FTP test vs Ramp test

Last week I did a 20 min FTP test and got 285w. To validate that number I did a ramp test today and got 250w due to my poor VO2max capability. Both day I was pretty fresh so I think the the values are good.

I am starting the road race speciality this week and I would like to have your opinion on which value should I use.

Thanks for your help,

J-C

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If they were in the same testing scenario then go for the higher number.

What test was your prior FTP based on? Ramp or 20 minute? And what was that prior FTP? I think knowing that will help us get a better gauge. Typically TR advocates for using one test and sticking with it versus jumping around.

I feel like a 35W difference is massive and perhaps too large to simply explain by the fact you’re not great at V02 efforts. I could obviously be wrong though. Do you feel like you pushed as hard as you could in the Ramp Test?

As I’m asking those questions though I feel like I’d choose the 285W not because it’s higher but because it’s probably more representative of capacity right now.

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I have had exactly the same issue in the past.

I went with 20 min FTP test as:

1,. that’s how i tested before

  1. the ramp test result i knew was way too low

The results helped me recognise that i (like many others on here) are a little vo2 constrained.

I down adjusted my vo2 and supra-threshold workouts slightly to match this during SSB and also SPB - i found that by the end i was nudging up all sweet spot/threshold and over-unders but still down adjusting my vo2 sessions.

TBH from what i have felt ( and read on here) as long as you are in the 105%+ on the vo2 sessions its no issue.

My advice would be to follow the higher number and adjust along the way. The numbers and %'s of FTP can’t be perfect for each rider so its good to use a bit of intuition.

I found following what i ‘thought’ was my ftp worked the best and i tried to adjust each session to achieve the desired training effect, but this does come with practice i guess (not that i pretend to have got this mastered at all!)
hope this helps.

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Had nearly the same issue. I would go with the test, that represents your upcoming plan better. So if you start Specialty with a lot of VO2max focus I would choose the ramp test.

The step test seems to bias towards those with high anaerobic capability. Did you do the 20 min test as prescribed with the included washouts prior to the 20 min sustained?

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I have had the same problem with a ramp test. I can do either 8 min or 20 min FTP tests and come back with about 320W and this appears to be accurate as i can hold that for 50 minutes or so in real life. It also feels “about right” in over/unders. A ramp test shows about 280W, so i just disregard the results and put myself down as an outlier that it doesn’t work for.

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This for sure. It doesn’t matter what number your FTP is as long as it can be used for:

  1. Setting proper training zones
  2. Tracking fitness over time

As long as you get those two things, it doesn’t matter if it’s 285 or 250. Pick the one that is more consistent with your past testing protocols (or that you will use consistently in the future) and gets you properly worked during the workouts.

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Thank you very much for the feedback guys. I think I’ll keep my 285w FTP and drop the intensity by 10% on my VO2max workouts in order to be closer to my ramp test result.

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10% is a huge drop to start. That takes a 120% of FTP effort down to 108% of FTP. It is still in the VO2 zone, but a large difference.

I recommend testing different levels of drop and maybe starting with a 4-5% drop for the first interval or two. Evaluate your heart rate and breathing upon completing each interval. For VO2 work to be effective, you need to be breathing at the upper end of your respiratory range at the end of each interval. For sure, experiment, but I think a 10% drop to start is likely more than you will really need.

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I’m one of those that often need to work at 108% on 2+ min vo2max intervals. Can assure you I’m quickly at max aerobic uptake. I’ve found this article to be helpful https://fascatcoaching.com/tips/vo2-max-intervals/ as around TR forums there seems to be an attitude/opinion that vo2 work is about power.

Shorter 30/30 second Tabata style intervals are easier for me than 3-min intervals.

I’ve also been able to do a hard start 1-3 min efforts and then drop power down to +/- 100% ftp and hold max aerobic uptake for 15-20 minutes. These have all been outside on hard group rides/races.

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I relate so much to that. The 30-30 stuff is easy for me (Powerlifting and hockey background). However, I face the same challenge as you with the 1-3min stuff

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For sure, looking at the specific interval length as well as the rest/repeat is a necessary. We can often do a “full pull” in the shorter efforts, but those get much more difficult as we grow to 2+ mins.

I try to look at each new workout with perspective from recent past efforts. Then make a call on the first interval of the next workout. Adjust as needed to get to what I feel is the right O2 uptake (via respiration) with an aim to making a repeatable effort and full completion of each remaining interval.

A little frustrating that vo2 power is so variable for me. On December 31st was able to do 6x60-sec Bluebell at 120% ftp. Two weeks ago with 5x90-sec Baird +2 had to settle in at 112% and drop down to 110%. However it is allergy season and at times I’ve got an asthmatic cough.

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Oh yeah, allergies can be killer for that type of effort. I haven’t hit my bad season yet, but it’s coming…

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Exactly te same case here and following the same strategie.

I watched a webinar by Tim Cuisick (WKO4) that touched on VO2 max repeats, his philosphy was that max is max, so even if you don’t hold power as long as it is a max effort for the duration you should get the desired physiological benefits. I find VO2 max intervals hard indoors on a trainer, and I also find that the ramp test scores me low, I’m sticking with the 20min test which seems to match quite closely to my 40k TT/Hour power, for VO2 efforts this season once I start to struggle indoors, I’m going to try a couple of sessions outdoors on a hill and see how that goes, I imagine it’ll be better for me to do them that way.

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Yes, the vo2max info from WKO4 videos on YouTube is good.

TrainerRoad most recently covered this in podcast 191, and Coach Chad spent roughly 15 minutes reviewing. I’m still transcribing all the notes, and will post in another thread. The summary was:

  • you can achieve vo2max at 102% of ftp, it will just take you longer than at 125% ftp
  • there is no single VO2max power
  • VO2 work is really subjective, this is why 2-3 min interval workouts at 120% don’t work for everyone, and we say it may not work for you and some people can work above 120%, some people below 120%
  • not trying to hit a particular power
  • want to accumulate time at really high oxygen uptake
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Your ramp test result is suspect is my suspicion. Which did you do first? The 20 min ftp will definitely impact a ramp test as much more taxing. A few days of recovery at minimum would be mandatory. Also, while ramp test is less fatiguing it is also just as impacted by effort. An accurate result is essentially a vo2 max test which are painful. Also would rule out technical issue.

Your 20 min test is a more accurate gauge of ftp assuming a full out effort, as technically ftp is really meant at getting to lactate threshold. The fact it is higher essentially proves your ftp closer to 285 than 250. Set you ftp at 285.

An average percent of lactate threshold (think ramp test) to vo2 max (think ramp test) is 83%. If you are more efficient your vo2 max workouts will be closer to your ftp than a rider whom is less efficient.

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I think some of us (me) are cheating on the shorter intervals because we recover fast. I had the same issue, but not as marked, in running intervals: I could do 30/30s for a long time, but a short set of 2 minutes killed me. Same on TR - anything up to 90s is relatively easy, at 90s the hard stuff starts, even if the rests are longer. Taylor = easy, Bluebell = quite easy, Mills = oops.