I’ve seen a whole raft of posts about people being unsure that the ramp test is providing an accurate ftp. If you are unsure, could one solution be to just skip the first workout of the week and simply add in a 40+ min interval at your new FTP. I think by the 40 min mark you’d be able to assess whether your ftp is right or not.
A couple of workouts can be done to evaluate FTP after a test. Lamarck is a common recommendation.
Did my second ramp test this morning after completing SSBLV1. Results were a bit better, but I still think there is a bit of a learning curve to this that I haven’t optimized. My first test said 238 as stated above. This test said 254. 254 is slightly higher than the 250 I arbitrarily chose and have been training at since the first test, so it’s perhaps more indicative. I did fail on the 16th step so I started to wonder about this test. The end of the 15th step coincides with the 20 minute mark and since I barely made it past the 20 minute mark, makes me think that getting to 20 minutes is equivalent to your current FTP. Anything beyond perhaps shows an FTP increase. I’d like to hear if others have seen something different.
If this is true, I’d be interested in knowing how many folks also fail on step 16. To me that would seem like a very common step to fail on since FTP is hard to raise. I did get my heart rate to 178 this time, but it wasn’t my heart that ended this test. My cadence was going along at a nice 95 average until the 19 minute mark (step 14). Step 15 it dropped to 80. This was the beginning of the end. Step 16 it dropped to 50 and quickly grinded to a stop.
Anyways, seemed a bit better, but definitely think I’ll be better prepared for it next time and hopefully stronger!
The “break even” point in the Ramp Test is at the 19:30 mark. If you have consistent power, that will be the point you match the FTP value at the start of the test.
The thoughts you express lead me to a suggestion I am sharing throughout for the Ramp test:
- Assuming you are on a smart trainer and using ERG mode, hide all data except cadence, and take the Ramp test. I think too many people fixate on the time and/or steps and end up bailing too soon.
- I have done this my self by looking at power or heart rate that seems too much, and I give up, rather than going until true failure.
Lately, I run the test in ERG from my phone, and just flip it over, run the test until I pop, and then look at the phone again. I hit my best result ever by doing it “blind”.
Not everyone needs this approach, but seeing power or heart rate in particular start to mess with my mind in a test. I am better just staring at a video or chasing a wheel in Zwift and not thinking about numbers in any way.
Yeah, you are probably right. Some of my best outdoor rides have been where I forgot my heart rate monitor and therefore didn’t know if I was above my threshold or not. I will probably try to distract myself a little better next time.
@russell.r.sage I had been doing the 20 min test for years, and was intrigued to try the Ramp Test when I joined TR. I was rested, dug really deep (HR about 16bpm above threshold and about 7bpm below the max ever recorded during the past 12 months). I failed miserably (20W below my starting point).
As I wanted to get started on SSB MV1 asap, I just took 0.95x my fastest 20min time from my PDC and upped that by a few watts as my starting point. Since then and subsequent to learning to use TR’s Workout Creator (a great tool!), I have created Dr. Andrew Coggan’s 20min FTP test in WC. [Note: Coach Chad’s 20min FTP test misses a few key elements of Dr. Coggan’s test as defined in “Training and Racing with a Power Meter”]. I have been using that since and find it to be substantially better for me than the Ramp Test with results to show for it.
Are you suggesting that the correctly carried out 20 min FTP protocol is flawed and overestimates FTP? If so, could you send some links?
Or are you suggesting that people misuse the concept of a 20 minute test and carry it out incorrectly?
A true 20 minute all out is difficult to execute; pace it too conservative and you leave too much on the table. Go too deep and you blow up. And depending on how much anaerobic contribution (which can vary both between people and also within a season), the number you get isn’t necessarily reliable.
If you are going to do a longer test, I like the progressive tests detailed in the article. They are way easier to get right and are less taxing on your body, and give you important calibration data around what riding at your FTP “feels” like.
My protocol during my test weeks right now is:
- Tuesday: Ramp Test
- Wednesday: Easy
- Thursday: 1 minute and 5-15 second max efforts
- Friday: Easy
- Saturday: TTE test using Ramp Test number as the target
- Sunday: Coffee ride
This spits out a pretty good number for all of the major headline numbers in WKO4 as well, and I can keep the number accurate by doing a few all out efforts in various durations over the next 90 days.
I’m testing less often than most people since I have my season structured into two race block and starting in March I’ll be racing several times over the course of 5 weeks, so I’ll just re-asses after a de-load week at the end of the race block in Mid-April