Ramp test under achiever

New subscriber here. Had never done a ramp test and it’s been a few years since I did an outdoor 20 minute ftp test. I’m not at peak shape but pretty decent fitness relative to my past. Zwift and Strava had both estimated my ftp in the 260-270 range. I feel like that was a bit high but I took a ramp test to start my training and it estimated me at 238. I said that’s too low and split the difference at 250. So far Ive completed 4 weeks and thought the workouts were quite comfortable, even Eclipse. Did I give up too easy on the ramp test? Is the ramp test different for everyone? I might not have been completely fresh when I did it but it said I would know when to stop and I thought I did, but clearly 250 would have been a fine result if not a bit higher.

Anyone else have any experience?

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The 20 minute test (or 95% of 20MMP) routinely overestimates FTP.

If you were tracking heart rate and you weren’t within a few BPM of max HR on the ramp test, you probably didn’t go hard enough.

Or conversely, if you truly emptied the tank, your FTP is probably lower than you think it is.

People tend to forget the 5 min effort at about 110% before doing the 20 min effort. Its there to take a bit of the snap out of your legs. If you do that 5 min effort before hand your 20 min - 5% is a good number to use for training.


One clarification, the strava and zwift estimates are not from 20 minute tests. They are based on their proprietary analysis on my rides either in zwift or in real life.

I thin my 20 minute test a couple years ago said 275 or something like that which might be inflated as you say.

What workouts were you doing during those 4 weeks? Is it a training plan?

Sweet spot base

Strava and Zwift are not using anything proprietary. They are just applying basic correction factors to MMP data points and giving you the highest number.

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For many SSB often doesn’t “feel” hard, especially the first few weeks of Part 1. I think the highest IF is around 0.84. It works mostly on pedaling economy and muscular endurance. It gets tougher as the plan goes on and then ramps it up quite a bit in SSB II where VO2Max is added to train aerobic capacity.

My experience - Ramp Test I completed today, with a good bump in FTP I reached a Max HR - so assumed I went as hard as I could. So if you are doing your test with a HR monitor on you could compare your Test HR to your Max. I understand their can be a lag in HR but I would expect you should be somewhere near your max. 95% etc - if your truly pushing yourself hard. For example my Max is 180, and I hit 180 today, my first Ramp test I only hit 171 ~ 12 weeks ago. Since doing my first test I’ve learnt to push myself much harder on the trainer. Not sure it helps…

Agree, my last two ramp tests I exceeded what I thought was my max HR. Thought my max HR was 183 and ramp test made me reach 185. Next ramp test max HR hit 188. Obviously my max HR didn’t increase, but my ability to push my effort into my max HR zone did. Consequently in those two ramp tests my FTP went up.

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Okay, so sounds like maybe I’m not used to pushing to my max heart rate. I looked at the test and seems like I called it quits around 172. I would think my max heart rate is higher than that as a 39 year old, but frankly I haven’t spent long stretches in my anaerobic zone so perhaps its just getting more familiar with how that feels and learning to work harder than that.

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My ramp test last night recommended a -6w change.
I did not max out my HR in the test.
I’ve been crushing workouts, outdoor rides, and Strava rides so I assumed I would see a jump of a few watts.

Things I did wrong:

  1. Did 2 Fatbike rides on the weekend. Both Hard. I shouldnt have tested the day after with no recovery. I probably needed a day off the bikes.

  2. Did 10 minutes in the trainer to warm it up. I believe the test video says “don’t do a warm up”.

  3. Did a spindown calibration on my Kickr after the 10 min warm up. I did not notice with the offset changed. So it’s possible the equipment was updated and comparison to my recent workouts would be inaccurate. Probably minor if at all, but then my test result showed minor change.

  4. Forgot to turn on my fan. This is turning out to be a big deal for me. Maybe it’s just psychological but the wind does help the sweat evaporate (no puddle when finished) so it must help,cool your body.

I’m going to bump my ftp +2w to 280 and start Olympic Cross Country and adjust based on how I feel in the workouts.

Arrggghhhhh…new ramp,test.
I definitely feel like I do better on the old style test.


HI @russell.r.sage also take into consideration that your indoor FTP might be lower , in a lot of cases this happens because cooling of the body indoors is not as efficient . If you do a ramp test use that ftp for the TR workouts otherwise they might be to hard to do. https://www.trainerroad.com/forumt/indoor-vs-outdoor-ftp/1914

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Correct. I hate the way Zwift does their automatic FTP. It simply takes your best 20 minute effort and applies the 0.95 multiplier (for 95%).

It completely ignores the path of using a proper 20-minute FTP test that includes early efforts to form the right result. The Zwift auto FTP will almost always be artificially elevated. It is not a good value.

Sounds like the OP needs to make sure to put an absolute maximal effort in the next Ramp test and make sure it’s a real “failure”, not just quitting when it gets “hard”.

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Russel, I have to update my post after just completing my FTP test an hour ago. I thought my max HR was 188 based on my last FTP test. Nope, lol, just hit a max HR of 189. Tough but I’m happy with the result and had that metallic taste in my mouth for about 10 minutes afterwards.

I had the same issue. My ramp test was significantly lower than my 20min test. I think some of it comes down to which energy systems you’ve been training and if that matches up to the 20 minute or ramp test better.

the first ramp test I did after 4 weeks off I did 3 different times in a week and took the highest one. Like you everything in SSB felt manageable, so much that I’ve done every workout in the aero position on my tri bike, something I have never been able to do before. So if nothing else, that’s been a confidence builder.

I noticed some discussion about Max HR. My max is theoretically 177 based on age - 220. On the ramp test I felt good and could have gone more but my heart rate hit 181, so I called it quits. Didn’t want to over stress the heart. SSB l mid has been relatively easy so far. Can I push beyond my theoretical max HR?
By the way, first week on trainerRoad, so still new to indoor and structured training.

Ignore the HR max calculation. It is garbage and not a good way to set your limits.

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220 minus your age is not reliable. I’ve never heard of anyone stopping because of a theoretical max HR. You, and likely I, have never reached our true max HR. As you get fitter you are able to push closer towards your max HR. Aside from a medical condition recommended by your physician, there is no reason to hold back any effort because of HR.

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My physician is a marathoner, I’m a hypochondriac. I get a lot of rolling eyes, followed by laughter. Then lectures on why I need to step up my running. Thanks for heads up, next time I’ll test the pain threshold.