Ramp Test Tips & Tricks

Sounds like you did it right.

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That’s pretty much exactly what it should feel like. Generally, my legs are shot first, but HR is right there with it in the red. I know I’m cooked when I just can’t physically maintain the target power any longer even when I’m gritting and using adrenaline to try to push. I’m generally wobbly as hell when I’m done and don’t want to pedal anymore.

Last ramp on a fluid trainer with power meter, I hit 190 bpm, ramp was at 317 and I was bouncing all over the place from 305 to 320, but mostly below, and eventually I just couldn’t get myself back up to 317.

Went back and looked at my previous ramp test from several weeks back, and my power this time was way more controlled, HR last time only got to 185, so I feel like I did better this time and I was totally cooked 1W lower.


Great! Thank you for the response.

Thanks - Super helpful and I’ll give that a shot.
Out of curiosity, do you typically see power overshoots like the ones in image I posted above?
My assumption is that it’s pretty standard, but interested to hear your experience.

Thanks, Mike

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Hi , Yes looks normal . I use powermatch and is more jerky than yours although I improved this by focussing on my pedalling technique.

I think if TR would feature LIVE FTP readings as you do the ramp test, that it would be a great motivator.


Does that mean using a smaller flywheel?

Totally agree!

We can’t change the flywheel size.

We can change the overall gearing we use to drive the trainer. My posts essentially describe using fast/tall gearing of something like a 50t x 11t vs slow/short gearing of 34t x 28t, just to list two extremes.

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I can – I’ve got a KK Road Machine.

Found this comment on slowtwitch:

Think of a large flywheel as simulating riding on the flats, and the small flywheel as climbing a hill.

Is this correct? :man_shrugging:


Ramp tested this morning on my Flux.

I set off at 80-82 cadence and focused on upping that by 1-2rpm for each ramp. Doing this ensured my focus. When I hit 328 the required force required to turn the pedals did feel noticeable harder but I figured that this was down to me, rather than my trainer or TR. fatigue, fitness and ability find you out quickly once you’re above your FTP in my opinion.

I have a tip for everyone… Don’t do your ramp test at 1AM because the evening got away from you while putting up Christmas decorations!

Results involve legs starting to fill with lactate as soon as you hit FTP and a disappointing 3% drop in the final result. I normally work out late in the evening but maybe I took it a little too far this time!


I think for my next Ramp Test i am going to do a quick 15min warmup…

2min @ 40%
2min @ 60%
2min @ 80%
2min @ 100%
3min @ 50%
30sec @ 120%
1min @ 50%
30sec @ 110%
2min @ 50%

Then I will load the Ramp Test…


Have almost perfected my Ramp test orbit on Zwift. Load up Watopia, start the Jungle circuit, do a five minute warmup, takes you just past the Jungle junction. I then start my ramp test, when you start feeling the resistance, you have started the jungle lap and are on the climb out of the jungle, picking off others which helps distract and motivate… finally few minutes comes as you head towards the Jungle start finish line and hopefully a new PR and possible kom jersey… should approach the finish around the 20 -21 minute mark, if you can push to the finish line you should get a decent improvement on FTP…of course don’t stop at finish line, stop when you can’t turn the pedals anymore, but having that target I find helps me!

Made it to 20:37secs last night :slight_smile:


Ok, that’s is one notable exception, as I don’t know of any other trainers with that option. As such, that analysis is largely correct.


Some advice please guys.

I’ve just finished SSBLV2 and completed all workouts with relative comfort. Others talked up the difficulty of Leconte and Mary Austin but I really didn’t find these too bad. My FTP for this block was 255.

Today I performed the Ramp Test and expected to see a decent bump up in my FTP. Disappointingly I only came out with 257. With hindsight, I wasn’t completely rested and I had the sniffles last week. So I am not sure it was my best possible performance.

I also had a similar situation at the end of SSBLV1 when I was disappointed to only go from 254 to 255. That time I wasn’t ill, but again, as a triathlete, I was not completely rested.

Part of me thinks I mentally start to check out because of the 19:30 break even. Another part of me thinks the Ramp Test doesn’t work well for me.

Do I (a) run with 257, (b) retest and push back my calendar, or © run with 265 or 270 and see how I get on?


Go with 257 for the first few workouts. If you find them too manageable then you can up the intensity for a couple of workouts or do the + versions.

If you are regularly adding intensity then it suggests your ramp results are underestimating your FTP which messes with your prescribed training zones.

As a triathlete you are probably more suited to steady state and could opt for the 8 or 20 min tests as an alternative?


Great advice from @willball12.

To add, I’d suggest doing your next Ramp test blind. I cover all but my cadence. I watch that to make sure I am not drifting too far from my preference.

But I find watching power, HR and time (since we know the break point) mess with my head. I am better to just focus on pedaling and stop when my body can’t take any more.

I’ve used this approach the last 3 ramp tests and it really works for me. It’s not a great option for everyone, but if you find you are overly focused on the numbers. You may well be holding yourself back unintentionally.


My other suggestion and what I did on my last test is to do a solid warm-up like Davis prior to doing the ramp test. I think it helped me to get an initial flood in the muscles prior to starting the ramp. But I do like @mcneese.chad suggestion of covering everything but cadence. I have paid to close attention to the time and power numbers in the past and probably bailed out to early.


Found this great video to watch while doing the ramp test. I time it so the 20 mins ends exactly 2 mins (steps) past my expected FTP. Meaning that if I finish the full 20 min countdown I’ll have a big improvement in my FTP. I line up the minutes so they coincide with each step (start the 20 min countdown on step 3 of the ramp). Its a great countdown and motivation. May not be for everyone and requires some for site, but I find it pushes me.

EDIT: my math was off, lol. I just did a ramp test, improved my FTP and had like 7 minutes remaining. Start the video at the begining of the workout instead.