Why is my ramp test so low?

A little bit of background on me. I’m a 23 year old female. I’ve been doing structured training for 2 years now in the winter and just enjoying riding out in the summer (winter is like at least 6-7 months in Iceland). I used to do the 20 min FTP test and got good results.
10th December 2019 my ftp was 204w according to 20 min test, I was following a structured training but not Trainerroad. My trainer is Tacx Neo 2T so pretty accurate.

7 Weeks ago I decided to try Trainerroad. I’ve done the ramp test twice now 6 weeks apart. At the start of ssb1 mv. Tested 189w, I did try the workouts at that FTP but felt they were too easy so I increase my FTP to 195 and then 200. and now at the start of ssb2 mv I tested at 190w. I’ve been sick twice since the 20 min test in december so maybe I’ve lost a little fittness (was sick for a week beetween week 4 and 5 in ssb1 mv. After the second ramp test I did Ebbets at 200w and felt the FTP was about right.

Question is why is my ramp test so low? Am I just one of those that it doesn’t work for?

The ramp test is an open ended test, and as such - some people are not very good at them.
If the 20min test works for you - stick with it

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Sounds like you’re already aware that some people suit the ramp test better than others so there’s not really much more that can be said. Search the forum and you will find tonnes of threads of people unhappy with their ramp test result.

I’d suggest you stick with your 20 min tests from now on

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Guess I just really wanted the ramp test to work for me. Seamed like a good alternative to the 20 min test where you have to do a hard warm up and then suffer for 20 mins.

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Ramp test works in relation with VO2. Some people overestimate om ramp test due anaerobic contribution, other that are inclined on longer aerobic efforts (“diesel type”) underestimate. The longer the testing protocol your FTP should be closer to real value and this eliminates different contributions. So if 20 min works for you, stick with it or even try Kolie Moore protocol.

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Yeah it sucks if it doesn’t work for you. It’s certainly less brutal than a 20 min test in my opinion.

Now that you’ve tried it a couple of times and have an understanding of roughly how much it miscalculates your FTP by, there’s nothing to stop you continuing to use the ramp test and then manually adjusting your FTP to compensate


I am at the other end of the scale.
My Ramp-test are way to high!
Got an FTP at 327w but i can hardly do sustained poweroutput at 280w!:face_vomiting:

How are you getting on with workouts that have intervals (or spikes) at 120% ftp or higher? (Note that the first ones in ssb2 are considered easy versions). It could just be that your vo2max power is underdeveloped, and that is what makes you test low at the ramp test. At 23 years of age, you’ll be able to change that quickly, by doing a more dedicated vo2 block.

Was reading up on some other threads (don’t have the links), that some don’t use the ramp tests at all (only the first) and then making the adjustments based on data from the workouts.

Seems to correct approach here also if you don’t want to suffer for the 20 or 8 minute test.

UPDATE: Actually not an answer to your question, but hope it helps.

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If I’m reading this right, your timeline is:

  • December 10: 204 with a 20-minute test
  • After December 10: some amount of sickness
  • Beginning of January: 189 with the ramp test
  • Beginning of February: sick for a week
  • Within the past week: 190 with the ramp test

It’s normal to see different results between different test protocols, but I think being sick is the biggest contributor to your results. Don’t worry about being a protocol outlier yet, just give yourself a few healthy weeks of training and test again.


Just to rule out other factors, since you weren’t using TR, how were you calculating your FTP from the 20 minute test? TR uses a multiplier of .95 of your 20 minute power for their 20 minute test. Were you doing similar before?

I can’t really say because I haven’t been doing VO2 Max lately. But In the past i’ve done fine with VO2 Max with tested FTP from 20 mins. Guess I’ll give ramp test one more chance after I’ve done some VO2 Max, third times the charm.

Yes I held 214w for 20 mins so that multiplied by 0.95 makes 204w

You read it right. But lets assume the ramp test is right then it gives the same result as I got from 20 min ftp test in beginning of October witch was after 1 and half month of pretty much no cycling. I’d like to believe even though I haven’t been able to train 100% consistently because of sickness that it’s better than nothing. Also I found it a bit strange how often I’m getting sick so I got blood test, apparently it’s all good I’m just unlucky.

That sucks too :frowning:

If it makes you feel any better, when I did a ramp test after I’d “recovered” from being sick in January, I lost 12% off my FTP, essentially wiping out the last seven months of training. I got it all back and then some after 2-3 weeks of healthy training. Sickness does a real number on your body, but those gains are still there, and they’ll come back.


Let me suggest a workaround that would allow you to continue using the Ramp Test:

1.) Execute the test as normal.
2.) After you are done, open the workout in analytics.
3.) Scroll down to ‘Personal Records’ & move the cursor to ‘1 min’ on the x axis. Note the power.
4.) Set your FTP to 80% of the power you found in step 3

The Ramp Test is a Maximum Aerobic Power (MAP) test. A MAP test estimates your MAP. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that 75% of MAP is a good estimate of a rider’s threshold power. That’s an estimate of an estimate…you you know how that can go.

I always refer to the Coyle/Coggan study from WAY back in the day where they looked at the VO2max and LT of a group of very well trained cyclists. Some of them had LT in the low 60% of VO2max. Some them had LT in the 80% range.

That’s what you’re expiencing. Your LT is probably a little high as a percentage of your MAP compared to the bell curve of all cyclists.


I’m the same way. My ramp tests are typically 15-20W lower than what I usually have my FTP set at. I am settling on the realization that i’m just better with sweet spot and extended threshold efforts than i am with VO2 max work, and a shorter FTP test like the Ramp Test (to me) leans towards the VO2 side.

Sounds like you’re right to stick with the 20 Min test to make sure you’re training at an appropriate level. Myself, It’ll likely be more uncomfortable, but I’m going to try the Kolie Moore approach to see if it’s closer to my “real feel”.

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Interesting workaround. I’m 67 and have wondered if the ramp test “discriminates” against older cyclists whom due to age have limited VO2 Max? My last two completed ramp test showed a slight reduction from 210 (Nov. 19) to 202. My most recent ramp test had a mechanical abort when the power cord on my Kickr popped loose due to for/aft movement on Inside Ride Eflex. But using your 75 to 80% of 1 min power would put me at 226 to 240 (301 max). I struggle with V02 max intervals but am like a diesel locomotive on SS/over-unders.

I’d say having an FTP that is ~80% of your MAP isn’t unprecedented.

@DavidWms I’ve kinda been down this road with other cyclists enough to say that if something doesn’t feel correct about your ramp results then the ramp test is probably nudging you too far in one direction or the other. (I once created a scraper that looked at the Kaweah ride feed to identify ‘failed workout’ images, then checked the ramp test ride feed for the last 7 days for athlete matches. Pitched this to a coach as a way to find clients. :-D)

If there is some reasonable dissonance between ramp test results and an athlete’s workout results the fault usually lies with the ramp test. Even though the ramp test is a great tool.

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