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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After recently getting a smart trainer I decided to try a ramp test to see how it correlates to what I think is my current FTP and it looks to line up well with my 20 minute test data from last season and I like it because there's no pacing involved, just let the trainer do it's thing and pedal till you can't any more. Wondering how this method compares to the Conconi method, has anyone tried both and if so how did they compare for you? Any advantage of one over the other as far as information you can get?
 

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I would pick the one that gives you repeatable results.

I used a conconi type method (conconi was for running i think) way back in the mid-90s b/c it was what was available to normal people. Now, we have easy access to power meters and smart trainers. I would not rely on heart rate deflection as the best available means to determine functional threshold power. GC (and others) still give HR vs power curves.

After using power for the last couple years, I prefer doing a ramp test on the trainer. It is easy to create a repeatable setting (no wind, hills, traffic, temp. differences, etc.). It also requires less mental effort to complete. For me, ramp tests give higher values than my reality. But, they are easier to compare results over time.

With all that, if you only have power on the trainer, then who cares? Your trainer ftp isn't going to provide any information during a real ride. Set your ftp on your preferred software and ride. If the given session was too easy, click up ftp. Too hard, lower it.

*Disclaimer: I have nothing more than 20 years of riding/racing experience. There are a couple very knowledgeable exercise physiology experts on the boards. I definitely defer to their knowledge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I do like the Ramp test approach it's simple to do and not dependent on pacing so to me it should be a better indication of progress due to likely consistency of the results. The results of the test do seem to line up pretty well with what I see as far as my limit on the road, with the exception that I can't imagine holding that output for an hour, but I can't never tried to dig that deep for that long either. But even if it doesn't translate well to the road, it does what I need it from the test, a basis for setting power zones for intervals.
 

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The Conconi test has not been demonstrated to be a reliable nor repeatable means of establishing HR threshold values.
https://www.thieme-connect.de/DOI/DOI?10.1055/s-2007-973051
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/026404197367173
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10409607
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15320666

Fortunately the use of accurate power measurement* with an incremental test to exhaustion is a valid means of establishing maximal aerobic power capabilities, and threshold power is typically found to be in a ratio range of MAP, what that range is depends on the testing protocol used.

* keep in mind not all trainers measure power accurately, nor are capable of ensuring the power demand follows the protocol
 
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