Ramp Test knee pain - switch back to 8 or 20 min FTP?

I’m in my 50’s, and my last few Ramp Tests I’ve had to quit due to knee pain rather than because I maxed out. I have a knee that doesn’t like heavy efforts, so I tend to do high cadence to increase power rather than use more muscle. That means I can do workouts around FTP, but with the Ramp, I start to feel a lot of pain around that 17th minute or so and can’t hold it…or rather choose not to hold it for fear of worsening the injury. So, I quit early and then bump the FTP up to make day to day training more where I would expect it to be.

Has anyone with a similar issue switched back to 8 or 20 minute FTP tests with any success? I’m aware of the knee pain thread, but was more looking for testing advice.

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Get in touch with a physical therapist that knows cyclists and get your knee looked at. You knee shouldn’t be hurting on the bike.


You need to move your cleats or change your seat height… or stretch more. Knee pain is a sign of something else other than the test, regardless of how hard it gets.

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As you age so your cartilage wears down. You cant just say you shouldn’t have knee pain. Aches and pains unfortunately arise as we get older. I’m 55 and know this only too well.


The sudden resistance changes each minute, might be stressing your patellofemoral joint. A longer ramp test without quick resistance changes,
more like a TT, hill climb might be better. Also, being able to stand occasionally during effort, might be helpful. Sometimes pain behind the knee cap, wear and tear of the articular cartilage can be chronic despite all
available treatments. One can also have patellofemoral arthritis, narrowing of the patellofemoral joint. Often, as you are doing in your workouts you learn what cadences work for you, what efforts cause more discomfort. Often, it comes down to the different pain control techniques to keep you going.

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Agreed. I’m actually giving Xert a try since there is no testing. The UI is pretty poor, but if I could train And dynamically improve without the tests, that might be the ticket.

I think I may relate to this. I’ve also just turned 50, consider my self in good shape, athletic etc BUT when I do the ramp test after 15 or so minutes my muscles or whatever in my knees feel like they are going to explode. When I do all the other blocks on TR I’m not too bad but it’s just the ftp test that gets me. If I take any TR routine outside I smash it compared to working harder inside so I don’t know if my smart trainers giving me a hard time or is it just phycological OR is it my seat position on the bike I use inside compared to my bike I use outside with the power2max power metre. I use a Tacx 2t smart trainer inside which supposedly calibrates itself but I know guys who have an ftp of more than 80 over me but don’t look all that and they use a wahoo so who knows… just crack on and let the road do the talking.

I’d echo the suggestion to see a good physio. It may be something that can be greatly improved relatively simply. It may be age-related and harder to fix, but it has to be worth a go IMO. Hope you get it sorted.

As a short term measure, keep training below the intensity that aggravates it. If that means the 20 min test, so be it.

Good luck!