Ramp tests as regular workouts?

I’ve had a tendency to avoid FTP testing, both with the old 20 minute test, and also with the new ramp test. This is partly because I don’t like the ‘test’ part of it, and partly because I don’t do that many ‘all out’ efforts (I don’t race), so don’t do that well at them. I think this is somewhat due to lack of practice, and somewhat about just HTFU.
All that being said, I’m thinking about trying to incorporate more ramp tests during the build/specialty phases, not to get a new FTP, but to practice the all-out efforts this requires. What kind of workouts could I replace with a ramp test? or do a ramp test + a partial workout?
I’m thinking of on days where there are 110-120% FTP intervals, doing a ramp test then a shortened version of the planned workout after a bit of recovery. Is this likely ‘close enough’ to the planned workouts to have similar training benefits? I think I may benefit mentally/psychically from this type of ‘exposure therapy’.


I cant think of anyone on this forum who ive seen say “i love ramp tests” or “im really good at ramp tests”.

It doesnt really matter whether you’re good at all out efforts or not, the result of a ramp test is a decent indication of your current level.

If you want the best from your training then i would suggest sticking with one means of testing or another. If you really dont want to test then just adjust your ftp based on how (un)comfortably you are completing workouts.

If you like progression workouts then you are better off with Piute and Tower and it’s +/- variants

Well, every workout should have a purpose! I would characterize a 110%-120% interval workout as a VO2max workout. Typically I think of the purpose of a VO2max workout as collecting as many minutes as possible while at VO2max.

If I watch blood oxygen content in my rectus femoris or vastus medialis during fast start VO2max intervals it reaches and maintains a (de)saturated minimum in 90 seconds or less & can be maintained there for a pretty long time at a much lower power output. So I can rack up 12, 13, 14, 15 minutes at VO2max minutes in a pretty efficient fashion. Bilat published a paper where some subjects were kept in a VO2max condition for 20+ minutes (fast start & then reduce power the the minimum amount that would maintain the VO2max condition).

The ramp test does the opposite. After you achieve VO2max power continues to ratchet up which causes kind of a cascade breakdown w/in the muscle. So you don’t accumulate as much time at VO2max in a ramp test. I find usually 4 to 5 minutes at VO2max or above in most of my ramp test attempts.

So you can substitute a ramp test for a regular VO2max workout and still get some VO2max work. Not as much as you would from a regular VO2max workout, though.


Ramp test isn’t really a very good workout, it’s short and you’re only working hard for a relatively short part of it. Just do them as scheduled every 4-6 weeks. Follow any of the Build plans and there are plenty of workouts in there to get you pushing yourself hard. You’ll also find that once you’ve done a few tests and have a good feel for how hard workouts should be, you can adjust your FTP manually without having to test so often.

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Thanks @Brennus - this is a nice explanation of why the ramp test isn’t a good VO2max workout. I think I’ll just stick to the plan, and stop skipping the tests :slight_smile:

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I like Gilbert.

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I love ramp tests