VO2 Max intensity?

I’ve been riding forever and doing a few endurance MTB races a year for a several years with very informal training. I’ve never formally tested my FTP until recently with TR. I’ve been off the bike for almost 2 years with a partially torn hamstring that took forever to heal. Anyway, did the ramp test and it was a frighteningly low 107. Never been powerful rider. Kind a sit and spin forever kind of guy, but 107? Anyway, after the ramp test I started my program and the first workout was a VO2 max. It was only mildly uncomfortable. Shouldn’t VO2 make me wish I took up chess instead? Should I re-test or trust it and wait for the next scheduled test in a month or so? Or take up chess?


VO2 should feel hard, but not unusual for your first workout or even first few not to be. Progressions start out low and should ramp up as you complete the workouts and provide feedback to the system that it was too easy. If you want a harder challenge, use the alternates tab to select workouts with higher VO2 Max workout levels to progress faster than the algorithm might progress you naturally.

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How are you measuring power? 107 is really low. For me that is pushing the pedals very lightly and going about as slow as I can go. My 10 year old can keep up with me at 100 watts!

My guess is that you don’t have a good calibrated power meter, smart trainer, or you are trying to use virtual power and it isn’t working very well.


If you think that greater familiarity with the test might allow you to do better, then it might be worth re-testing. Knowing that you have to go till literally you cannot turn the pedals any more. When you are hanging on by your fingernails, and know that you cannot hang on for another minute when the resistance will increase again, but mentally bargain with yourself that you can tolerate anything for 10 seconds.

The initial VO2Max workouts are often pretty tolerable, with short efforts and short recoveries. Pretty effective, but with less RPE. they do get harder over each training block.


I’ll check the recalibration. Thanks.

For 85% of folk the ramp test is fine but for 7.5% of people it predicts high and for 7.5% it predicts low. I think I’m in that latter group or maybe its just the cr@p ERG on my trainer but I can get better results on a Non ERG 20mins test, especially if I get my pacing right. Whereas a ramp test will predict lower than my worst (mis paced) 20mins test. Subsequent ramp test repeats for me only made its estimation lower still. So I’m sticking to 20mins tests but as they are more taxing I am also only doing them off TT season.

For VO2 sessions Im looking to get to the edge of that point where I can sustainably build but when I stop ‘bang’ its like I’m shot in the chest. I usually push beyond that point at the last intervals in blocks or anaerobic sessions. So yes in relation to your FTP with it only being mildly uncomfortable it does sound like its way too low. For me, a lightweight, circa 100w is the value I would hit recovering at the very end of a very tough session.

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No slight intended! It really sounds like the measurements off. And since you weren’t breathing hard for your vo2max efforts then something is definitely off.

I wasted a year futzing around with an inaccurate not-so-smart trainer. :slight_smile:


I have a Saris H3. I use a single speed on it, mostly cause I hate taking my bike on and off the trainer and I never ride the SS other than on the trainer. I obviously use it on ERG mode. It won’t calibrate on the TR app for some reason and support told me to use the Saris app. When I calibrate it asks me to keep it above 120 rpm for a certain time and there is virtually no resistance and I spin out and am bobbing up and down like crazy. Is that normal or could the single speed thing be throwing it off? Making the calibration lower because of the lack of resistance?

As an example of how unpleasant it should be at the end @Lennyeddy, I did a ramp test yesterday and my next door neighbour rang my doorbell to check I was OK.

  • IIRC, it is actually looking for 20mph trainer wheel speed, not RPM.

  • In any case, the calibration must be performed by reaching the target wheel speed, then coasting… and letting the trainer spin down to their desired bottom end speed (usually slow but still rolling). It calculates that time and uses it as a factor to scale the power.

  • If you are not calibrating as intended, you are likely skewing the results. Depending on your SS gearing combined with whatever cassette you have on the trainer, hitting 20 mph and holding it steady for about 20 seconds as intended may be a challenge.

  • It is possible to calibrate the trainer with any bike, and then put your preferred SS bike on after. So you may want to consider that option, even if it is a hassle.

Here is their support article:

You are right. It’s been almost 2 years off so I remembered incorrectly.

I’m gonna put my geared bike on today and see what happens. With my single speed, when the prescribed wattage is really low, between intervals, it’s hard to keep the app from pausing cause I’m spinning out trying to keep the watts that low. The more I think about it, I bet that is screwing up the reading. I’ll report back. Thanks everyone. Who knows, my FTP may be 110!

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Once you get your trainer set up dialed, make sure you join adaptive training and answer the post ride survey truthfully. It will take a lot of the guesswork out of it.

Does anybody know if AT is suggesting a fresh ramp test if your progression levels are getting too high?

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  • No, it is not doing that AFAIK. Testing is only prescribed via the Plan Builder when you populate your plan on the calendar.

As always, people can add a test or manually edit FTP as they see fit at any time.

Now that I think about it, AT and Plan Builder are clearly still recommending a ramp test as the first workout in every block, so that answers that question.

A great feature would be: “Hey, we noticed that you marked this Threshold level 10 workout as moderate. Based on this information, your FTP may be closer to XXX watts. Would you like to A) update your current FTP to this number and we’ll appropriately modify your progression levels, B) replace your next intensity workout with a ramp test, or C) stick with what you’re current FTP?”

Personally, I could not be more pleased with how AT works for me.

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That is a proper example of “test to failure” :joy: well done!


Lots of good discussion about the FTP test and your trainer, that I think is worth pursuing.

Additionally, some of the VO2 workouts are pretty easy - which workout did you do that felt relatively easy?


That’s a pretty easy one - 60 seconds at 120% isn’t a hugely challenging number. Its hard to say how hard it should feel for you without knowing the specifics of your training history and physiology - but I would expect if that workout to feel pretty achievable for most riders

If you can bang out something with 120 seconds at 120% without feeling any stress, or 180 seconds…that’s probably a sign of low FTP setting in TR

I would differentiate between a low FTP and an inaccurate FTP. It is totally possible your trainer is calibrated incorrectly, skewing your numbers, but that the workouts are scaling roughly correctly (that is - your FTP is ‘correct’ in as much as your trainer is being consistent, but the number is wrong). Not to say you shouldn’t address the calibration issues above, but even with a different number that workout might feel easy to you

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OP, that is a high quality trainer so it is prob accurate.

If vo2 is not that hard, it is prob the case that bc of your low fitness level, you are gaining fitness quickly.

For example, some people with low training load or experience have large jumps in power early into their structured training with lower and lower gains as they become fitter (diminishing returns). You might gain 20% on your ftp in 3 months, whereas I might increase mine by 1% in a whole season bc I have been training with structure multiple years.

Per the OP, we have reasonable suspicion that a questionable calibration on the trainer may have lead to odd results. It also sounds like it has been over a year (nearly 2?) since it was calibrated anyway… so I am highly suspect of the trainer data at this time.