FTP test - natural or high RPM?

I’ve been cycling outdoors / Peleton for 3 years, and have an FTP estimate on a Peleton. I’m going to take an FTP test on Zwift soon. I’m a bit heavier (5’8 / 190lbs) and tying to lose weight. My thighs are big. I notice my more comfortable zone is around 70-80 rpm when hitting high watts. During Zwift trainings, I struggle a lot to keep 90rpm and high wattage. I keep wanting to grind it.

For an FTP test, should I force myself to be at high RPM? Or should I maximize wattage at whatever RPM I’m comfortable with, even if I’m hammer time at 60-75 rpm?

Self-selected cadence for your test. :+1:

Try different cadences during workouts and other rides in order to widen the cadence range at which you’re comfortable producing power. Over time you may (or may not) shift your self-selected cadence up or down.

I do this quite a bit when riding with RoboPacers. There’s plenty of ways to produce 180 watts, all the way down to 45rpm and all the way up to 120rpm and all points in between.


Everyone’s optimum cadence is different. Go with what works well for you - it’s not like you’re doing 40rpm or something ridiculous.

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Thanks! This helps a lot! I guess I have to just train a bit more to start getting comfortable with producing Z4 at 90 rpm. Right now I’m fine with my Z4-Z6, but only at “my” rpms. I struggle completely to stick to Z4 at 85+ rpm and always want to be at 65-75-ish. That’s what the workouts are for, I guess!

Just jump in and try it and do your best.
If this is your first FTP test, you will probably not perform your best test.

There is a learning curve to know how to pace yourself to hold a max effort for 20 min and actually reaching max fatigue at the very end.
It only comes from experience and is a somewhat uncomfortable process.
Don’t compare the ramp test to the 20 min test.
The tests are different and you should only compare similar tests.

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cadence doesn’t matter on FTP tests, only raw power, so go with what ur most comfortable with.

slow-twitch rider detected! TT machine?

Just go with what you are comfortable with.

Too low RPM and your legs will die. Higher RPM and your heart rate probably spikes higher. It’s a balance between that and knowing how to time your effort so you don’t explode at 15 minutes (assuming 20 minute test).

My ideal RPM used to be 95-110 for 2x18min FTP intervals, anything less than 90 and legs would be struggling.