Cycling Apps

Zwift Adds The FTP Ramp Test To Their Workout Library

Zwift added a new FTP Ramp test to their workout plans. The Ramp Test is an assessment workout that uses gradual increases in Target Power to push you as hard as possible over the course of a fairly short but demanding, continuous effort.

This method of testing isn’t new and has been around in some shape or form for many years. If you’ve done a VO2 max test, then you’ve probably done this graded test. 

TrainerRoad added the RAMP test last year after doing many months of testing and refinement to the algorithm using data from over 7000 athletes. It is now the new standard way to do an FTP test in all their plans.

I did the test using both applications this morning multiple times running through different scenarios to see if the calculation is any different. Basically, me testing the test.

Here is the YouTube video of the results. It was a good workout after having to run through it over 4 times.

WHAT IS FTP TESTING

The goal of FTP (Functional Threshold Test) is to calculate your ability to sustain the highest possible power over 60-minutes. The best way to do an FTP test is by taking that number from a recent race or going for an all-out time trial.

However, not everyone has access to a 60-minute race any time of the year so other methods were developed to calculate your FTP. The most popular one is the 20-minute test.

Up until now, two variations of the 20-minutes test – modeled after Hunter Allen – to calculate FTP in their training plans.

If you’ve done an FTP test, then you know how hard those can be. Aside from the physical part, they can also be mentally exhausting. I’ve lost sleep when I knew I had to get up in the morning and do an FTP test so I always tried to avoid them and estimate my power based on recent workouts. After many years of racing and riding, you get good at knowing where your FTP should be.

THE NEW RAMP TEST

The idea behind the RAMP test is to make FTP testing less daunting and easier to do.

The first half of the workout begins with a 5 minute warm up. The first block starts at 100 watts and then gradually incrase by 20 watts every 1-minutes. Simply match your watts to the target power and hang in there for as long as you can until you can’t pedal any longer.

Typically, the test lasts between 16-20 minutes and really doesn’t start to get uncomfortable until those last few minutes.

Zwift will take your best 1-minute power and take 75% of that as your FTP.

ERG MODE OR SLOPE MODE

When performing an FTP test, generally, you want to turn ERG mode off to get a proper assessment. However, the RAMP test is different. ERG mode is the preferred method to take your mind off changing gears to try to match the target power. Simply set your smart trainer on ERG mode and go until you can’t pedal any longer. If you prefer slope or resistance mode or have a dumb trainer, that’s okay too.

HOW TO PERFORM THE RAMP TEST:

  • If you have a smart trainer, set it on ERG mode
  • You don’t need to warm up. The first half of the workout should take place at low enough intensities that you should not require a warm-up. If you decide to add time for a longer warm up, just try to repeat that same method every time you test.
  • Don’t worry about your cadence.
  • There is no heart rate target that you have to meet. You can perform the test without a heart rate monitor.
  • You want to be seated during the full test.
  • If you are a triathlete on TT bike, then do the test in your aero position and try not to get out or stand.
  • You don’t need to finish the full workout.
  • Pedal until you can’t pedal any longer or your power start dropping.
  • Zwift will set your FTP based on your best 1-minute.

Did you take the RAMP test? What did you think?

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