Should you do ramp tests during the middle of a program?

I did terrible on a ramp test after a few weeks off before starting a program a week or two ago. So the workouts ended up feeling too easy. After a week I did a ramp test and added over 10 watts.

I always feel I get the most gains when the difficulty is cranked up gradually.

Should we be doing ramp tests once a week or every two weeks or so to assure that we are cranking up the difficulty during a program? At least if the workouts don’t feel challenging.

I might suggest Ramp Testing daily to make sure each and every workout is pinned.


Just bump up the intensity.

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bumping up the intensity every time is silly

I’m not sure about your logic.

I would hazard a guess the plans are designed in a certain way for a reason. If retesting every week was advisable, it would probably already be the standard. I say stick with your plan until the end and retest.

At the very least, if you’re coming back from a blank without training and you completely blow your ramp test, it would be counter productive to do four weeks of workouts that are too easy. Especially if you are doing traditional base.

So bump up the intensity for one or two workouts and then manually change your FTP accordingly.

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Yeah, its really simple. If you find the first few workouts too easy just change your ftp manually a few notches until you get it that your workouts are pretty hard.

I’ll echo what others have said, if everything is clearly too easy then your FTP isn’t correct.

You aren’t going to gain so much power in a week that adding the (useless) stress of a ramp test is going to be beneficial.

Also, TSS and intensity increase throughout the plan

I was going through SSBLV2 and found the workouts easy, even the over/unders. My FTP at the start of SSBLV1 was 241W, the Ramp test at the start of the second block increased that by just 1W. After about a week or ten days I took a guess and manually bumped my FTP to 250W. This made the rest of the workouts tough but doable, which is what they should be.

One of the later workouts in SSBLV2 is Lamarck. The notes for this suggest that your average power for the four intervals is a good indicator of your FTP value. For me this turned out to be 252W so my guess turned out to be pretty accurate (I had considered bumping by 10W to 252W but then thought that was just ego).

So you could say that my FTP for that second block was “qualitative” rather than “quantitative”. i.e. I was going by feel rather than by the program. Ultimately it doesn’t matter how you arrive at the figure, you’ll soon know if it’s correct, high or low.

Generally, no. If you know you had a bad ramp test, either wait a day or two and do it again, or make your best guess. With a good FTP assessment, one week is not enough time to realize any significant threshold gains, so weekly tests would be a waste of time. On top of the that, the plans already gradually increase the difficulty every week (e.g. the SSBLV weekend workout goes from Baxter to Palisade). If your FTP is in the ballpark, you won’t need a higher setting to be challenged on a weekly basis.

The exception is a situation like yours, coming back from a short break. This year I got pretty sick in January, and I ended up doing weekly tests when I got back on the bike because a) my fitness seemed like it was coming back quickly, and b) I don’t have enough experience to guess accurately. Weekly tests worked out for me in that scenario, just like it worked out for you, but building that scenario into your standard practice wouldn’t make sense.