Ramp Test Tips & Tricks

I was in erg mode (trainer is a Tacx Bushido Smart). It doesn’t feel like it’s suddenly stepping the effort, more ramping them over a second or so (then again the steps are only 15W each, so they aren’t huge jumps).
If you look at the cadence on my test, you can see that it gradually eases up over time - at 10 minutes I’m doing mid 80s, at 16 minutes I’m mid 90s, and I finish over 110. While I can do spin-ups to 150rpm, I can’t hold high cadences and combining that with high power doesn’t work.

If you finish at 110 rpm, then it would appear that you “chose” to stop. If you are being “forced” to stop then your cadence would drop and drop as you fight to grind out every last second. Eventually the power outweighs your ability to turn the pedals at this lower and lower cadence, generally in the 50-60s rpm, thus the spiral of death affect.

When cadence rises and rises in a FTP test the person is attempting to chase the power. Meaning that they don’t want/like the pressure of the pedals to increase so, spinning faster keeps the force the same while increasing power (more aerobic). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but eventually this will come to an end as your ability to keep increasing cadence will become impossible. As in, I can’t increase my cadence at this next step so my FTP test must be over. Your aerobic capacity has reached your limit and/or your ability to hold this high cadence is beyond your capabilities. At this point if you allow yourself a lower and lower cadence (more anaerobic), you should be able to grind out another 0:30 - 1:30.

I would recommend next FTP ramp test to not finish at 110 rpm, but rather at 0 rpm. Once you reach your 110+ rpm and you’re out of breath near the end, allow your cadence to lower as you grind out the remaining seconds. Eventually your legs will fail you and it won’t be your breathing as a limiter.

It’s a bit of a mind shift as people think if they can’t hold a higher and higher cadence then they must be done. However, there are other options if you chose to go down the lactic pain path of lower cadence and high power. It’s horrible, but doable if only for a handful of seconds.

That being said, if you feel any knee/joint pain stop immediately. This is not good pain. High power and low cadence can be tough on the knees/joints.


What gearing are you using for testing?

Are you increasing your cadence to reach the power targets on the steps?

You may be hitting a resistance limit depending on your gearing. Some trainers, including Tacx wheel-on trainers, need faster wheel speed to hit the higher resistance levels.

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Gearing is 50x something in the middle of the cassette. Maybe 16, 18?
I’m not consciously raising my cadence (well I was at the start when it was super low) - I spent most of the test looking either out of the garage door, or at the time ticking away oh so slowly! :wink:

Hmmm. Not sure then. Unless you are trying to increase cadence, I thin you may need to focus on that more and hold yourself at what you want as your rpm cap.

There’s no need to rev that fast unless that is a deliberate goal. And I don’t think it make sense for most people during a Ramp test.

I TT on a fixed gear, so on downhill/wind sections I need to spin fast and produce power. It’s possible that extra training effort on doing that has resulted in me defaulting to either spinning or grinding, and not getting used to settling in around 90rpm. I guess that training isn’t much good for the ramp test! Next time I test I’ll shift up at 100rpm and see if I can grind it out after that . :slight_smile:

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One of the problems you are dealing with is inertia. I was in the same boat as you with a tacx vortex. I had to spin higher and use a larger gear to keep the trainer going.

Problem is when I switched to a wheel off trainer that does not slip or anything my ftp dropped 30 watts. I’m also unable to spin as high as before but now I’m in the small ring instead. Inertia is your friend but it skews ftp tests IMO.


My thought here is that you are raising your cadence to unburden your legs, which shifts more of the effort to your aerobic system, breathing, HR, etc. I find at the end of hard sessions like Spencer +2 and long VO2max efforts, I spin higher because my legs are catching fire. You might find that your failure mode changes, and perhaps you’re able to last a bit longer, if you focus on maintaining a comfortable cadence. It can still be high, but if you normally ride between 95-100, and you try to sustain 110 at high power, odds are your legs aren’t limiting you at that point. Maybe focus the final steps at turning the pedals over more naturally… easier said than done, I know.

Wasn’t sure if I should start another thread, but thought this was as good a place as any.

Has anyone else struck occasional issues with power match and the ramp test?

On today’s ramp test, right at the end, the power match seemed to drop in wattage meaning my last minute was lower than what it would have been had I been in erg mode without Power Match.

My set up is a Kickr v.1 and PM is Favero UNO, connected via Bluetooth for Kickr and Ant+ for PM. I’ve noticed in other intervals the power match will sometimes drop for a bit then pick up and average out so total interval avg power is on target. However at the end of the ramp test it’s a little distracting, and frustrating as the resulting test gave me a 1 watt drop after General Build LV1, despite getting to 20:12s.

Here’s an image of my final minute:

I was on my limit but felt I could have maybe gone another 10-20 seconds, but the distraction of the power not following had me lose concentration and then pull pin.

I guess I could interpret it as power match was working properly and it was just my ability not to be able to hold wattage. But despite my high HR I was feeling ok, and hoping the power would jump back up.

Has anybody had any similar experiences and do you have tips to get around it?

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I have had somtehing a bit similiar happen, but with a tacx flux. I reached the wattage roof for my gearing without noticing and the flux could not raise the power when going to the last step. As I was doing the test blind i did not notice until afterwards. In my case it had nothing to do with power match. I did som maths and raised the ftp a tiny bit.

Anyway, just raise your ftp by 1 or 2 or 3 or 5 if you feel like.


Yep, as @stefanf has mentioned above you probably hit your wattage ceiling due to gearing. Its happened to me on my Tacx Flow many times. I know what sort of gears I need to achieve certain powers now so I use the gears as necessary. Most workouts I don’t need to change but any with sprints or stomps or higher power I need to change to something more appropriate (this is because I like using the “easiest” gear possible to achieve the required wattages)


Ugh. The last few ramp test attempts I have been completely unable to mentally make it a reasonable way in to the test. I can tell from how not-dead I feel at the end that I just gave up. :stuck_out_tongue: Need to either figure out how to apply some of these tips or try a different test approach.


I have a playlist that ramps up and up and up until Linkin Park’s One Step Closer kicks in at about 18:15 into the test. That song is about 2:40 or so, so if you make it through, your FTP will go up a bunch. Just have to make it partway in to break even. But basically the goal is to get through as much of it as possible.

Bonus feature on the playlist is that you don’t start testing till the second song, to make sure Spotify isn’t weird or on shuffle.


I find this to be a factor too. I’m contemplating going back to the 8-minute test because varying stress levels at work seem to affect how much of the ramp test I can gut out. I’ve had pretty wild fluctuations recently.

With my trainer there are other issues. Resistance isn’t always the exact same and as my ftp improves, this compounds the extent to which I have to shift and affects which step i have to do at what cadence. Negotiating all that makes it hard to actually reach muscle failure and I am not even sure I ever have. Although once or twice I found a new max hr.


Does it matter if you stop and stretch during the flat bit prior to the ramp? I do my weekday workouts first thing in the morning, and my hamstrings were super tight when I woke up, but I didn’t have time to do a short warmup workout prior to the ramp test, and I don’t think stretching straight out of bed is particularly helpful.
Everything tightened up as I hit 120% FTP and I just caved and quit.

I do this too. Have a banger at the 18:00 min mark!

anyone care to share there spotify ramp mix

There are a bunch over here!

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A post was merged into an existing topic: Share your Ramp Test playlists!

I have no tip or tricks. My ramp test blow chunks, first test 150 FTP, second test after about 6 weeks of SSB training 154… Yeah I suck.

That being said, my outdoor FTP went from
151 March 2019
171 April 2019
159 May 2019
180 June 2019 now.

I can’t test worth a darn on the trainer, but my outdoor riding is improving drastically. So much so I have gone faster on my same course I ride frequently 2:05:00 was my best time before I started the SSB1 training. My latest ride on the same course was 1:56:33, that was a huge improvement. So I am not going to get caught-up with the FTP number. The consistency of the TR workouts matters more than just one FTP Ramp test number. As long as the workouts are tough and not easy for me the FTP number from the ramp test is working just fine for me.