Disappointing Ramp Test

Good idea @mcneese.chad I may give that a go.

As for the feel of the trainers, I’ve been very impressed with overall feel of the Kurt as it feels like it holds a little more momentum over the choppy feeling of the old one.

That said, on the failed tests I’ve felt a bit liked I hit a sticky point where I can’t feel that momentum or find that gear to push through. I suspect this is mental rather than physical, but it does seem strange how I’m managing good workouts but bad tests.

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I actually see lots of people refer to max hr in the forums and was wondering how people determine that? Have you done a specific testing protocol or do you just use whatever some platform or GoldenCheetah etc. tells you from your workout history?

For me personally it’s just the max I’ve seen during a race.

I did a non scientific test many years ago, steep hill repeats running up, down again, up again etc until I was out in the red, struggling for breath…and then doing a 30 second flat out effort up again… that set me to around 169… efforts and years since then I’ve obtained 171 and a recent ramp test had me hit 172.

Maybe there is 1 or 2 more beats in there for me but it works and maps good with the zones. Over several years I’ve not changed it downwards with age, I’m sure it has come down, I’d just say I wasn’t fit enough physically and mentally before to get near it like I am today.

One of the protocols (for running) I’ve used in the past is essentially a ramped 15-20 min effort on a hill. Because of the nature of HR, you won’t achieve a peak without some kind of sustained effort, but that effort also has to achieve a maximum (to failure) effort at some point.

The TR ramp test is a pretty good way to check your max HR. It might not be quite the same as an intense race like a crit, but I’d be willing to bet that most people who execute a ramp test properly and to actual physical failure get withing a few % of their max HR. I actually set a max HR record (for the bike) during my earlier ramp test this year. The ramp test following that one, I was 12 bpm lower (about 6%) when I finished, and that one I think I bailed on mentally before I actually failed physically.

All that said, in itself, max HR is not a terribly useful metric.


I would agree with this. My max HR achieved is always during a ramp style test. My Max on the road is 183 but in the Ramp Tests as I am working to failure I get 185 - 188. Never manage this on the road.

You can go deeper on the Ramp test than on the road - it would be unsafe to go so deep you can barely see on the road! :slight_smile:

I don’t have experience on a non - smart trainer, but i can imagine it must be harder, having to adjust the gears etc.

I wanted to comment more on the mental aspect of it. i would preface it with this - it’s not for me to comment on anyone’s mental resilience or whatever you want to call it. I can and should only really talk about my own experience. Since starting structured training with TR last Sept/Oct - I have come to believe the workouts are almost at least 80% mental (the higher efforts ones more so).

I recently did my second ramp test and did get to 21 mins which I would delighted with but i really had to bury myself. Every second really from probably 17/18 mins I wanted to stop. The question - was it my body screaming this or my head?

We feel the pain in the legs and lungs and so you’d think it’s predominantly the body doing the talking - however I’m not sure. The signal to keep turning comes from the head - it’s a decision and therefore a function of the mind? In all honesty - looking back - I believe I saw myself getting closer to 21 mins and decided that was me done at that point, as soon as I got there I ended the test.

Could I, if my life depended on it, have gone another 5, 10 or even 30 seconds? I believe I could. The question then becomes - how to we bring that kind of mindset to the test or the higher effort workouts? Even though, if we’ve any sense at all, we know these are not life and death issues (at the end of the day it’s “just exercise”). My workouts since the test have been very hard indeed, but bar dropping the last block by 5% one 1 or maybe 2 I’ve got them done, but only by winning the mental battle. I’ve been watching SAS: Who Dares Wins (Uk) and The Selection (US) on the bike during workouts and that helps honestly. Seeing what these folk can put themselves through.

Again - I’m really conscious of not wanting to sound like -“Listen to me, just work harder and don’t quit so easily!”. That would not be my heart at all - I am an encourager! Rather, I just want to add to the conversation around the mental aspect.


I very much agree!

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Totally agree with you. Mental strength and techniques are a big part of TR Harder efforts and cycling in general I suppose. I have been trying various different things. Posters on wall around me ’ Pain is temporary’ ‘shut up legs’ ‘how much do you want this’. Music that pushes me. Mantras etc. When it all comes together they certainly help. My last Ramp test was a tough one… tired before start, dreaded it all day, no music planned for motivation, head beat me (maybe body too) but head did and as soon as I stopped I beat myself up for not pushing harder.
TR Hard workouts scare me as soon as I look at them. When I started on last night Ebbetts +1. After the first set I was sure I wasn’t going to finish it. After each set I thought i would drop out and was going to finish early but managed to complete the entire workout. The mental attitude made it much tougher and if I had listened to or gave in to it I was beat… hard one to beat at times.

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That’s the way to approach them - one a time - treating each one as if it’s the last one… until “all of a sudden” they are all done!


My ramp test this morning was a total failure. Brought to a crashing half by a massive coughing fit. Legs felt ok for at least a couple more ramps but couldn’t pedal through the coughing. Oh well, these things happen. From my perspective the key when the test goes wrong like that is to not get too annoyed by it and to not focus on it. I’ll retake the test tomorrow and hopefully not have any mishaps


Sorry for bringing this up again but I promised to share my results.
It turn out I didn’t pay attention to the weight loss happening because of new diet.
Here is the full picture

18 Dec   FTP 230w  66.0kg  ->  3.48  w/kg / started Base1 Phase
29 Jan   FTP 228w  65.6kg  ->  3.47  w/kg / started Base2 Phase
05 March FTP 222w  62.1kg  ->  3.57  w/kg / started Build Phase
03 Apr   FTP 215w  60.9kg  ->  3.53  w/kg / started Specialty Phase

When I was looking just at FTP well it was a bit disappointing however I’m fully satisfied with my w/kg progress.


I have found that the ramp test undervalues my number. My disappointment in the numbers is not ego based. My disappointment stems from the workouts at the tested number being too easy. I know you have to stress the system to make the desired adaptions and my tested number isn’t making the stress happen. I use the test as a base, and then workout performance as the gauge of my FTP. It has been working for me, albeit a relatively new approach. I could also have some between the ears problems with the test.

Sure, if a particular test or your ability in it is leading to incorrect FTP relative to appropriate training stress, try a different test. Maybe a different one will lead to more direct and accurate results for you.

But far too often we see people seeking between tests simply looking for a “beter” number. What is better is a more accurate number, that hits the training goal.

In reality it’s not “a number”, it’s a range that depends on body temperature, hydration, and even the time of the day (I can’t get to the same numbers at 5 in the morning as at 11 - or to be more exact get as fast to the same number). But you get a feel for it from sustained/ramped efforts that end up at your max perceived effort - the end of a ramp test, the end of a VO2max running protocol (Léger-Boucher, beep test, etc), the end of a solid-pace 5k or 10k running race, etc.

Keep in mind that a ramp test assumes a correlation between the max level you can hit in a ramped effort and your FTP - sorta like measuring your tibia length to figure out how tall you are (not saying the correlation is the same, better or worse). Even a 20-min FTP test assumes a correlation between your 20-min max effort and your 60-min one. At the end of the day, what’s important is to get threshold training to be very demanding but still feasible. Being off a Watt up or down is irrelevant - your ability day-to-day varies a lot more than that anyway.

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Hi all, I have done
SS 1 &2 lv FTP 195 ->221 ->238
Sustained power lv FTP 238 ->242 -> 245
Century lv FTP 245 ->246

At the end of century plan I started doing some of the rides outside with garmin outdoor workout feature. While doing some inside and nailing them as well.

The last few weeks from today I have been doing just few hard rides a outside per week. (Hard clubrides etc.) Keeping the TSS in the same range as previously.

Yes, I have been on holiday as well so I have been skipping few workouts but nothing really big.

At the end of last week I decided to get back on training more disciplined.
Did few workout from SS 1 plan on Friday and Sunday (Mount Field & Baxter) and they felt quite easy.

This week I started my SS1 plan and tried an FTP ramp test and failed at 18min 20s and got a new FTP of 232.

Should I just start wit my old FTP of 246 since I could get thru of those previous week rides with it or should I just face it and start with the lower FTP?

Personally I’d take the new lower FTP as I beleive it’s set correctly against workouts. I would then just adjust intensity if workouts feel to easy and then bump it up on a weekly basis by whatever percentage has been feeling right.

I took a drop from 343 to 311 and accepted that without question. Last nights workout I moved it up by 5% for workout efforts to feel right. So come the weekend my FTP will be bumped up 5% and I’ll continue like that until next scheduled Ramp test.

Even if I do get a big FTP bump (like previous tests) I won’t be accepting it, I’ve been yoyo-ing with these tests too often (maybe I’ve reached a plateau area), sometimes the new high FTP along with the fatigue over the weeks of workouts up to it makes me fail many workouts after a big bump up… I’ll always take a drop without question, it’s the other way I’m now going to be more careful over.


I agree. And also, don’t forget that going from Speciality back to SS, SS will feel “easier” but they are designed to achieve a specific goal so don’t be too eager to dial them up straight away :slightly_smiling_face: