Why the ramp test is the best FTP test

Three primary tests for normal people
In theory, an 8-minute or even “better,” a 20-minute FTP test are superior to a ramp test. But most of the cycling world has moved to ramp tests for a good reason.

Here are the primary reasons

  • Both the 8 and 20-minute tests are painful. This means you won’t want to perform them often.
  • Both the 8 and 20-minute require precise pacing, which most riders frequently fail or feel they could have done better. Screwing up the pacing can reduce your motivation because you get a lower FTP.
  • The ramp test is almost a fun workout, except for the last 2-minutes. The results are highly consistent, but just might need a slight adjustment down if you have a sprinter profile.

From a training perspective, using a ramp test FTP estimation to base your training is accurate enough. From a TT race pacing perspective, you need to investigate that and potentially spend the first 1/2 slightly under your FTP.

No testing protocol is consistently accurate. Even lab tests are inaccurate. I have discussed this at length with a few top coaches and they all agree the ramp test is a superior testing protocol and accurate enough to accomplish the principal goal.

The Standard Modern Ramp Test

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You can easily perform a ramp test using the paid version of our app. Just copy this workout to your library.


Find your average watts of the last minute before failure. Taking this and multiply times 0.75 (75%). This will give you the same or very similar FTP scoring to the other major platforms. In talking with a pro lab-coach, when comparing this power-based ramp test to actual blood lactate levels, riders fall between 0 .7-.8. 0.75 is a great middle range.

Below is Strava Metrics


Just select the last minute before failure. You can use many popular software packages, such as Strava. TrainingPeaks, GoldenCheetah and others.

Happy testing… Below is a slight introduction if needed. Thanks ~alex

What is FTP?

Just as a brief introduction in case someone is unsure. FTP is Functional Threshold Power. This is the average power you can sustain for 40–60 minutes. Above FTP is where you produce more lactate than your body can remove, so you have a significantly shorter amount of time you can operate at this level. Monitoring your FTP and improving it is both motivation and information. It makes it clearer to you what training is working and what is not.

How Often Should You Test Your FTP?

That’s a very personal question 🙂 Meaning if you have not tested in a while and don’t know your FTP before a training plan is good. If you are following a training plan and you are half way into a build period that’s also a good time. Generally if you like tests, you can do them every 4 weeks or so but more so I would recommend every 8 weeks or even longer, especially during periods of slower increases. 10 watts off here or there are not going to have a major impact on your training plan. Especially when we are talking about the Coach Jack plan builder because it is very incremental and should never be kill yourself difficult. The peak period can get pretty hard but you will be prepared for it.

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