Ramp Test - did first one and not sure if I did it right?

Hi all,

So today I did my first Ramp Test (I did the light ramp test), but I’m not sure if I did it exactly right (?)

During the test, I was often about 10-20 watts lower than the average I was supposed to be hitting. Sometimes a message on the screen would tell me to “use more power”, but - how do you use more power? I was in some cases already peddling quite fast (90 RPM).

Maybe related to the above question - I wasn’t sure what to do in terms of changing gears (or not changing gears). In the end, I don’t think it mattered as I was in my easiest gears if I recal so couldn’t make it easier anyway. But I’m not sure if I was supposed to just leave my gears completely alone after the warm-up (and if I wasn’t supposed to touch them, then what gear I should have left the bike in once the ERG started). Maybe in ERG it doesn’t matter at all what gears my bike is in? I don’t know.

Lastly, is this how it’s supposed to happen… at one point it suddenly got MUCH harder than the minute before, like I couldn’t even push on my pedals any harder to turn them anymore. This was at step 8 (don’t laugh :slight_smile: ) It’s just that it was a much more noticeable jump in resistance from 7 to 8 than from the minute increments prior. Obviously, I had to let the test end there.

Does the “Trainer Difficulty” setting play into the FTP or Ramp tests at all? I had mine set to around 35% or so, I did plan on upping that to 50% going forward in general but I forget to do that before I started the ramp test.

no, once you are in ERG mode the gradient doesn’t matter and has no effect on the resistance.

when in ERG mode, leave the gear in the same spot, most people like to choose one in the middle of the cassette, with the big ring up front. As long as you aren’t cross chaining, then it should be fine.

What trainer do you use? Is it a smart trainer?

EDIT: I see you have a Kickr, so you should just have to keep pedaling until you can’t go any more. As the ramp test steps up, make sure to increase your cadence a bit to get on top of the increased resistance then you can settle back in for the rest of the interval.

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Ignore the “more power” message when you’re on a smart trainer in ERG mode. It’s very misleading. If the trainer has set a power target then just choose a steady cadence and let the trainer adjust its resistance so that you’re producing the power target at that cadence (which might take a couple of seconds).

That message is only really relevant to dumb trainers.

On a smart trainer, if you’re in a workout with a power target and you pedal faster because it tells you to increase power, you’ll get into a vicious circle where the trainer will have the decrease resistance because of your increased cadence (because higher cadence means higher power if resistance stays constant), and you’ll end up pedalling faster and faster until you spin out, and think your trainer has gone wrong.

So always keep a steady cadence and let the trainer adjust resistance, whenever you’re in an ERG mode power target section.


Brilliant Nathalie! You did one (popping over from your other thread as I’ve just noticed this one!). Yes - your experience is basically how the ramp test goes. As you say… one minute you’re working hard but basically ok and then the next minute you literally cannot turn the pedals around. It is very quick. :grinning:

If you don’t mind sharing what FTP value did Zwift give you?

Thanks Steve!

Thanks Mike!

It gave me an FTP of 108, I posted my stats on the earlier thread but I’ll post them here too:

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your heartrate monitor has tons of signal drop outs… might be an issue with your environment, too many things interfering with it maybe? Is your trainer losing connection a lot too?

Cool. If you have an optical Fenix, get a strap. Optical on the wrist does not really work on a bike. The Fenix, almost sure, can connect to a strap.

This is so important to know!
When I did my ramp test I was getting angry enough at the trainer to elevate my heartrate. I finally quit pedaling… and started up again, and it chilled out the “zero resistance mode” or whatever it’s issue was. Of course I was so tired from spinning the pedals that I ran out of gas shortly thereafter, soon I will have to try again. :slight_smile:


Hi Mike
I have an ANT+ USB for the Wahoo Kickr, the dongle is literally under the trainer. It dropped out briefly once while I was doing the ramp test, and tends to drop out 1-2 times during other rides too. I do have it on a USB extension cord, but without the cord I wouldn’t be able to get it as close to the trainer as it is now.

My watch has both bluetooth and ANT+ so I’m not certain how it connects to the trainer. There could be some interference (there’s a PC next to me, my monitor in front of me) and I connect to my PC’s sound for Zwift sounds and music via BT to my headset.

I’m not sure what I can do to help the watch connection. I don’t think this would be interfering but I’ll throw it out there, I wear a sweatband that I fold in half in front of my watch to keep it from sliding towards my hand when I sweat.

Hi Chris, in what way does the Fenix not work well on the wrist for cycling? I wear a sweat band to keep it from moving towards my hands so it stays steady over the correct part of my arm. I actually mostly got this watch because I hated wearing a chest strap (well that any my old polar watch wasn’t a smart watch and didn’t broadcast anything). I’d think the wrist optical should work better for cycling than say something like running since my hands remain rather steady so I’m just curios what issues you’ve heard of.

Check Drainmaker.com for reviews on all the Fenix models. I have yet to see one work for cycling. I think they mostly work for running but I assume something to do with bending the wrist or whatever. It is not just Fenix issue. I think this is prevalent across many devices.

You have not mentioned which Fenix but here is F6: Garmin Fenix 6 Series In-Depth Review | DC Rainmaker scroll pretty far down for HR analysis. This one seems better than many in the past. If you are having HR dropouts it is because it is on the wrist. F3 & F5 are also on the website. You can to to Reviews at the top, pick Garmin, and scroll through until your Fenix shows.

If you do not like chest straps, they do make arm bands/straps that seem to work well but I have no experience.

Wrist based optical HR is fine once you find the sweet spot, it’s just that many people don’t mess around enough to actually find that position.
I tend to tighten the strap a couple of holes to really hold the position, which for me is just above the wrist bone. It can take a few minutes to align so before doing an important workout i will free ride for a while. For the record i use a Garmin VivoActive3 which provides 24hour HR imformation which is useful for tracking resting HR and thus fatigue.

The Garmin chest straps are the best I have found compared other other brands; not bulky and fit well. Optical isn’t as accurate; It’s great for 24hr general monitoring but for exercise a chest strap is the best option for accuracy.