Ramp Test Tips & Tricks

Regarding Erg Mode and gear selection, I’ve also heard this is incorrect and have found similar results in my own testing (to a degree):

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Yup, and discussed around post 72+ by @TonyC, @aboaz and myself.

Gearing DOES matter.


My Issue has been the Breaking when in the Big Ring… you doing intervals like 30/30’s and the Flywheel just spins non stop… thus Small Ring helps out for me!

Yes, I accept that different muscle groups are used, but then Big Ring it for more Steady State workouts!


I tend to start on a slower cadence, then build resistance at lower cadence before increasing cadence, I can deal with the low level muscle fatigue early on and when I get to a resistance somewhere near my maximum tolerance, I up the cadence until I cannot physically do it anymore. I have a Wattbike Trainer so adjustments to resistance are done manually, I try not to get too carried away with time as somebody else said, you can tend to give in before you should. As it says in the book ‘The Chimp Paradox’, you are putting a gremlin in the computer by doing this, a negative response based on previous experience rather than doing what is suggested, test to exhaustion when you can no longer hold the power, as by that time you have already given your best minute power and anything below is wasted effort and won’t influence the outcome of the test.
I always play loud Trance music or something electronic when training, sometimes I go for the Prodigy or Skrillex, at the moment it’s Tiesto.
What works for one doesn’t work for everybody, but there are some interesting ideas

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Anyone have a favorite opener workout the day before a ftp test? I usually try and do Truuli as that’s the opener I’ve found to be helpful the day before events, but wondering if there’s a better one. Maybe Truuli Peak just to get the anaerobic system going?

Not a direct answer for the Ramp Test, but common options for regular races.

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Does it matter when you stop the ramp test or does it just look for the highest 1 minute power across the workout?

The reason I ask is because I did a “test” ramp test ahead of my first real one tomorrow,

Step 14 was 390 for me, I hit 394, I failed on step 15 which was 408, I did however do a couple of bursts after but didn’t stop the workout until step 18. My feeling is it doesn’t matter but I was thinking it would automatically stop it once it detected I had failed.

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The FTP calculation is bassed on the highest 1-minute power in the test.

It is instructed that the test should be done completely in the saddle, and you shouldn’t sprint in the end. Just spin as long as you can hit the targets in the saddle, and end when you fail on the target power, or just cannot spin the pedals anymore.

At the end of the test, every second you survive, will count.


I love how it say’s you shouldn’t sprint at the end, if you’ve done it properly sprinting will be the last thing on your mind. I did it fully seated then began my recovery when I cracked.


The fastest way to force the Ramp into the recovery phase is to stop pedaling or backpedal when you pop.

Maintaining forward pedaling will keep the test running, even if it is lower than your peak.


I believe this depends if you have auto pause on or not. I generally don’t as a rule and so when you stop pedalling the test just keeps on going until you can muster the coordination to press the stop button.


That is probably true. I use autopause.

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Interesting, I might have to turn it on for my ramp test tonight so I don’t get sweat all over my mouse…


Here’s how to calculate your new FTP by hand:

Two parts…

1.) Take the power of the last full minute you completed
2.) Take the difference between the power of any partial interval you did less the power of the last full minute you completed & multiply that difference by the quotient of the seconds you remained on power in your final, partial interval & the number of seconds in a full interval.

Add 1.) to 2.).

Multiply by 0.75.

So if you did a full minute interval at 250 watts then failed 40 seconds into the very next interval at 265 watts your new ‘FTP’ would be:

(250 + (265 - 250)*(40/60)) * 0.75 or 195watts

This is the same method, but with different interval lengths and step size, as used in the Hawley/Noakes paper.

So if you want a 300W ‘FTP’…all you gotta do is ramp up to 400W and hold it for a minute. :wink:


This is actually:
[250*(20/60) + 265*(40/60)]*0.75,
that is simply 0.75 times the average power of the last minute before failure. In other words, 0.75 times your best one minute power.


Mixing a few threads here: Ramp test, Gearing does matter, Death Spiral

Did my first ramp test yesterday (coming from the 8 min world) and overall I think this will be a better way to go for me (pacing over 8 min ain’t no easy thing) - Thanks Nate et al. for more options.

Despite my overall optimism, my 1st test came to a very abrupt and unbecoming end.

  • I’ve got a Tacx Neo, and like others, train in a low gear (36 x 18’ish) to minimize noise
  • My cadence is usually 90-95
  • When I hit the 19 min mark and wattage stepped up, everything came to halt (and I was rolling just fine before that, although suffering of course). My impression is that I stuttered just enough to initiate a death spiral , and the stutter/pause almost instantly became pedaling in concrete.

Can anyone comment

  • Is this a “thing” ? Or is it just my one-off experience?
  • I’m thinking I should try both increasing my inertia by going for a much bigger gear and perhaps getting the cadence up to 110 rpm when I hit the 18:55 and 19:55 marks, etc. Although my concern is that I might be “gaming” my own FTP by cherry-picking a gear I don’t typically train in (I guess the push back is that since FTP tests are compared to FTP test, consistency is the key thing?)

Any input appreciated - Thanks !

I wish I had a Neo to test. But I’ve never touched one. Maybe someone with one can comment better.

Bit trying a bigger gear is a good test. I always suspect the virtual flywheel function on the Neo as a potential issue in cases like this. Ot depends entirely on the programming instead of real physics like a Kickr or similar trainer with a real flywheel.

I’d try to use your normal cadence range and only change gearing. (One variable swap is best for testing.)

Bear in mind that 19:30 is the breakeven point. If you carry on past here you’ll see an FTP increase. That last 30 seconds after the 19 minute mark is going to be brutal if your FTP is set right


I’ve experienced this during intervals. TR ramps up the power about 2 seconds early and sometimes will overshoot by quite a bit. If you keep your cadence constant, it almost feels like someone threw a big ball of mud into the trainer.

You can work around this by anticipating the power change (remember that TR still commands it 2 seconds early) and then briefly increase your cadence by 5-10 RPM. The increase in RPM will make it a lot easier and sometimes even leads to TR undershooting target power. It will go back to normal in a couple of seconds but you avoid that death trap.


All - Huge thanks for the insights - Really helpful.

Tigloo - I think you nailed

  • As Pirnie said, during the 19th min I’m obviously reaching my limit, so I’m pretty fragile. Ordinarily when my trainer hits me with a step-up I’ve got the gas to deal with it (like in Sweet Spot stuff) - During the ramp test though, concrete in the trainer. A dead stop within a couple of seconds from the step-up.

  • Yep, I routinely get the 2-seconds early power hit (Neo controlled via Bluetooth iPhone, Not power-matching which I imagine would only increase the herky-jerky).

  • I did Monitor +1 today, and you can clearly see the “just another day in the office” power overshoots

  • I’ll play around with both cadence and gear choice - Thanks again.


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