Which FTP to use?

In the fall I took my ftp using the ramp test, gave it all I got and got a record high for me of 247.

After this, I repeatedly failed workouts, decreased intensity, backspun etc and ultimately got frustrated that each workout was to failure. I took a break and did 2-3 sweet spot workouts a week on zwift.

I’m back at it, and decided to take the 20minute test last monday. got an FTP of 208 with a good effort. I did the first week of sweet spot base 1

Today I decided to try the ramp test again to compare. I got a FTP of 224. I feel I could have pushed a touch more as well. Gave up rather quick once I hit 21 minutes.

Which FTP would you use? I really want to push my fitness up over the winter and am focusing on the bike.

The 224 sounds reasonable since you had a bit left in the tank. I wouldn’t keep testing and upping the FTP though. The whole point of SSB is sub threshold aerobic work. An FTP that is a little bit low is probably a good thing as the workouts get progressively harder anyway. People get into trouble with unrealistic FTPs and then end up doing a threshold plan instead of base.

Which is right? Hard to tell. Pacing is hard over the 20 minute test if you’re not used to it, most likely resulting in an undershoot rather than an overshoot of your actual FTP, so perhaps do a week at 224 and see how you get on.

From a workout perspective, the acid test for me is over/unders, something like Fang Mountain or Avalanche Spire. You should feel very uncomfortable during the over section, but actually start to feel slightly better during the unders, If you’re not recovering at all during the unders and just keep getting buried but at a slightly slower rate, FTP is probably too high, if you’re not made deeply uncomfortable by the overs, then your FTP is set too low.

No one can tell you which is right from a distance, but it should be reasonably easy to get a sense of which is closer to the ballpark with a week of workouts including some over/unders.

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Hone in on the test that gives you the best results (not highest number necessarily), then continue to use the same testing protocol. You indicate that during the fall you tested via the ramp and that may have been an inflated result based on your comments, then you used a very different method via the 20 minute which relies heavily on proper pacing (and frankly a somewhat reasonable guess at what your FTP is before hand). Remove that variable as a start. I think that you should be OK with that 224. As others have said, see how the workouts go. If it turns out that 224 works for you, stick with the ramp test in the future. If that turns out to be inflated, you can try the 20 minute again, (although I prefer the 8 minute version).

Some great advice here. Thanks. I will try the 224 and see how it goes. I’d like to stick with the ramp test, but may drop it by 5% if I struggle like I did in the fall.

I like the idea of using over unders to assess if my ftp is too high.


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