General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate? Rss Feed  
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2018-10-30 9:40 PM
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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?

Somebody help me out here......HOW ARE YOU NOT ABLE TO COMPLETE THE TEST???  By it's very nature it is a test of what you can do......at the end of the 20 minutes it's there....THAT is what you were able to do.  If you died in the middle of it you still get a number.

All of this garbage of what you should be able to do, or the metrics that were entered before you ever did the test, is just crap.

Get calibrated so that your watts are measured correctly, and go as hard as you can for 20 minutes......that's it!!!  Just keep going.....you will know soon enough if you went too hard or not hard enough....because at the end you will feel like you were close to death or you left something on the table.  Train for a month or so.....take what you learned the first time and do it again.

Stop paying people for something this simple.....find a guy who knows it's a MEASUREMENT, not a program.



Edited by Left Brain 2018-10-30 9:45 PM


2018-10-31 2:43 PM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?
I agree that there really shouldn't be a way to "fail" a test. "Quit" yes, but "fail" no.

As for the ramp test, it is a cool concept that allows for pacing to be taken out of the equation. A lot of FTP tests are tests of pacing as much as fitness, and in reality it should only be a test of fitness. Ramp tests actually make it simpler. It's done in the same manner as a VO2 Max test where resistance is continually added until failure. But if your kid was going in to do a VO2 Max test on a treadmill, they certainly wouldn't start him at a walking pace and move up from there as they'd be there all day. They would take into account his running history and start at a higher speed than most people as the failure part is what they're interested in. Same thing here; you enter a value so they don't start too easy and the test isn't unnecessarily long. I don't think this was the OP's issue. I think it was a pacing issue where she tried to go way too hard then quit. Which is another reason the ramp test is more popular now as it takes that error out.
2018-10-31 5:37 PM
in reply to: 3mar

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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?

OK.....but that "error" is where the learning takes place.  It's the dumbing down of everything.......I don't see shortcuts to fast racing.

2018-11-01 9:36 AM
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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?
Originally posted by alicefoeller

Thank you. I think the problem is that while doing the test, it gives you a bar you are supposed to meet (cycle at 130 watts for the next 5 minutes!) and I'm like, right, I could do that for about 30 seconds. It makes me want to give up, or I think that I'm not doing the test correctly, or that I won't get any results at all if I'm not holding that wattage. And if I do the one inside Zwift, if I'm not putting out the wattage it wants, it just makes the resistance HARDER AND HARDER until I can't pedal at all. So then I really do have to quit.
The one on my Garmin at least I could complete.
Can people really do the one in Zwift? I get that I'm a small woman, but really, I should be able to do the test that is supposed to allow me to compare my progress over time, right?


It sounds like some of these tests are being run in what is known as Erg mode. The software basically puts the trainer at a given wattage and forces you to try and hold it. If you increase your cadence, it will ease up the tension a bit. If you decrease your cadence it increases the tension. It's trying to get you to hold a power level. What is probably happening is you are fatiguing, your cadence is dropping and tension is increasing, your cadence decreases more, tension increase and it spirals until you fail completely. Kind of like a treadmill, if you can't hold the pace set, it throws you off the back :-)

Some protocols work really well in Erg mode. The ramps test is one of them because the whole idea is to increase until failure.

But other protocols, like a 20min test are best done in non erg mode. It's also known as slope mode.

So a) pick the protocol you want to use b) pick the right trainer settings to do it

There are several protocols of varying value.
The 20min test, in slope mode is a pretty well known protocol. The ramp test in Erg mode is a really good test as well.



Edited by marcag 2018-11-01 9:37 AM
2018-11-01 10:29 AM
in reply to: #5251203

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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?
As someone else said, make sure the default settings in the software program you are using are correct for you. I think my default ftp setting in Zwift was 200 watts.
2018-11-01 8:27 PM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?
Originally posted by Left Brain

Somebody help me out here......HOW ARE YOU NOT ABLE TO COMPLETE THE TEST???  By it's very nature it is a test of what you can do......at the end of the 20 minutes it's there....THAT is what you were able to do.  If you died in the middle of it you still get a number.

All of this garbage of what you should be able to do, or the metrics that were entered before you ever did the test, is just crap.

Get calibrated so that your watts are measured correctly, and go as hard as you can for 20 minutes......that's it!!!  Just keep going.....you will know soon enough if you went too hard or not hard enough....because at the end you will feel like you were close to death or you left something on the table.  Train for a month or so.....take what you learned the first time and do it again.

Stop paying people for something this simple.....find a guy who knows it's a MEASUREMENT, not a program.




Because if you do the test in Zwift for example, on a smart trainer, the test demands a certain wattage. If you can't create that wattage (I CANNOT ride at 130 watts for 10 minutes, for example) the erg function will keep making the resistance harder and harder in an attempt to get higher wattage, until I can't turn the pedals at all. Then I have to stop.

That's why I can't complete the test.


2018-11-01 8:29 PM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?
Yes @margac - It defaults to erg mode for the test.

I see how I could take it out of erg mode, and I guess that's what I need to do. It seems like the default mode would be the one that would allow you to complete the test.

Thanks for the clarification.

LB - Do you get what I'm saying now? I'm not "quitting," I just can't make the pedals go around.
2018-11-01 9:07 PM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?
I think you will do much better when YOU choose the starting power, gearing, and cadence that is right for your body and fitness level, rather than use a pre-programmed test. Like my coach changing the gears on me.....It's not going to be optimal when someone else chooses those things based on what works for them or what they think you "should" be able to do. I'm also guessing that those programs might be normed for men, or "standard-sized" people who weigh 150 pounds, or whatever.
2018-11-01 9:07 PM
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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?
When you go to your profile in Zwift, what is your ftp value?
2018-11-01 9:32 PM
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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?

Originally posted by alicefoeller Yes @margac - It defaults to erg mode for the test. I see how I could take it out of erg mode, and I guess that's what I need to do. It seems like the default mode would be the one that would allow you to complete the test. Thanks for the clarification. LB - Do you get what I'm saying now? I'm not "quitting," I just can't make the pedals go around.

Then get off the program and make the damn pedals go around....learn your pace and cadence.  You will fail, and you will fail, and then you will find it....and then you will have a measurement to gauge your improvement and ultimately your best pace for your race of choice.  That's how getting the most out of your body works.  The wheel does not need to be re-invented.....if you look at endurance sports over the last 20-25 years there is no magic pill....and no, the times have not somehow dramatically improved just because some folks have figured out a way to scam money off of some bullchit that you don't need.(and, as you have seen, can make you feel like a failure so you come back for more....ridiculous)    All you need is a properly calibrated means to measure your watts for 20 minutes.....then go to work.....IT'S JUST A MEASUREMENT......IT'S NOT A PROGRAM.

The "program" is what you do between the measurements to improve the measurement......which shows a knowledge and fitness gain.  Your training and how you go about THAT is the "program".  You simply cannot, at your level, (and that includes most AG'ers) let a machine decide how fit you are or what you "should" be able to do.....those metrics don't know crap about your body or your fitness level.  YOU tell the machine what you can do, that's the measurement at the end of your test.....and you train to keep improving.



Edited by Left Brain 2018-11-01 9:50 PM
2018-11-02 5:07 AM
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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?
Originally posted by alicefoeller

Yes @margac - It defaults to erg mode for the test.

I see how I could take it out of erg mode, and I guess that's what I need to do. It seems like the default mode would be the one that would allow you to complete the test.

Thanks for the clarification.

LB - Do you get what I'm saying now? I'm not "quitting," I just can't make the pedals go around.


They seem to have this test . https://whatsonzwift.com/workouts/ftp-tests/
It looks like they try to control the wattage for the warmup but then have a 20min "free ride" where you go all out
The warmup portion is done using a % of your current FTP, which makes sense if you know your previous FTP but doesn't make sense for a first test.

Also they do a 5min at 110% FTP before the 20min "free ride". So if your current FTP setting is too high, you are not going to make it through that. Many people don't do the 5miin blow out, although they should. Not doing it leads to artificially high FTP values.

JoelO asked what your FTP setting was. I think the trick is to fix this IF you want to use this test.

I would also avoid stepping on LB's lawn.

Edited by marcag 2018-11-02 5:31 AM


2018-11-02 10:27 AM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?
I can't imagine trying to do the 20 min test in ERG mode. That just doesn't seems like it will work. Trainer Road is set to resistance mode for 20 min test. The ramp test is perfect for ERG mode and will be accurate enough to base training off of. If you really really want to do the 20 min test make sure you do it in resistance and set it so you have some gearing options to be able to increase or decrease power as you see fit. For the record zwift races can also be used as unofficial FTP tests, normally harder to pace that effort. However, I've set a 20 min power peak when I pushed myself way past comfort zone with the race motivation.
2018-11-02 11:26 AM
in reply to: jnuger

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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?

The coach I use specifically states that we should NOT be using erg mode when he has us do our FTP test (which is not a ramp test, but a 20 minute). I agree with lefty - find a protocol with a good warmup, hit lap, and record what power you can do for 20 minutes. It's also totally normal for your power on a trainer to be lower than your power outdoors, so don't get too hung up on what numbers you "should" be hitting. Here's why: https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/adjusting-your-functional-threshold-power-for-indoor-riding/

2018-11-08 5:31 AM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?
I use Trainerroad and they came up with a ramp FTP test. It seems to result in a similar ftp as a 20 minute test. The ramp test has a short warm-up and then bumps up the level ~6% of your current ftp every minute. The test is only awful for the last few minutes. Your FTP is based on a percentage of your hardest minute. Start to finish for me my last test took 21 minutes followed by a cool down.
2018-11-08 6:10 AM
in reply to: nickster

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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?
Originally posted by nickster

I use Trainerroad and they came up with a ramp FTP test. It seems to result in a similar ftp as a 20 minute test. The ramp test has a short warm-up and then bumps up the level ~6% of your current ftp every minute. The test is only awful for the last few minutes. Your FTP is based on a percentage of your hardest minute. Start to finish for me my last test took 21 minutes followed by a cool down.


The guys from British cycling were using the ramp test way back when. They also had formulas to go from ramp test to VO2Max as well as Threshold.
2018-11-12 9:23 PM
in reply to: marcag

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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?

Originally posted by marcag
Originally posted by nickster I use Trainerroad and they came up with a ramp FTP test. It seems to result in a similar ftp as a 20 minute test. The ramp test has a short warm-up and then bumps up the level ~6% of your current ftp every minute. The test is only awful for the last few minutes. Your FTP is based on a percentage of your hardest minute. Start to finish for me my last test took 21 minutes followed by a cool down.
The guys from British cycling were using the ramp test way back when. They also had formulas to go from ramp test to VO2Max as well as Threshold.

Marc - curious why it's better to use ERG mode for the ramp test?



2018-11-13 6:56 PM
in reply to: GoFaster

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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?

Erg mode helps on the ramp test since you're trying to hit precise numbers for each 1 minute interval.  If you have the trainer in slope mode its a lot harder to push the exact number the test is asking you to hit for each increment.

2018-12-02 9:56 AM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?

Hello Alice, please come swim with me at the Rose Bowl again one day.

I own a kickr snap and have an FTP outside about the range you are describing according to two PT hubs.  After six months of fighting with the kickr snap -- some days 30% higher than the PT, some days 30% lower, most days somewhere in between -- I called Wahoo, twice.  Both techs told me that the Snap requires about 100 watts just to spin the flywheel and so is not accurate if you ride under about 120 watts; it will not calibrate properly  The first guy said to me, "Why are you riding 120 watts anyway, that is recovery effort."  The "smart" Snap is, then, for most purposes a very expensive "dumb" trainer for people with FTP around that range.

DCRainmaker has offered to see if another smart trainer has a more accurate "floor."  If you are only "a little below average" using Zwift and your Snap, and you feel as if you are working with effort and momentum, don't let the numbers undermine your confidence.

2018-12-02 10:01 AM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Are FTP tests designed to make me feel inadequate?

Originally posted by alicefoeller  And if I do the one inside Zwift, if I'm not putting out the wattage it wants, it just makes the resistance HARDER AND HARDER until I can't pedal at all. So then I really do have to quit. 

That's a feature of the Kickr Snap, not Zwift ... if you use ERG mode same thing happens.  Wahoo says it's designed that way, Too bad so sad if you are a small woman; just stop pedaling, reset, and start again.  Like that's what we want to do in an FTP test.  Better to go buy an actual power meter and use those numbers.

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