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Overestimate FTP?

After my rest week, being completely fresh, I put on some good music and did a ramp test. At first I was extremely happy when I saw my new FTP. I was proud as f*ck. But I already started doubting the numbers, because holding this power steady-state for 1 hour is not something I see myself doing.

So the next day I did my regular 3x20 workout and I was not happy when I saw all the power numbers I had to hit. And it was not a surprise I only managed to do only 2x20 instead of 3x20.

So that got me thinking, can you overestimate your FTP when you had a really good day and was able to go super deep?


  • Zwift ramp tests pre-Covid gave me an FTP estimate I've never reached from 95% of a 20min effort.

    I've only once had a 60min effort match 95% of my best 20mins, but literally a few days later, my 20min improved.

    My go to FTP test these days, if I've not done an event recently to see where things stand, is the Tempus Fugit TTs that run regularly on Zwift... With a slight negative split.
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
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  • I would not get too hung up on FTP. I suspect a lot people overestimate it anyway and also, unless you are a TT specialist for example, focussing on FTP as a mark of your overall fitness or potential is not that essential.

    Unless you are getting regularly lab tested by a trained expert, or regularly riding true threshold for 60 minutes, it is difficult to gauge your true FTP. You will get there or thereabouts but it is easy to overestimate. Even with my own years of training data, if I went on the various rules, 95% for 20 minutes 72% of MAP etc, I would be out by 20+ watts on most measurements which is pretty sizeable and would affect training zones for me.

    I also think it is best to focus on what you want to achieve from cycling and focus on the areas you need to improve for that. I do a lot of longer distance stuff now and being able to ride at 70-80% of threshold for several hours is more important for me, a few extra watts on my FTP does not really affect that, and isn't really important to me.

  • So that got me thinking, can you overestimate your FTP when you had a really good day and was able to go super deep?

    Sorry, never actually answered your question!

    I would say yes, if you had a good day and hit some higher numbers than usual and subsequently cannot hit those numbers again, then it is not really your true FTP IMO.
  • Worth noting that these days FTP is not necessary seen as what you can hold for an hour, but something like what you can hold in a quasi-steady state... Could you hold it for 40 minutes? If so it could still be considered your FTP.
  • dannbodgedannbodge Posts: 1,152
    I used to think the same but recently the outputs from 20min and ramp tests have been quite close.

    My best 20min is 283w, my best hour is 270w and my best ramp test is 275w.
    I reckon I could have done the 275w for the hour. (fwiw my power is flat from 45mins to just over one hour)
  • mr.b-campagmr.b-campag Posts: 373
    edited January 2021
    I'm just describing how those who invented the term now seem to describe it, somewhat differently to how they used to...I don't think your experience is necessarily at odds with that of the OP. It might be that your time to exhaustion is better than their's (it certainly sounds like it). Relatedly, it might be that they have a larger anaerobic contribution to their test results that you do. The OP doesn't specify the protocol they used in their test or what they are trying to achieve. As MG2 says it's hard to estimate it correctly, and debatable how important it is. But yes it's definitely possible to overestimate one's FTP - I think we've all been guilty of it at some point - I certainly have.
  • wongataawongataa Posts: 1,001
    Depending on your power curve you can overestimate, underestimate, or be very close to reality predicting your FTP from a ramp test. If you are good at above FTP efforts you will overestimate and vice versa.

    If you really want to do a very good estimate try what's on this page:

    They are longer tests though.

  • I only ever do FTP tests on the actual road, and over 1 hour. 20 minute Zwift type FTP tests are a massive sack of nuts.
  • webboowebboo Posts: 6,062

    I only ever do FTP tests on the actual road, and over 1 hour. 20 minute Zwift type FTP tests are a massive sack of nuts.

    With or without your 60kg rucksack.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 24,642
    It must be remembered that an FTP test is just a test of how you performed on that given day. It is not written in stone. Your results may go down as well as up. 😉
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
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