Ramp Test Tips & Tricks

I’m getting back into structured training after six months of roughly 2 indoor and 1 outdoor rides a week (4-5 hours). I have a 100 mile/4.5 hour event on Sunday but am thinking of doing a ramp test today* as I want to jump back in a few days after I finish. I’d also like to know where I stand before this event.

Think it’s too premature or will fatigue me too much? I last tested at 297 watts but I would wager I’m around 270-280 given my Wattbike numbers.

Edit: By today I meant tomorrow

The ramp test is not such a huge stress it would have any impact on your weekend. Hell, unless you follow it with something hard it probably wouldn’t have much effect on tomorrow!

My thoughts - plus not a bad way to keep the legs open. Guess I’m testing… :grimacing:

I was in the same position as you moving from using kickr as power source to the assioma duos. I found that my old FTP of 246 using the kickr equated with 224 when using powermatch and the Assiomas. Interested to hear your account?

I just started cycling after 9 years of no riding. I had been riding for about 8 months, mostly 3 x week, and had done one Gran Fondo at 130 miles when I injured a knee. After 3 months or so off the bike, I signed up for Trainer Road and got a 2017 Wahoo Kickr. My first ramp test put my FTP at 150. It climbed steadily to just over 300 through Traditional Base 1 and 2. I got some Garmin Vector 3’s and found that they didn’t report nearly the power that my Kickr did. I went back and forth with Garmin and eventually returned the pedals assuming that they were defective. I bought some Assiomas, and found the same as the Vector 3’s. This made me look at the trainer. I ended up doing a Factory Spin down after communication with Wahoo. The Assiomas and Kickr were in pretty close agreement. My FTP dropped to 60% of it’s previous value. If you calculate back I started somewhere around 90 coming off 3 months of inactivity. I just did a ramp test after about 10 wks of Polarized training, current FTP is 188. I’m hoping to get to 3 watts/kg, about 210. By the way, I"m 65.

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Just wanted to share my experience. I feel like the Ramp Test has NEVER been a good representation of my FTP. A few months ago my FTP was 242 and I did a Ramp Test after the entire Half Iron Man Build plan - in which I worked harder than I ever have before on the bike! - but the test indicated my new FTP should be 240. A reduction. I was really disheartened. But then for the final 3 months leading into my half iron man I worked with a private coach who, after observing my trainer workers for a few weeks, raised my FTP to 252. The Build program in Trainer Road HAD worked - but I just wasn’t able to show it in my ramp test. Failing to demonstrate my growth in the Ramp Test was really disheartening, so it was really relieving when my coach let me know my FTP was in fact higher than what the Ramp Test said it should be.

Fast forward another few months - I finished my half iron man a week and a half ago, and I have a couple of weeks before I’ll start a full Base/Build/Speciality plan into a Gran Fondo I’ll be doing in April 2020. I have a bit of wiggle room before starting, so thought I’d try BOTH the Ramp Test and then the 8-min FTP test (48 hours later) to compare my results. Here they are:

Ramp Test - suggested new FTP - 230
8min FTP Test - suggested new FTP - 250.

I REALLY think the Ramp Test doesn’t work for me. 20 watts is a huge difference! I’m better at sustained power than I am for V02 and anything higher than 120% which means I really struggle in the ramp test.

In other words, the Ramp Test is just not for me. I understand it’s easier to pace the Ramp Test (because you can’t pace it really!) - but for me, I do WAY better (20 watts better) on the 8-min test, and suspect I’d be really similar on the 20min test. If you’re disheartened by the Ramp Test, it’s really worth taking the time to do an 8 or 20-min test instead - and you might want to stick with that from now on.

For those that are interested: the 2 tests were at identical times of day, with identical fueling, and identical meal the night before.

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Great post. I think this may be happening to me as well. Keep hitting PRs outside and my recent indoor workouts have been manageable. Tried the ramp test a few days ago and it was even a few watts lower… seriously considering giving the 20min test a try again…

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Peter, interesting post, thanks for sharing.

Do you use HR or just Power. Based on the 8min test 230 is probably high SST for you :slight_smile: Would be curious if SST intervals would then equal a SST style HR for you too. That should confirm it.

I really struggle with ramp tests too. Normally I fare a considerable amount better (~10%) on a 20 min test. Every time I have an FTP set by testing I find that my first Zwift race after that results in a suggestion of raising my FTP to 15-20% higher than my most recent test-based FTP.

…having said that I also find that training at the race derived FTP is close to impossible with good form so I stick with the less flattering, but more realistic numbers I get from the 20 minute test.

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I use a power metre. Powertap P1 pedals.

Try with “Blackened” probably the fastest tempo Metallica song.

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Outside and inside FTP can’t be compared. Usually inside is lower. For various reasons. One is cooling.

As for the ramp test. Completing 19 minutes will give you an increased FTP. It’s very important to force yourself not to quit by any mean necessary. Internal dialog, kids cheering you up once I reach FTP, and wife yelling at me once the going gets tough and cadence drops below 90 and I’m about to quit.

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I know it can’t be compared. but when you do a ride outside for 2 hours and your IF is 1.1 like it’s happened to me few times and I don’t end up wasted, there’s got to be increase in FTP… also, as I mentioned, being able to complete indoor workouts consistently makes me believe that I should try another method for testing.

19:30 is actually the “break even” point in the Ramp test where you will equal the current FTP (assuming no weird power fluctuations), so you need to hit 19:31 to gain FTP.

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Right!

I’ve heard about the 19:30 point. But I just did a ramp test with a FTP set at 280 I rode for 24:21 and my last minute segment that I reached was at 380watts (although I only got like 15seconds it so into it and was fading). But that’s still something up around 130% of FTP.
Trainer road then spits out my new recommended FTP if 275! Like! Wth.

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Can you share a link to your Ramp Test so I can review it?

  • The total Ramp test, when you include the cool-down, will always be longer.

  • As such, even if you hit something like 20:00 before popping (which would indicate an FTP increase), the total workout length will be longer, 25:00 in this example.

  • Purely guessing, but since the Ramp is designed to include a 5 minute cool-down by default, if you subtract that 5m from your 24:21, you get 19:21.

    • That would be short of the 19:30 target to match the current set FTP.

    • So, based on your statement that you got 275w from a 24:21 (19:21?) effort, I think that makes perfect sense.


Remember, the 19:30 goal/target is the point that you are at when you pop and stop pedaling, not the total Ramp test time.

  • That full test time will almost always include the cool-down, unless you deliberately close the test early.

This potential misunderstanding is another example why I think fixating on a target time can be problematic. It can work, but you have to know for sure how it works, and also that the target is motivational rather than detrimental.

Ah that probably makes sense then.

My personal trick:

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So, that will end up being 1:00 segments counting down to 0:00 and repeated?
(Once you exit the initial step that is 5 minutes long, which I am guessing is the current block.)

Just shoot for the next minute and go as long as you can, I guess. Interesting choice.