Route for FTP test

I’ve read through a bunch of Forum posts, and there is a lot of conflicting information.
I recently did a ramp test which set a higher than expected FTP, When I did my first workout post test I couldn’t complete it, not even close.
Well after lots of reading I now know a ramp test is pretty useless at gauging a real FTP.
I’m one of those that can hold a high wattage for a short time, but not a mid wattage for a long time.
I’m a mountain biker, and not a road rider so the strengths are really different.
The reason I even did a ramp test was because the last time I tried doing a Short FTP test I ended up going downhill as the warmup ended, and couldn’t produce more than 180w.
Again mountain bike, 1 single ring with a 34 tooth front so I can’t do much going down a hill.
I’m looking for a suggested route that has ideally a gradual uphill, and no downhill.
I looked on What’s on Zwift, and there weren’t any FTP test routes that i could find.

Dear Zwift. If this is such an important part of the platform why is it so hard to make it happen?

Use a flat route like Tempus Fugit or Tick Tock. Or if you want an uphill route use Road To Sky, where you should reach the climb before the warmup ends.


I think on an FTP test or any workout, the trainer ignores the gradient changes, ie, your trainer acts like a dumb trainer for the duration of the test.
I only have a dumb trainer so someone else can confirm this.

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That is not correct, and hence my earlier post about the conflicting information.
It would be REALLY nice if Zwift made this more clear in their description of how an FTP test works.
In both short, and long FTP tests you begin the test with a warm up in ERG mode that ignores terrain.
When the warmup ends it drops out of ERG and now you are using the terrain for the actual test.

Like Steve said earlier a big flat route if you have the chainring to support it, or a hill climb.
I think Road to Sky is the winner, but I’m not a super Zwifter so not sure of all the options.

This is not true @Mick-e

If you look at the FTP test in a text editor you will see FreeRide Duration=“1200” FlatRoad=“1”

That flatroad=1 tell Zwift not to simulate the terain so you will need to change the resistance with the incline button on the Companion app or the ± button on your Keyboard.

If you want to simulate the road incline you will have to change the flatroad=1 to flatroad=0

See this:

Thanks Gerrie,
That’s really helpful, but adds even more conflicting information to an already murky topic.
I will look at that video, and what you are saying makes sense.
To do a good FTP test you want a flat route like Tik-Tok, and adjust the resistance to spin at the desired wattage.
Wow that sounds so easy.
I think it’s pathetic that Zwift doesn’t make this more clear setting up an FTP test.

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It is very easy,

I would suggest you do the FTP but skip the first few blocks up to the one before the 20 Free ride and see what your trainer does when it switch to the free ride. Then adjust the resistance to something you feel will be in the correct ball park. Skip the the rest workout and re-start the test now do the whole thing and get a new FTP.

Good luck.

Edit: I prefer to do a FTP test up the epic KOM having a climb on the screen trick my brain to go harder.

Just hit a ramp test (short or normal) which keeps ERG on so the route is not material. They are both generally shorter tests as well (handy for us 1x riders!)
The short one might be appropriate for your power but even the longer one is still short’ish and both will allow you to consistently check your progress over time.

Here’s the 4 FTP tests Zwift provide - you can see where the ramp tests differ to non-ramp

Now thats a pro tip right there


Dean did you read the initial post?
Please do a search for “ramp test” and you will see why I started this thread.
As a MTBer I am used to digging deep for short powerful bursts.
I can go deep into the ramp test, and come up with a way over inflated FTP.
This morning I tried doing the Sweet Spot Training workout which is the first workout I’ve done since my FTP Ramp Test.
I could barely complete the first segment.
I was hitting 195 heart rate and it wasn’t going down in the green zone.
I knew something wasn’t right, and started searching the Zwift forums.
Zwift’s ramp test is broken, and gives a false positive, especially since it doesn’t do a long warm up.

Yes sorry I read it in my speed reading technique (laziness) and might have missed a keyword or two!

Having said that, I have never seen any bugs with the ramp tests (and still infrequently use the longer one to check in against my race performances) but do see a lot of confusion from people around them (your point about Zwift could make it easier being on-point here).

Out of curiosity, what FTP did it suggest and roughly what do you think you should be. An alternative to a test (but is repeatable) that some suggest is going up Alp du Zwift to get an accurate FTP. For me it works out well as I do it just on 60mins and I get the mental stimuli that Gerrie suggests. The numbers normally come out right. FWIW.

If you believe that the ramp test overinflates your FTP then why not do the 20 minute test? I agree that someone who has a bigger anerobic contribution will test higher in the ramp test. I would be curious to know how different of a result you come up with. I do the ramp test, no way I could do that power for an hour, well at least I am not gonna try.

I use TrainerRoad for my structured training. They have a 20 minute amd ramp test available. Before releasing the ramp test they did quite a bit of work in testing many athletes. They concluded that the ramp test was providing the same results as the 20 minute test. Not sure if that means they were within 1%, 2%, 5%? Jonathan Lee did both tests (not back to back, different days, I think 1 day apart) and his result was only 1 W different.

Last point, with your 20 minute test result you may find anerobic capacity and VO2 max workouts too easy. I always use a 6X3 minute with 3 minutes rest between VO2 max as a basic go to workout. I find that I am also a short power guy and can pretty easily do these at 120% ftp. Perhaps you can do them at 125%. A steady state power athlete maybe needs to go down to 115%. Flip all that when it comes to doing 2X20 minutes at 100% ftp. Perhaps that is 95% for you and 100% for him.

In all honesty try the 20 minute test and report back as I am curious.

First of all define a “ramp test”.
1 min,
2 min,
3 min,
4 min, …
Which Ramp test at power, cedance?
From my own experience if you do a proper ramp test around 3 to 4 min per block starting at 150 w with 30 w increase every 3 or 4 min at a minimum of 90 RPM will lead in a very equal and accuracte FTP compared to a CP20/30 and even CP60.

Make sure to disable your ERG mode of whatever interactive resistence is valid.

Set 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Power (Watt) 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360 390 420 450 480 510
Time (min) 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Cadence (rpm) 90-110 90-110 90-110 90-110 90-110 90-110 90-110 90-110 90-110 90-110 90-110 90-110 90-110

I found the ramp test to be useless, it underestimated my FTP, but I think that the reason is because I’m on the small side .I got a number, and later that day was able to do a TdZ ride at over that number. The problem is that I can’t put out high watts, but I can out out relatively high W/Kg.
The ramp test favors people who are diesels, big cyclists who thrive on the flats putting out high power, not necessarily high W/Kg.
I’m 5’7", 148 lbs, I’m good on hills (IRL & Zwift), I can hold 4.0 w/kg on a one hour climb, but have zero chance of doing so on a flat road. I can pull a paceline up a hill, but can barely keep up on the flats.
I have used the Innsbruck climb for my FTP efforts, I can put in a 20-minute effort on that hill , AdZ is great too, next I’m going to try Mt. Ventoux.

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148 lbs = 67 kg, 4,0 W/kg * 67 = 268 W.
This is your REAL FTP, when you can hold it for one hour.

FTP stands for Functional Threshold Power and is effectively a measure of the power you can hold for an hour, measured in watts.

It’s really strange. Grinding 300W up a hill is doable but holding it on Tempus Fugit requires constant focusing. Perhaps your brain just thinks “42km/h should be enough for anyone”

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Peter I am a bit confused on your comment as it relates to the size of athlete and w/kg.

The ramp test is supposed to estimate ftp in a shorter less stressful way than linger format tests. I would say in particular it is more accurate for new cyclists that may have no idea how to pace a 20 minute effort. Either way both tests produce a raw power number. It doesn’t matter how big you are or what your w/kg is. Some people are 100W, some are 200W, some are 400W. Doesn’t matter how big you are.

How does the ramp test favor larger cyclists that are good at putting down power on the flats?

The ramp test will artificially inflate the FTP more for those good at short-term power. I suggest that more powerfully built riders (who are likely heavier) will probably fall into this category.

I should have written that it’s been “my observation” that this is the case, and I read something similar last year (can’t remember where). I think that when the “circle of death” starts in ERG mode, it’s more difficult for a smaller cyclist to grind through than for a larger, more powerful cyclist. Of the people who I know who’ve taken the ramp test, the larger, more powerful ones have had more accurate results than people like me.
As for newer cyclists not knowing how to pace for twenty minutes, that is a very good point, and will give them a starting point.
All of this is just my experience.

FWIW- I’ve used Xert’s “What’s my FTP” data field on my Garmin, which uses shorter max efforts to calculate an FTP. I’ve found that it gets within a few watts of my max 20-minute effort.

FTP = 95% of 20 mins effort is common estimate (Zwiftpower uses it, too).