Ramp Test vs 20 Minute FTP Test vs 8 Minute FTP Test

One tip from me: Ramp test favors people with higher VO2 max in my opinion.

As someone who’s better at VO2 max than long efforts, With my ramp test results, I have a very hard time completing the hardest Sweet spot / threshold efforts.
VO2 max heavy workouts however are much easier and I feel like I could add another interval at the end in some cases.

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To throw my 2 cents in, i favor the 20 minute test as a more accurate result for myself. I am more of a TT guy so the longer effort suits me well. I have done my share of ramp tests as well but i typically get lower ftp estimates from ramp tests versus my 20 minute tests. I just had my best 20 minute test today and this is the 2nd straight time ive opted for the 20 minute test instead of the ramp test. In addition to being harder, the 20 minute test also requires more recovery and motivation going into it but for me it is better i think.

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I just did a ramp test and got 30 watts lower than what I have recently been completing workouts at for the FTP target. The ramp test ended because my legs just slowed down till I couldn’t press the pedals anymore, not cardio even though that was pretty taxed. I’m in here for triathlon, so I am also starting to think that the 20 min test is still better for me. I’m planning on doing a 20 min test in two days and comparing results.

But… I also wonder if maybe I should take a lower value because maybe I’m biking too hard? I’m simply happy at this point to see that there are other people like me that don’t feel like the ramp test results in an FTP that feels right for training. I totally see though for traditional bike racing how that might be a really effective tool, because they probably surge more in races compared to a triathlon.

Would love some advice.

New to TR, Did my first Ramp Test on Wednesday March 18th,2020 and got a result of 247W. I definantly gave this everything I could, I physically could not turn the pedals over any more.

I previously have always used the 20 Minute test and my last test was on January 28th, 2020. At that time I tested at 282W.

I have continued training and have not excuse for the 35W drop other than the difference in testing protocols.

My specialty has been Long distance stuff(150+mile/12+hr) so I believe my power curve would be more suited for the 20 minute test. Would that account for the difference?

I started Sweet Spot Base I Mid-Volume with my FTP set to the 247 that the Ramp Test gave me and did the first workout it scheduled(Mount Field, https://www.trainerroad.com/app/career/coryrood/rides/75628142-mount-field )

If you look at the 3 sweet spot intervals you can see that my HR for each interval was 145/147/146. My max HR is 193 so about 75% of max and in my 20 minute test my LTHR worked out to be 174bpm, so working at 83% of LTHR.

These HR values seem low for where I was expecting them to be? Any opinion on this? Should I manually enter my FTP back to the 282W?

Thanks!
Cory

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The ramp test is a max aerobic test, and then uses 75% of 1-min best power to estimate FTP. Think of the 75% as an average, so if you are outside of average then the FTP estimate can be either too high or too low. I’ve also had some ramp test results that are too low relative to longer tests and sweet spot workouts.

In your situation, I’d continue using the 20-minute test.

Or try Kolie Moore’s test protocol, whitch is also very nice workout. I have been using it instead of a ramp test and every workout is better now.

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After making my previous post I decided to do some science on myself. Two days later I did the ramp test a second time and got the same result. I waited two more days then did a 20 min test. I got 242 on the ramp tests and 258 on the 20 min test. My best honest estimate is that four months ago I was round 270 (based off an 8 minute test in December), on account of I could complete trainerroad workouts fairly reliably at that effort. Again, I’m coming from a triathlon background, and even further back is xc running and xc skiing.

So how do I translate this to training? Since I’m doing Olympic distance triathlon mid-volume, I’m going to go with the 258w. This is based on the assumption that this plan is built upon building time trial effort rather than criterium or mountain bike surging capacity, if that makes sense.

So that’s three stress tests in the past week. I thought I went in around 270w , Ramp Test told me 242, and the 20 min test told me 258. I’ll stick with the 8 & 20 min tests going forward.

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Cory, read my recent posts. We’re in the same boat. My ramp test also ended the same as you, my legs became lead and I simply couldn’t turn the pedals anymore. I was curious about this and did one more ramp test and one 20 min test that week. I scored much better with the 20 minute test.

I’m going to stick with 8 & 20min tests because I think that’s relevant to my objectives.

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So on Thursday Mount Field felt too easy for what it was suppose to be with my FTP set at 247. Today I’m gonna do Reinstein with my FTP at 282 and see how it compares.

Obviously I have some work to improve my 1 minute efforts.

That might be the wrong approach. As @bbarrera stated, the ramp test uses 75% of 1-min best power to estimate FTP, this is different than straight up 1-min power. That last minute of the ramp test is usually the last minute after a 3-4min VO2max interval! So you can train true 1min power or you can train for 1min ramp test power. If your VO2max abilities are decently developed that last minute should take care of itself & provide a true-ish FTP. Good luck!

I guess the point I was trying to make was that my over threshold power could stand to improve(albeit that power doesn’t get used much in my riding short of getting away from a loose dog.)

But training that >threshold will help increase your FTP as well as your VO2max and FTP:VO2, all of which will help you when doing those 12hr sub-threshold rides.

Depends on the athlete. For me, I did a ramp test and a 20 minutes all out effort. Difference between the two was 2 watts in favour of ramp. They were seperated by a week.

Yes!! Vastly! I find it depends on the type of rider you are. In order for me to hit 400watts in the final minute of the ramp test to match my 20min test FTP of 315/300FTP, is almost impossible. My ramp test FTP is 275, so 25 watts less. The workouts in the plan for my triathlon training are far too easy with a 275FTP, but more realistic from the 300FTP from the 20min test. Do riders that have a higher anaerobic contribution (more fast twitch muscle fibers) perform better with the ramp test, and riders who are more naturally aerobic perform better with the 20min test?

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I’m replying to my own post to continue my own thought process. I’ve been thinking about this a lot and hopefully someone can find this useful.

Just because I can score higher on a 20 minute test might not necessarily mean that’s what I should be training at. The “common” wisdom here is that people training specifically for longer rides and triathlons score higher in the 20 min test vs the ramp test because they’re more aerobically fit than that high end that the ramp test forces you into. What if it’s the opposite? What if we’re really good at sustaining high VO2 max efforts above our aerobic threshold and have a lower aerobic base? That would mean in a ramp test we enter our anaerobic zone earlier which means we fatigue quickly at high efforts we find at the end of the ramp test.

I’ve had no problems with the short effort intervals in my plan at my higher 20min test result. I’m having problems with the longer sweet spot and threshold intervals. When I sit and think about it I historically don’t have a great conformance to the plans as they progress when I enter my 20 min test scores. I’m going to drop my FTP to between my ramp test and 20 min test result for the remainder of my base phase, and going to stick with the ramp test results for the build and specialty. Maybe this will put my training more in the correct zones and I will develop the different energy systems correctly for my intended plan (olympic distance tri).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyLVIvBidIA <- I think this video does a good job illustrating the bias I’m think I’m encountering.

Good evening and sorry for my english; several years have passed since I used trainerroad. In the past I have always done an 8 minute or 2 X 8 minute ftp test and I found myself very well. From November 2019 I started the new preparation based on the ramp test.
In my case I feel that I cannot easily endure long duration workouts in the ftp area, while I have few problems with high intensity intervals of low duration (about 1/2/3/4 minutes).
Over time, workouts seemed less and less feasible, especially in the last few weeks of short power build.

In summary the ramp test I believe that in my case overestimate my ftp, now 240 watts for 65kg, making me suffer too much in some exercises.

If I think about keeping 240 watts for an hour I think I would not be able to do it now, and I had a confirmation on Saturday with a 58-minute zwift race in which I had 216 watts on average. Maybe I could have given more but not too much.

I want to do an 8 or 20 minute test to compare the values ​to the ramp test.
Can I leave a higher ftp for short intervals in vo2max and reduce the ftp for long duration workouts (10/15/20 minutes and more) at ftp intensity or slightly lower?
Could it be a correct reasoning?
Thank you!
What would you do for me?

I take it this was average power and not NP power. What was you np and it is what the zwift race cost you not a average power. If you rode the effort nice and smooth this is what you could do. Where in a race you going hard attacking then recover then attack which takes more out of you unless it was a TT then np should be only 2 or 3 different

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Average power 213 watts, np 216 watts, take from zwift power site.
My average heart rate was 163 bpm and i have a MHR of 187. I take my maximum heart rate from different xc race.!
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Yes, kind of. You could do something like set the workout FTP to be 105% of your current FTP mark for your V02 Max workouts if you feel those are too easy, and leave it at 100% for the longer duration, or even move it to 95% for long duration! I haven’t seen a way to pre-set an FTP per zone (tempo, sweet spot, V02, etc).

Another thing to keep in mind is in the podcast the hosts frequently say that a lot of users will simply bump their FTP up or down a few points when they feel workouts are getting easier or harder based on perception. TR is a great training platform but you do need to take responsibility of your own coaching in a way while using this tool. From your question it sounds like you already know what you want to try! That’s part of the fun of this too is testing yourself and seeing what works for you for training and what doesn’t work. You are your own lab rat.

I did this too recently. I got 242 on the ramp and 258 on the 20 minute a few days later. Based on (edit - not) being able to complete longer workouts I’ve set my FTP in the middle at 250.

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Thank you very much! On the other hand, as I said, I think I have the opposite problem, but I will confirm it by taking a 20-minute ftp test.