Should there be a warm up for the ramp test?

We do warm ups for just about every workout, why not the ramp test? Surely it’s a benefit to wake your muscles and aerobic system up ready for what’s about to happen?

By it’s nature, this is a test to breaking point so why is a warm up not included?

Does anyone actually incorporate a warm up ride before the test?

The test does not need a warmup. It was designed to not have/need a warmup. Furthermore, the first 10-15min of the test is basically a warmup. IIRC, you don’t actually get to your current FTP until ~15min?

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I guess my point is that as soon as you get to VO2 max levels, you’re hitting that for the first time completely dry.

My experience is that the first hard interval in anything that repeats is always one of the toughest. Eg. On 3min 120% repeats for instance, it’s not uncommon for me to get to the end of the first interval and think ‘sh*t, I can’t get through all of these’. Most of the time I do get through the session and the subsequent efforts seem more tolerable. Mentally and physically, it seems strange to me that something we’re basing a whole training plan around is something we’re not warmed up for.

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When mentally prepping for my first ramp test, I asked the same question, and many people were doing separate warm ups. I can’t remember the name of it, but I’ve done a 20 minute warmup workout each time. I feel like the warmup period is very important for me, and I can ruin a ride by not respecting this. When I asked the question, someone said to me that whatever I do for a warmup, I should be consistent with that in later ramp tests.

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Davis is the name of the warmup that I use. It starts with some light spinning, then some sweet spot, then a couple of short supra threshold intervals. Enough to get your heart rate up, but not enough to drain the tank.

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I think Coach Chad’s stance is that the ramp test, itself, has a long enough lead-in (i.e. the effort before you really get to the point where you’re working) that a separate set of clearing efforts aren’t needed. You can always extend the initial warmup by as much as you want, but I generally trust Chad to structure the workout so that the vast majority of users will be prepared by the time we get into The Suck.

Of course, if you, personally, benefit from a warm up then you have Davis or Laurel or a couple other warmups (pre-race in nature) that you can use.

I did “LSCT Warmup” last time - 20 mins, including 3 mins near FTP. Works good, not too long, not too short.

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A warmup is not needed for most, as there is plenty of time below threshold, assuming the starting FTP is reasonably close.

That may not be true for new riders (not sure what the default FTP is in that case), or for people testing again after time off that has them well below prior FTP (assuming they don’t manually adjust it down… which is a good idea).

Feel free to add a warmup if you like. But you MUST include it EVERY time you test. It is required to make sure you have consistent testing and evaluation.

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I always warn up. It’s a solid 20 minutes for me to be ready for any significant work

I normally do the first 10 minutes of something easy like Taku or Dans. Firstly this lets my legs wake up; but secondly lets the trainer warm-up too. Once I’ve done this 10 minutes, I calibrate everything, then start the ramp test.

When I’ve done outside FTP tests using the 20 minute protocol, there was always a prescribed warm-up which included ramps up to the expected output, a short sustained effort and a couple of short sprints.

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True - but a calibration of your trainer/power meter will be essential and that often needs warming up for 10 minutes first and stopping mid-ramp might derail the effort.

That varies:

  1. Wheel-off trainers can be calibrated about once per month assuming the bike stays installed. That is a common claim for most. So there is no need to stop in the middle for a calibration.
  2. A power meter is often fine to calibrate at the beginning of the workout (before even starting) and the temperature compensation inherent in nearly all will handle the changes. So there is no need to stop in the middle for a calibration.
  3. Wheel-on trainers should be calibrated after an appropriate warm-up (about 5-10 mins). This can be incorporated in the existing ramp with a short break after the first step if desired. You can also do a pre-warm-up workout as desired.

Just pointing out the fact that there are several ways this can go depending on the specific hardware in use. There is no single requirement.

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Listening to the podcast, I feel like Chad is pretty quick to allow that has plans aren’t for everybody, and that one should listen to ones own body for cues as to what is needed.

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Because I get up at 4am to do my training before work, I obviously also do the Ramp Test very early in the morning. So I need some sort of warm-up to wake up fully and get my legs (and head) in the game. Normal workouts are fine as they have a warm up built into the workout, but the Ramp Test does not. I went into the Workout Creator and created a 10min warm up that I use before every Ramp Test and I find it works very well for me.

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My suggestion would be to do it as is and if you feel your numbers are low and the training afterwards is easier than expected then I would suggest adding a warm-up like Davis prior to doing the RAMP test. I did the RAMP test as is the first couple times and always thought my number should be a little higher. Then I did it with Davis as a warm-up and my numbers seemed more realistic. The goal is to get the accurate number to train from. So as long as that happens do what ever works for you.

Sorry for waking up an old thread but I have a question that comes from this: I recently started working out right after waking up and noticed that I couldn’t complete workouts unless I added 5 minutes of easy spinning at the beginning of the workout.

Considering that @chad’s line (apart from you don’t need a warmup) is that you should test under the same conditions as you train, wouldn’t it make sense to add 5 minutes before the test?

@Bryce?

The Ramp test starts with 5 minutes at 46% of FTP. It adds 6% every minute. Assuming your FTP is near the one set at the test, you get 10 total minutes before passing 82% effort. It is 13 minutes before you hit the set FTP (100%).

That is considered enough warm-up in some cases, and more so since the effort here is a steady, but gradual increase.

As they have said in the past, you can add a warm-up if you want. But you must do that same one before each Ramp test to maintain consistency of results.

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Pretty similar to Rodgers.

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I get that in absolute terms. But presumably, the warmups in the workouts are meant to be sufficient too. If you need to add a few minutes to those to wake up your body (the first 3 minutes of every workout feel like I can barely push z1 that early in the morning), wouldn’t it make sense that you would do the same for the ramp test?

  • That is not necessarily true. Coach Chad has mentioned several times that the warm-ups and cool-downs are sized with respect to the overall workout length. In some (many?) cases, he has very short starts and ends to meet the shorter workouts (often ones 1 hour or less).

  • Those shorter warm-ups in particular may not work well for some athletes (especially masters age). Chad says that people are free to add to either end as they need, and their available time allows. There are effectively minimal negatives to a longer warm-up aside from the increase in time needed for the total workout.

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