Ramp testing leaves me in shambles!

I did a ramp test today (my second recent ramp test after many years off the bike). I gave it my all and it left me feeling shattered (but with a significant 16% FTP bump, from poor to slightly less poor). I had to lightly spin for another 10 minutes after the test to get my composure back and it left me feeling nauseous and just generally “bad”. It is the same type of (awful) feeling I get from rowing a 2k (which is an all out 8 minute effort for me). Should I go easier on the ramp test? Or just do the full hour test?

If you wanted to test a cars top speed would you not change into top gear?

16% bump? Must have gone pretty long, then… 22 or 23 minutes before failure? Ouch. Ramp test hurts, but I’ve never been so crushed afterwards that I couldn’t at least do an endurance 30 minutes, and sometime much more. You didn’t stand at all for it, did you?

No way is the 60 minutes version a good idea. It has uses, but that test will crush you - possibly for a few days.

If you don’t feel THIS close to dying at the end of the test, you didn’t push hard enough.
So yeah, this is very normal.


Yep, made it just to 23 minutes. No standing. I was so crushed that I couldn’t get off the bike for 10 minutes, so definitely no post ramp workouts for me. I don’t know if I’ll even be able to manage much of a workout tomorrow!

I was thinking a 60 minute test might work better for me, it’s more endurance, but seems less likely to fry my CNS. I’ve done similar long maximal efforts (40 minutes) and was able to recover enough to do hard intervals the next day.

Your ramp test went long / you should have tested sooner. You’ll probably find your % gains go down pretty soon, so the test gets a bit shorter. 21 or 22 minutes is amazing progress if you’re testing 4~6wks. I’d give it a few more cycles before trying a different ftp test. Also consider if you’re completing the workouts in the next block.

I don’t even see a 60 minute test in the TR catalog. 100% of ftp for 60min is definitely not endurance… You certainly could try the 8 or 20.

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I would argue that you’re actually better off going until the first “misfire”.

If you don’t care about getting the highest possible result every time, you can actually get more consistent results by just going hard enough that you fail at a consistent RPE.

It takes so much out of you mentally to due a complete blowout test that you might start to become reluctant to start a test.

That said, if you know for a fact that you’re getting a bump, you can reduce the pain you’re going to be in by setting the initial FTP to what you think it will be.


There is one, although not an official test:

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Increasing FTP before testing is a really good idea! Before the test I was running workouts at +10%… if I would have bumped by FTP before the test it might not have hurt so much.

Yeah, the test was about 5 weeks since I started back on TR. It’s newbie gains by virtue of having a low FTP and not being on the bike for so long (but keeping some fitness).

You are right 60 minutes max effort isn’t “endurance”, maybe the term I am looking for is more aerobic? Longer hard efforts have always felt less “intense” to me.

Well, you won’t get your hr as high on 60 min threshold, as from a good excecuted ramp test, so maybe. But the muscle soreness is real af. I did a 20 min ftp test yesterday with a 5 min all out effort (anaerobic clearance) first @ 126% ftp and man, i really felt the same pain as you describe. I couldn’t get off the bike for ten minutes to pick up my stuff (yeah i went for a PR on a strava segment because why not) :smiley:

Not sure anything compares to a 2k rowing test! Ramp test is a relative walk in the park by comparison. Sounds to me like you’re just pretty good at digging deep, which most people with a rowing background are. Maybe too deep - if you struggle to complete workouts on your new FTP, or can only complete the tougher workouts by digging as deep into the pain zone as you did in your test, then that’s not going to be sustainable. I’ve definitely found this to be the case in the past, have tested too well and then had to drop FTP to complete workouts. But it was normally when I was going into the test with too much freshness and motivation and really burying myself. I’ve learnt that I get more realistic (albeit slightly lower) results just treating test day the same as I would any other training day, and maybe also stop just 1% short of total collapse.

Increasing your FTP before testing doesn’t change much about feeling trashed.
If you do a ramp test with a very low FTP, you’ll start lower, and will have a much longer warm-up.
The final minutes count, wether you encounter them after 19 minutes, or after 25 minutes.
The hurting will start at about the same wattage, and will last as long in both cases.
The only difference is that the steps will be a little bit bigger if you raise your FTP number before the test.


Congratulations. I guess you just managed to go deeper than most!