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

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.

2 Likes

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.

I feel like ramp vs 20 min test saga is done. I did the workout Gibraltar today. I wouldn’t have been able to do that at the prescribed intensity if I used what my 20 minute test said was my FTP. I’m now a ramp test believer. It’s all about training in the correct zone; just because I have bigger “FTP” from a 20 minute test doesn’t mean that what I should train at.

1 Like

Just as a marker, I did a 2x8min test outdoors today (nowhere near me I could do 20 minutes).

People tend to think the ramp test favours anaerobically gifted athletes, whereas 20 minutes might work well for someone with good muscular endurance.

Where on the scale does 2x8min lie? The result I got was surprisingly high - though I expect being outside and on a climb would have helped…

I am in the middle of a build phase. One Tuesday I took a ramp test and tested at 274, which is up from 268 for me since last test. Then on Wed morning I did an 11 mile TT on Zwift and my 20 minute power was 302. Using the 95% of 20 min formula, that would put my FTP at 286. So, do I go with the 274 or 286? Today I did my first TR workout at 274. It was a hard workout (Dude +4, so 9x 2:30 at vo2) and I am on tired legs but it was tough. I am more of a TT’er/triathlete so it isn’t surprising to me that I do better on a 20 min test than on a ramp. Thanks!

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

https://www.trainerroad.com/forum/search?context=topic&context_id=34992&q=FTP%20test&skip_context=true

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.

4 Likes

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.

1 Like

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.

2 Likes

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.

3 Likes

“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?

6 Likes

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.

1 Like

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:

2 Likes

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.