To test or not to test? (Ramp vs Manually Adjust FTP)

What’s everyone’s opinion on performing regular FTP tests as laid out in the plan vs manually adjusting?

I’m halfway through sustained power build and coming up on the midway FTP test. Having done maybe 10 FTP tests in the past 18 months I find that I am rarely surprised by the result and could have predicted the outcome within a couple watts based on HR and RPE at the end of the previous block.

Also, if you do skip the test, what workout do you usually replace replace it with?

I don’t do the middle one in build - although I do both the base Ramp tests. I replace it with a VO2 max session - in the case of Tuesday coming it will be Mills+1 ….joy :flushed:


Well, I think you might notice crickets in response to your question due to fear of backlash from various sources.

I don’t do an FTP test very often, because like you, I can pretty much predict the outcome. I’m 49 years old, and have almost 700 TR sessions under my belt over the course of 5.5 years.

Big gains in FTP occurred early on, but now, 5 watt gains are hard to come by. I have seen my fitness consistently have a predictable ebb and flow through the year. In addition, I can tell from how I feel, if FTP is correct for a workout. For example, VO2 workouts (with 3 min+ intervals) for me are typically adjusted down 5%…so I do the intervals at 115% instead of the prescribed 120%. This doesn’t mean my FTP is set too high, as longer sustained efforts are doable, and can even be adjusted up 2% or so. I’m a triathlete, so sustained power is my forte.

I typically retest in the fall before diving into winter base phase. The test gets me started off on the right foot.

Edit: this past week, I substituted Carson for the prescribed ramp test. No change in FTP for me between SSBLV1, and SSBLV2. I’ve learned to NOT increase FTP between those two blocks.


That’s a good idea.

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That’s what I’m considering. Just look forward to the next week’s workout and find one that’s one step before it in the progression.

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Yeah, I think when you have a good understanding how hard workouts should feel, you might be better off adjusting your ftp manually and only test maybe twice a year (like after off season or when you have not been training much - or after a training block to confirm the outcome).

I’ve recently also started to think that my day-to-day form fluctuates by a couple of watts anyway, so I’m now wondering how ‘correct’ a one-off test can be…

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I think if you have trained for a long time with TR then you probably can predict your FTP.

I wonder if achieving similar results happen because we know what to expect? Like we know what numbers we need to hit, so we make sure we hit them.

I’m wondering if, for my next Ramp test, I should strategically place some card over the screen to obscure the time and the FTP, so I’d be able to see the green bar to know I was on target, and keep the actual ramps, but I wouldn’t be able to see the other numbers, like I almost self-limit if that makes sense?

The card is not a bad idea.
You could also try manually bumping up your ftp by 5, 10 or 15 watts etc before the test. Then do the test and see if this had motivated you or not.

I know what you mean about expectations - I will be super motivated in a ramp test to get to 19:30 as I know that is the break even point…every second after that is an improvement - maybe if you didn’t know you were there you might keep going…or maybe give up before - who knows - TBH I find I can’t turn the pedals at the end so I’m not sure a blind test would make much difference.

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I find the same. I know the breakpoint so I do everything to get there. Then I do everything to get to 20:00 and that seems to be about where I normally fail. So maybe without those cues maybe I would be able to push farther but I doubt it would be more that 10-15 seconds more which would only be a couple watts. I also seem to be lucky in that my FTP and VO2 must near the middle of the bell curve in that I rarely find that I have to adjust my FTP after a test or drop the intensity for VO2max intervals.

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I’ve only trained with TR for about 15 months, but I always do the prescribed ramp test. I understand the notion that you might be able to predict your FTP, but I find the ramp test to be no hardship, in fact, it’s probably easier than some of the harder workouts. And then “knowing” is something that provides me some piece of mind. It might not matter for others, but I’m an analytical type so having a number allows me to relax. I recommend testing frequently.


It’s not so much that the ramp test is hard (though I inevitably find myself slightly wired for a day or two before doing one). It’s a question of whether it’s going to tell you anything you don’t already know, and if it’s not then whether you would be better off doing some other training. In my case the answer to the first question is usually “no” - I’ve been training with TR for a few years and training generally for 20+ years, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what the zones should feel like and therefore whether my FTP is in the right place. And the answer to the second question is usually “yes” - a structured workout with a decent amount of time in zone is going to give more training benefit than a ramp test. From a training benefit perspective I would be better doing the 20 minute test, but that’s a much harder one to get yourself in the right mental state for!

If you don’t have much experience of training with power, are making big leaps in fitness, or just coming back from a break and don’t have much feel for your fitness, then testing regularly is much more useful I think.


I find workout rpe to be a better indicator of form than testing. The last ramp test I did have me such an inflated figure (335w!) that I just can’t see how it’s reliable. I had to drop 15 Watts from the ramp test figure to give me a new number that was realistic to train to. The 20 min test is hard to pace so not sure that would give a reliable number either.

However I got through Galena+3 at the weekend (4x20m SS) with no issues, heart rate bang on target and did the last interval at 103%, so I’m happy to bump my ftp a few watts at the end of this rest week. I don’t really see the point of continuous testing if you’re getting through the sessions with the expected difficulty level.

Baby steps ftp anyone?