Maybe they haven’t done a scientific study? This is a company selling a product. There is no need for them to do a study, or to publish it.
Yep, I understand this. Any evidence would be helpful, actually. I don’t even expect TR to have their own study, but at least show their references of studies that support their decision to go with the ramp test. I understand that the appeal of the ramp test is that it is easier for some riders, but I’d hope that the basis for using it is not just because it is easier, but because it is also as reliable as other tests.
I totally get your point with this thread and would really like to see some data as well but “just because it is easier not because it is as reliable” might actually be the point imo.
In my opinion the appeal of the ramp test is that it’s hard to screw up so that makes it more reliable/reproduceable.
Meanwhile some dude uses ramp test only and destroys everyone on the field. I really think people over-obsess about this stuff. oh well…
In one of the podcasts around the time that TR switched to using the Ramp Test by default for the training plans they discussed why they use it and how they settled on the resulting calculation - basically Nate was the guinea pig for that bit. One reason for moving away from the 8min and 20min protocols was that unless you’d a good idea of your FTP then you could be starting way too low or high and you wouldn’t get a valid result. They also analysed the post test workouts to see how many people modified the intensity or cut short the workout and compared that compliance with those doing the previous tests.
Whether taking 75% of MAP is absolutely correct for most people is another matter. The FTP value doesn’t have to match that from other methods since it’s only meant to be used within TR workouts. I’ve a strong suspicion that I test about 2-3% low on the Ramp test but that has come from understanding how my performance on subsequent workouts matches what is meant to happen. I.e. doing things like backpedalling “should” be necessary in one or two workouts because you are on your limit and I’ve never had to do that.
What I’ve not done is a Ramp Test and either an 8min or 20min test in close order to check what difference if any there is in my FTP.
- Well, “easier” encompasses a range of more specific issues, that in their eyes, makes the ramp a better test than the others.
- Look no further than their own introduction to see the several points they consider as positives about the test.
Here is just the bullet point headers from that article:
- Pacing is a Nonissue
- You’ll Never Have to Retest Due to Failure
- You Don’t Have to Switch Trainer Modes
- Less Overall Stress on the Body
I use and appreciate the ramp test. I have learned that it is a more consistent and repeatable test for me. I absolutely struggled with the mental aspect of pacing in the other FTP test, and either under-performed or blew up.
Those poor results always lead to uncertainty and required guessing to estimate what I had hoped to learn from the test, but failed to since I didn’t complete it as intended. All user error, but a difficult test procedure that leads to inconclusive results is a poor test. I got some good results on occasion, but I mainly ended with more questions than answers.
That is not true for me with the Ramp. I know within a few seconds of the test that I hit the right effort and have a reasonable starting point for my new FTP. I watch it in the subsequent workouts, just like I did with the prior tests, but I have it set more closely with less fudging by using the Ramp vs the other tests.
We know from experience that the Ramp is not perfect for everyone, but no test is. I think the Ramp offers a great deal over the other tests and continue to use it because of that. However, people are free to use any test they want, and only need to try any of them.
There is not limitation to what TR users have access to for testing. If there is doubt about the Ramp, simply pick one of the others and continue with that.
Well it’s not as if users HAVE to take the ramp test. One can set their FTP at whatever value they want, derived from whatever test they want. Or just make up a number. As an aside, the ramp test being easier is likely WAY more important than its reliability. It’s a tradeoff.
@krispenhartung I suspect correlation between TR MAP-based FTP estimate and actual FTP or actual hour performance is not that great. For a few reasons:
1.) TR is pretty honest with their user base. They never talk about this. We talk about it a bunch. What does that tell you?
2.) A progressive ramp test is designed to estimate Maximum Aerobic Power, or MAP. Pegging FTP at 75% of MAP is using an estimate to make an estimate. Usually such things don’t have good R^2.
3.) There is a lot of data from other sources suggesting that individual variation from the 75% rule can be substantial. Anecdotally, I think dialogue on this forum only serve to support this notion.
MAP-based FTP is a tool. It designed primarily to improve testing compliance & I think it’s good for that. Directionally, it’s a good measure of what’s going on with FTP. On an absolute basis, it can certainly OVER report FTP and UNDER report FTP. Individual users should be aware of where they sit on that continuum and either adjust plans accordingly or take steps to correct deficiencies (see my hour of power threads for more thoughts on those steps).
I am going to reach out to a few of my sports scientist friends and see what I can dig up, just out of curiosity. I think it is likely someone has done a study on this. I see a lot of research comparing FTP tests to the more rigorous lab tests and protocol, but not a lot comparing the various FTP test protocols used by the general cycling community. Perhaps TR has seen the research but just chose not to use it in the justification for their ramp test, not sure. But I’ll see what I can find. In the end, I suppose it doesn’t matter unless someone is following a zone-based plan to the T and wants their plan to be as science and evidence based as possible, in which case an under or over estimated FTP from the ramp test may not be optimal in light of achieving the best possible physiological adaptations. But for the average fitness cyclist or local Cat 3-5, it probably isn’t that critical. Do a test, any test. Get on the bike. Suffer. Repeat. Get faster. If you aren’t getting faster, and that is your goal, go back to the drawing board.
@krispenhartung I always go back to the old coyle/coggan paper ‘Determinants of Endurance…’. We’ve discussed this paper on this forum before but it’s a prime example of wide variation of FTP as a percentage of power at VO2max.
This is an interesting read about MAP based testing protocols, and summarizes the various debates and studies about step size (1-min vs 2-min vs 2.5-min vs 3-min) and related topics:
Probably just that, tbh. Removing as many possible screw-ups by the user, that will get blamed on the product.
There are many many threads around here about the limitations of the ramp test and better alternatives if you want an accurate FTP/CP/MLSS/whatever value, suggesting that a large number of users aren’t on the part of the bell curve where the ramp test is anywhere near accurate.
Strangely, it no longer mentions in the workout text that there are other tests and you can choose another, like I believe it used to do with the 20 minute test.
- Can you share an example?
I found this right in the SSB LV1 section, right in week 1 tips:
Well the obvious place would be here:
I knew I’d seen an alternative recommendation somewhere in the past. I think with more people using plan builder the likelihood is even lower now than before of someone going into the summary page for a specific plan to be able to see that (in fact, I’m not sure you can get to that page from a plan on the calendar? Will go and have look now!*)
*having checked, I can’t see the plan summary from calendar, I can change plan and volume but nothing I click on brings up the plan summary for the upcoming plan - for that I’d have to go to ‘plans > base > SSB1LV’ in this example.
Looks like they chose to cover the options at the plan level, as opposed to the workout level. The individual test is maybe a place to include the options, but I can see that it could also be left out on purpose.
Note that the 20 & 8 FTP Tests also lack any reference to each other or the Ramp test. So it’s mutual exclusion at the workout level at least.
Have a look at the beginning of each week in your calendar. There are the weekly tips right on the calendar, with the same info as I shared above.
Specifically, here is a brand new Plan Builder Plan I threw onto my calendar.
Click on the week to see the info, and the same info from the main plan is available right from the calendar.
Ah, that’s useful! As you’ve probably guessed I’ve got an alternative testing protocol so don’t need the info, but will point anyone new to TR to that area to get useful info for the week
The overall weekly info is quite handy for many people following the TR plans. Especially true for newer users, as it covers the basics of the workouts for the week. Some weeks also include options to use a longer Sunday Endurance level ride vs the Sweet Spot default.
I don’t use the info as much now, but on occasion, I pop in there to to check for the Sunday swap or see what we are supposed to get from the weeks workouts. Even serves as a minor pep talk when I am dragging a bit.
The swap out options for the weekend are something I will very occasionally look for, I assumed they were on the actual workout they were an option for. Upon looking again I see they’re also on the weekly summary, so I’ve found a use for it myself now! Will still always choose to do the long one as an outdoor group ride if the weather is good, but good to have options.
If we restricted our understanding of the world to validated (whatever that means in a research context) scientific study, we wouldn’t have Amazon or Google or Facebook or Netflix or…
Hmm, maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.