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

Use the ramp test. Also the search function of the forum.


I think one thing you have to be cautious of sometimes is using Zwift races as FTP. Is that level a realistic level to train to? It most likely will be but beware of that being a one off effort where you could have been on absolute top form.

I’d be hesitant to use zwift races to set training. I did 328W for 27 minutes in a zwift race. It SMASHED PR’s for me. Intervals.ICU gave me a 317W threshold estimate. Trying to train at this though is absolutely just not going to happen. A ramp test 3 weeks on from this is at 305W and I haven’t held 300W for 20 minutes since that race either.

My understanding is that if you don’t do the 5 minute “blow-out” effort first, Allen’s approach of taking 95% of your 20 min power is likely to overestimate your FTP.


Agreed. It is a common mistake to ignore the impact of that effort. You can’t use the formula if you don’t follow the actual test procedure.

I’d be inclined to do the 20-min test protocol. FTP is about training levels below FTP, so your results on Dade +4 aren’t relevant. Your Zwift TT can provide better guidance but make sure you are looking at average power (not normalized).

Ramp tests are designed to test maximum aerobic capacity. And like any protocol they have errors when used to estimate FTP.

Since you do TTs and should know how to pace efforts, its better in my opinion to stick with the traditional 20-minute protocol that is available in TrainerRoad’s library.

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How bad would it be if I alternate between ramp and 20 min test.

Ive been challenge by a friend to not be a wuss and hit a 20 minute test.
He thinks the 20 min is more accurate for a person like me (a triathlete).

Since i started on TR ive only done ramp and it has work for me. Not sure how would i react if my power jumps too high or too low after a 20 min test

“Bad” is relative. In general, it’s good to use the same test (no matter which you choose) so you are tracking your progress with the same “tape measure”. You will also learn how to perform any test better each and every time you do it.

It’s not recommended to switch back and forth between tests. It’s OK if you want to try a different test. Upon completion, evaluate if you think it is a test you like and will serve you better. All while keeping in mind the main point of testing is to set training zones.

There are endless threads and discussions about people who test differently between the various tests. You can go blind reading the “this one works for me, that one doesn’t…”.

Boiled down… pick a test, learn that test and how it works for your zone setup, and stick with it.

You have a good baseline for what your FTP estimate is doing the ramp, so try the 20 minute test. If nothing else it’s a good thing to learn what that type of pain is like v. the ramp and it’s also a good workout in and of itself if threshold training is of importance, also learning to pace at that effort could be helpful to you. But beating the drum: just pick one that you prefer and stick with it. I prefer the 8 minute test.


I have recently become aware that I test too high on the Ramp Test. Prior to the Ramp Test being available, I used to use the 8’ test and found that both correlate pretty well. Fast forward to now and I’m burning out and realizing I peaked midway through Build phase.

What I found was that the ramp test gave me a higher FTP value so all of my Sweet Spot during base was closer to FTP. I got HUGE gains through base season (295-332) which took me from about 4.0 to 4.6 W/kg and I thought maybe it was due to the additional volume. Maybe so, but half way through build I tried a 20’ test in the mountains and could barely hold 332W for the actual test. Tested again a few weeks later and couldn’t even finish.

What I think is the cause is that I have a higher than average anaerobic contribution to efforts less than say 10 minutes and therefore the Ramp Test provides a much larger FTP than I capable of holding for even say, 30 minutes. Having done exclusively 20’ tests recently, my sweet spot intervals feels more manageable (who knew sweet spot wasn’t supposed to kill you, huh) and over-unders still suck but I no longer get that VO2 breathing I used to. They just hurt the legs mostly.

So from now on I’ll probably stick with the 20’ test or use a different multiplier for the Ramp Test result. It’s too bad, I liked having big results from the Ramp Test.


“work for me” is all relative, something might work better and you’ll never know.

Not sure how you would react if discovering a ‘can’t ignore it’ difference between the tests?

As I understand it, ramp tests have been around a long time and were designed to estimate maximum aerobic power (MAP). There is a meta-analysis I posted somewhere on the forum that reviews all of the science behind step sizes (e.g. 1-min vs 2-min vs 3-min). So even within the narrow scope of using a ramp test to determine MAP, I don’t believe there is agreement on “the best” ramp test.

For example GPLama blog post + video covered a test used by Dr Stephen Lane in Australia and it uses 2.5 minute ramps to calculate MAP. Dr Lane then estimates FTP, and uses that as pacing strategy for the athlete do a 20-minute FTP test.

Here is my take:

  • relying on the ramp test is putting faith into an “estimate of an estimate.” Better to use the ramp test for what is was designed to do: easier way of estimating MAP versus doing an all-out 5-min effort.
  • the classic 2x20 threshold workout is a classic for a reason, it gives a strong training stimulus. If you can pace one of these, you can pace a 20-min all-out test for estimating FTP.
  • periodically do a 20-min all-out test
  • periodically do longer threshold efforts (Kolie Moore or otherwise) and post 'em in the FTP Challenge thread
  • use other estimates to help triangulate (race files, etc.)

Don’t take the easy way out, you are working hard following a plan so why not incorporate efforts that help you triangulate FTP, serve as good workouts, and help you develop a feel for riding at your limits?


What i mean with this, how my ego will react to say a drop of 10% ftp and how my legs will react to training if i get a jump of say 10%.

But it all make sense.
I do want to try a different thing and see if there is a difference.

Im not trying to take the easy way out. I do like (loathe) the ramp test.
its super painful and by the end of it im suffering.

I still have a week to figure it out.
But as right now im inclined to do a one time (maybe) 20 minute test and see if that works for me.

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Thats what I thought you meant. Look at it this way, if you don’t win a triathlon event Is your ego going to take a hit? Park your ego, understand what each test or estimation technique was designed to do, and make the call as after all you are your own coach. :+1:t3:


Well… That was a disaster. Ftp went down.
But I don’t think is fully my fault… (Maybe it was)

#1 hot as balls in the room…house was 80 at start I crank the AC but it was not enough.

#2 no the right cassette. There is a huge gaps in the gears. I was going from 240w at 90 rpm to 290 at 85 rpm.really pushing (read non sustainable). So I kept the slightly lower gear and up the cadence to 95 but even then was not enough to reflect a real change in ftp. If I understand correctly the number is 95of the 20 min average. It was hard to keep basically 106 ftp to see an improvement of 5 or 6 w. I would need to spin at over 100 rpm for the 20 min to achieve that

In conclusion I think I will set my ftp to like 246 and call it a day…

Any ideas?

Which trainer do you have? I’m assuming you used the TR 20-minute test.

Yes 20 min test

For me, the ramp test has consistently over stated my FTP.

I’ve discovered this when the resetting FTP and then failing or struggling badly on sessions where I know from past experience it didn’t ought to be ‘that’ bad.

I suspect the reason is primarily due to my short power being (relatively) less-weak than my endurance.

Doing an on-the-road full 20 minute test (following the correct protocol) is challenging (mostly to find the optimum route) but has consistently provided more realistic numbers.

This is just for me and I think the main ‘take home’ point I’ve been able to gain from this thread (and others on this forum) is the accuracy of these tests versus another is heavily dependent on the individual’s fitness and ‘make up’ so a certain initial period of trial and error is inevitably necessary to see what ‘fits’ best for each individual.

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None of these protocols will give the ‘right’ answer. The wattage number you get out is a guide for setting zones, so even if you used a different protocol every time you tested it wouldn’t really matter if you complete the test to the best of your abilities - same as it doesn’t matter if you are doing a sweetspot interval at 90% or 87% or 94%, it’s just a number in a zone and the training adaption is not going to be big enough for you to notice, compared to workout compliance and relevance to your goals.

Just do the protocol you like the best and can repeat without mental hangups or pacing issues. If you are training consistently then your FTP is going to move pretty quickly anyway, so stressing about it being X or Y is pointless.


Agreed. I think the entire discussion around whether FTP tests are accurate is a bit of a red herring. All that matters is whether it gives you a suitable training benchmark.

Unless you’re close to your physiological limits and extremely highly trained it’s a constantly moving target. Short of lab testing your training will tell you. I’ve been pretty successful through my latest 4.5 weeks of ssbmvII. My “true” ftp is about 11-12 watts, or 3% below my training ftp. On workouts like Mary Austin or Mcadie I can really feel the burn dissipating just below that point, and it’s where my heart rate might go down even at the end late in those sessions. Less so when just above it. That doesn’t mean my training ftp hasn’t been appropriate.

ok, that test switches to resistance mode if you have a smart trainer and normally use Erg. Which trainer do you have?

This doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve used a 50 and 53 chainring up front, and 11-28 and 11-32 cassette. Maybe your resistance wasn’t set high enough? I don’t know.

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