Ramp Test Tips & Tricks

What I found works for me:

Warmup: spin 5-10rpm faster than normal, get the legs and heart going

During: spin 2-3rpm lower than normal

My stats:
Normal cadence: 105.
HR: do workouts up to 190bpm, absolute max indoors 195-196, max outdoors 202

Why this works for me:
Usually my heart blows up first with the ramp test. So my 2nd last FTP test I decided to spin much lower than normal and see what happens, so I spun at 90rpm.

My legs fell off at ~20:15 while my heart was only 185bpm. The takeway I took from this (?) was to up the cadence a bit as I have wiggle room with HR, but not necessarily as my 105 normal as that’s pretty fast and would like to use my legs a bit more.

My last FTP test I did exactly that, spun at 99-102, HR went to 196 as my legs fell off.

As the start of this post, for me spinning slightly lower with a nice fast warmup seems to work best.

Headline: Is it OK to manipulate your FTP to where you “think” you are before completing Ramp Test?

I’ve been musing; When you’re consistent/on the right trajectory then we know that you hit you previous FTP at 19:30 and anything after this is a new higher FTP, which is the intended/desired execution of said ramp test.

So what if your FTP is wildly different? If you’ve made a big jump or set it too low then you’ll be adding, potentially, minutes to your test which could result in a less accurate result. For example, I broke my collarbone in July, had 10 full days off the bike, then did some light endurance work for 2 weeks before going harder. So when I then did a ramp test I was down to 186W from 220. Big drop. Obviously my body was still healing etc. When I did the next test 4 weeks later, I got to 22 minutes with a result of 206W, I cant help thinking that if I had bumped the FTP to 200 or 210 then I would’ve got a higher result.

So, would it have been better to do that? Or is it “gaming” the system? Or am I just overthinking it and an extra 5-10W on the FTP wouldn’t make a significant training difference?

Any thoughts appreciated. :slight_smile:

This. It’s only 5% of your FTP. Yes in terms of percentage and gains is a lot but in terms of zones and adaptations it’s not. Your PM has 2% measurement error and then add daily variation. Do your work and if you feel FTP is too low bump it up manually by 5-10W. No need to overthinking this and it does not matter in a grand scheme of things.

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When doing your ramp test your FTP should be set as accurately as possible. So if you believe your FTP is wrong for whatever reason, adjust it accordingly. However, in the grand scheme of things, it probably doesn’t matter. It will all work itself out and the ramp test, power meter and your effort all have a margin of error. There isn’t a precise and exact true number. You’re far better off having a FTP that is a bit too low than a bit too high. If the proceeding workouts are too easy than increase intensity a bit.

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This may sound weird, but what helped me was smiling which is more like a fake it till you make it mentality. Faked my body to believe this ramp test is enjoyable and that I’m having fun. The pain is definitely less grueling

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Yup, I use the “smile” technique at times too. I believe there are studies that suggest it has a real benefit to our RPE via actual physical changes/chemicals related to the action. I debated asking the AACC to explore the issue, but never submitted it.

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I use this one tough workouts. And races—the more miserable the better. It lowers your RPE and raises it for everyone else around you. :slight_smile:

I tried that once and someone told me I looked like Willem DaFoe.

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Any tips for those of us with a 1x drive train? I’m finding that I need to cycle my cadence up and down signifies dance every three steps or so to deal with the gaps in gearing. It feels super awkward and distracting.

are you talking about in erg mode or with a dumb trainer/resistance mode? I suggest doing a different test. Some people can get ramp test steps in a reasonable range but IMO its kind of pointless to try when there are other easier ways to test like the 20 min test or kolie moore protocols. My 1x bike on my trainer just sits in the straightest chainline gear

Dumb trainer :slight_smile:
Yea maybe have to try the 20min test then.

idk if i saw someone smiling next to me while I suffered it would lower my moral, so win-win.

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Most helpful post on the TR forum :+1:

Lol, definitely my most popular post! Glad it helped.

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I have my second ramp test in two weeks, some questions since I’m not sure I did the first one right, or I just gave up too easily.

First one was definitely wrong, so I did again and got an FTP that seemed within reason. Still feels low but I’ve stuck with it for now. I read these ramp test build on each other, or do they? On the next one am I just starting from scratch? Or if my ftp was too low on the initial test (which I suspect), will this impact things?

In terms of how hard to go, I remember it being hard but I was still spinning at my normal cadence. Are you going until your cadence drops significantly? The weird thing about my previous ramp test is that it took me until minute 32 to stop. I thought things get hard at 20 minutes?

  • Only in the sense that the initial one starts with an FTP value estimated by TR based upon a few factors.

  • After you get your “official” Ramp Test FTP, the next test you do may be a closer starting point as the estimate in the first example above may lead to particularly short or long (may have been the case for your first one).

  • But broadly speaking, there is no magic in the tests over time or a connection between them other than a starting point.

  • Again, depends on your “real” Ramp FTP vs whatever value either TR (or you?) estimated at the initial test.

  • If things are in line now, that 20-min ball park may be correct. But too many factors at play to know for sure if you will be longer or shorter than that.


All that aside, have you considered using AI FTP Detection instead of doing the Ramp Test?