you weren’t keeping structured training up.

If you have doubts about the result, you could:
a) Rest and retest in a couple of days
b) Keep the result and do a workout at that FTP, something with some long intervals near threshold. Something like Lamarck, if you can do that easily at 302, then likely your FTP is indeed higher.
c) Ignore the result and see how your go in SSB1. The only concern I would have is that if your FTP really is at 302, you might bury yourself in Sweet Spot Work that for you would be more like Threshold or higher.

If you’ve been completing your workouts based on a FTP of 330, that in itself should tell you more about whether you’ve dropped 30 watts or not than the ramp test itself.

If you’ve been doing SSB 1, you’re basically ignoring any anaerobic work because the focus is on SS. Is that going to have a negative effect on a ramp test given so much of it is based on how much anaerobic power you can put out in those last few minutes? I don’t imagine it’ll reduce your FTP by 30 watts, but it should still have a reduced effect on your FTP if you don’t work that system anymore. Thoughts on this?


Not necessarily. The traditional base rides are around an IF of 0.6. So, a ride with an IF of 0.6 with an FTP of 330 would feel like a ride of 0.65 if your FTP was actually 302, totally doable. At low intensity this works I don’t think the “if you can complete the workout your FTP is correct” works the same way as if the rides were higher intensity.

Thanks for the replies everyone. Great to have others perspectives. The last 4 weeks have been trad base which has a low TSS, so it’s hard to judge the level of actual stress given nothing in Trad Base approaches FTP efforts. Even SSB1 is not very stressful in relative terms so I’m concerned it won’t reveal if I am training against my true FTP when keeping the high ramp test results. Both tests where taken under close to identical circumstances as well. I did do a heavy leg weight training day 3 days prior so there may have been additional fatigue associated with that as well, but 3 days is fairly good recovery time.

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Ditto to “buh-buh”: Is the Ramp test too VO2 oriented when you are in base mode? The Ramp test feels like the last 5 min of a road race, and SSB1 does not train us for that. I tried it last week and it was a disaster compared to six weeks earlier when I still had some race season VO2 capacity. The 20 min test a few days later was better.

Bottom line question: Coming out of SSB rest weeks, should I do a day or two of “openers” to get the lungs and heart ready for VO2? Or should I just do the 20 min FTP test?

My personal experience:
I’ve been doing trad base the last 8 weeks and I just ramp tested today to start trad base III. I’ve been doing low volume because I’m also swimming and running but have seen a mild increase with each FTP test (4% each time). Yes the top end stuff is hard but it hasn’t been too detrimental.