Determine Your FTP with Zwift’s New Ramp Test

Determine Your FTP with Zwift’s New Ramp Test

If you know anything about training with power, you understand that your FTP is the key metric most commonly used for determining various training intervals. There’s just one problem with FTP: you have to test for it! And FTP tests are not fun.

Zwift has just released an in-game ramp test which determines your FTP in less time and suffering than the standard Zwift FTP test. While the standard FTP Test requires a challenging warmup followed by a 20-minute max effort, the Ramp Test begins with an easy warmup then ramps up incrementally each minute until you can’t go anymore. You can plan on 4-8 minutes of real effort with the Ramp Test, instead of 20. And the entire test will only take 10-20 minutes, while the standard FTP test takes 45 minutes!

Here’s how it works…

Choose the Ramp Test from the “FTP Tests” category in your workouts list, then click “Workout” to begin.

The test will let you warm up for 5 minutes at whatever level you’d like. It then starts you on an ascending series of 1-minute intervals beginning at 100 watts and increasing by 20 watts each minute.

Your goal here is to stay seated the entire time, and go until you can no longer turn the pedals. The text on-screen will give you these instructions and lots of other useful advice.

Once you stop pedaling, the screen will change:

And if you click “I’m toast” or let the timer run out, Zwift will calculate your FTP based on how far you got into your final interval.

That’s it! Just hop on, warm up, then ramp up your effort until you can’t go anymore. It’s quick and a lot less suffery than traditional FTP tests.

Notes from HQ

I asked Jordan Rapp at Zwift HQ about the new test, and he shared that some of the biggest (and nerdiest) news here is the enhancement to the ZWO file structure to support the Ramp Test functionality. No need getting into details now, but Zwift has implemented lots of enhancements to ZWO’s XML specification to make this test possible. No doubt those changes will prove useful for other workouts down the road.

Jordan also said one thing he really likes about the ramp test is that this is a great workout just to do. Looking for a short, max effort? Want to test your limits? Hop on and crush a ramp test!

Further Reading

Looking to dive deeper into training with power? You’ll be happy you did!

Knowing your FTP is just the start on your journey to most effective training. Here are the two best books on the subject (buy them by clicking below and help support this site!):

Your Thoughts?

Give it a try and comment below on your experience!

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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Gerrie Delport
Gerrie Delport (@gerriedelport)
1 year ago

Hi Eric,
Thanks for the write-up. Note that the links to the books is broken.

Alan Farnes
Super Member
Alan Farnes (@alan_taylor_farnes)
1 year ago

Okay but *how* does it *work*? What’s the formula they use to determine your FTP based on how far into the test you go? I know how a normal FTP works (95%) but how do they get the number based off of how long you last?

Matthew Keffer
Matthew Keffer
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Farnes

I think it is 75% your last completed 1min + a fraction of your failed 1 min.

Lex
Lex (@mr_filliny)
7 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Keffer

bbutt 75% of 340W is 255 – nit 225 like on picture. Does it counts right?

brano
brano
7 months ago
Reply to  Lex

yeah, was wandering about that as well, even this calculator https://zwifthacks.com/app/map-ftp-calculator/
gives you 255@chester.ritchie

V Lopez
V Lopez
1 year ago

Any issues doing this on a non smart trainer machine? Have to manually increase resistance and sometimes have trouble finding hitting the exact power target.

Ian Gardner
Ian Gardner
1 year ago

I did the Ramp test earlier today but when I finished it did not give me the option to click on ‘I’m toast’ and I had to click end ride. Hence it has not given me my FTP. Very disappointed with this particularly as I’m currently in the ‘7 day trail mode’, I think I will be using other software, which hopefully will be more reliable than Zwift

Nicky James
Nicky James (@10158334230439529_anonymous)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Gardner

I had the same issue just now and used the calculator below.

https://zwifthacks.com/app/map-ftp-calculator/

Alistair Flack
Alistair Flack
1 year ago

Intrigued if it’s a tacx neo thing, or due to using iPad over Bluetooth… but I find that in erg mode the resistance ‘clamps’ down really variably…making the ramp test and other workouts harder than necessary!

For example, near the end of one of the 1 min ramps, I was over the average wattage target, but it decided to further increase the resistance…made it impossible to turn the pedals, so pretty much instantly failed the next ramp. Bah!

calimeropierro
calimeropierro
1 year ago
Reply to  Alistair Flack

I had the same issue on an unstable internet connection. (using zwift on PC and companion/bluetooth on ipad) I switched to an other good connection and it is now working perfectly. As companion and zwift have to communicate, I suppose it is important to maintain a good connectivity between them.

Sandra Moeller
Sandra Moeller
1 year ago

I did this ramp test a few weeks ago and today. The thing is, it was way away from my “normal” ftp in game. My ftp during the game got to 179 over the last months, but my ramp test showed 212. Twice. So I think, this test is not a good option for everyone to find their ftp for the use in workouts.

Mattu D
Mattu D
1 year ago
Reply to  Sandra Moeller

Correct. The only thing good for everyone to calculate their FTP is riding hard for an hour

All else are estimates. And if your ramp test shows that much higher values than the normal 2×20 protocol, I’d surmise that you either are severely undertrained in endurance, have a body style which favors Shorter durations or you just haven’t done the 2×20 test properly

In the end tho, it’s all about progress (in whatever testing method you use)

Robert Barrett
1 year ago

I think I made the point before that both linear and step ramp test results are very dependent on the ramp rate being appropriate for the athlete. Rough rule of thumb, if your expectation is 200watts FTP then use a ramp rate of 10 watts per minute, 250 then 15 watts per minute, 300 then 20 watts a minute, and start at 50% of your anticipated FTP.

Andy
Andy
1 year ago

They say to pedal until you can’t pedal any more. Last week I made it to 400w before cadence and power started sliding. I simply couldn’t put out more power, but I could still keep pedalling. Next minute was 380w at 80rpm, then 360w at 60rpm, then 340w at 50rpm for a few minutes before I quit. I felt like I might’ve been able to push out a couple more minutes at less watts again, but at this point I wasn’t sure if it would make any difference to FTP. Does it make any difference to your FTP result if… Read more »

lefthandside
lefthandside
10 months ago
Reply to  Andy

“fail” means when your power starts to drop.

Robert Barrett
10 months ago
Reply to  lefthandside

That’s correct. You take the avearge power for the final 60 seconds as your MAP and then a percentage of that as your FTP. The exact percentage you take is a bit age dependent, rule of thumb is between 70 and 75 percent. Ric Stern is your man on that one. You can also work out your W’ from that data using a graph e.g.the watts under the curve above a horizontal line drawn at the FTP level. Or you can simply take the sum of all the watts from where you exceeded FTP until the point of failure and… Read more »

B Benson
B Benson
10 months ago

This did not work at all for me today. I got to my upper limit, stopped pedalling, and nothing happened–no “I’m Toast” screen, and it kept tracking imaginary watts! (I wasn’t pedalling!). I hopped back on the bike to see if it would stop the ride once I was well under the prescribed watts–nope. I just rode to the end of the workout and it told me that my FTP was my average watts from the full 31 minute test.
I definitely won’t be purchasing a subscription to Zwift if my first ride was so wildly glitchy.

john booth
john booth
5 months ago

I had same odd behavior. My ftp is around 190. I did ramp test ran out of steam at 240 then just stopped no prompt so kept riding. at the last test 640 watts I think I tried all out to see what I still had in the tank and avg’d 325watts for the last min changed my FTP to 242 which is way over my level. Glad I can drag it back to normal for my fitness level

Robert Barrett
5 months ago

The 70 to 75 percent of MAP works for about 95% of athletes, but there are outliers that either have very low or very high W’. When I was 55 70% worked, at 70 75% is more accurate. I guess I’ve lost a bit of top end / W’.

Kc Catherine
Kc Catherine
5 months ago

When I formally trained years ago you had to make sure you were adequately rested to do a proper FTP test. What is the recommended rest period? Three, five days… How much longer after a long ride or an interval session?

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