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Old 08-06-11, 13:36
patterson_hood patterson_hood is offline
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Default Painful knee after exercise bike

To begin with I should say I'm not a cyclist, I just use the stationary bikes in the gym so I will try give as much info as possible in case it is relevant.

Recently I've been doing a fair bit on an exercise bike. I usually do the hill profile (two hill lumps so basically climb, flat, climb, flat) and I try and set the work load at a reasonably high level (15 out of 20) which puts me at a cadence of around 90 on the flats and 50 at the hardest part of the climb. I usually generate about 2.2 W/Kg overall with a max of 3. I set the saddle so my legs almost reach straight on the down stroke but remain slightly bent as I was told to do. The pedal position is under the ball of my foot.

I've noticed recently that my right knee has started to hurt an hour or two after my gym session. Do you think this could be caused by my workout? The reason I'm not sure is because I have also gone back to hill running recently and am heavier than I was before and think this could be a contributing factor.

Does my gym work sound ok? Am I setting the work load to high and should I be setting it so I can maintain a higher cadence throughout?

Also as a side question, what kind of W/Kg is reasonable for an amateur cyclist? And will the reading from the gym bike be comparable to the reading from a road bike?

Cheers,

Patterson.
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Old 08-06-11, 13:47
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L'arriviste L'arriviste is offline
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Originally Posted by patterson_hood View Post
To begin with I should say I'm not a cyclist, I just use the stationary bikes in the gym so I will try give as much info as possible in case it is relevant.

Recently I've been doing a fair bit on an exercise bike. I usually do the hill profile (two hill lumps so basically climb, flat, climb, flat) and I try and set the work load at a reasonably high level (15 out of 20) which puts me at a cadence of around 90 on the flats and 50 at the hardest part of the climb. I usually generate about 2.2 W/Kg overall with a max of 3. I set the saddle so my legs almost reach straight on the down stroke but remain slightly bent as I was told to do. The pedal position is under the ball of my foot.

I've noticed recently that my right knee has started to hurt an hour or two after my gym session. Do you think this could be caused by my workout? The reason I'm not sure is because I have also gone back to hill running recently and am heavier than I was before and think this could be a contributing factor.

Does my gym work sound ok? Am I setting the work load to high and should I be setting it so I can maintain a higher cadence throughout?

Also as a side question, what kind of W/Kg is reasonable for an amateur cyclist? And will the reading from the gym bike be comparable to the reading from a road bike?

Cheers,

Patterson.
People often ride gym bikes much harder than they would an ordinary bike without ever getting their position right. That's something to consider, especially since you're getting the problem in one knee, which normally suggests that your position is awkward in some way. Elsewhere, you didn't mention what activity you do that bookends your bike session: do you warm up sufficiently, for example?
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Old 08-06-11, 14:15
patterson_hood patterson_hood is offline
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Originally Posted by L'arriviste View Post
People often ride gym bikes much harder than they would an ordinary bike without ever getting their position right. That's something to consider, especially since you're getting the problem in one knee, which normally suggests that your position is awkward in some way. Elsewhere, you didn't mention what activity you do that bookends your bike session: do you warm up sufficiently, for example?
I tend to use the first couple of minutes as a warm up, but I do stretch beforehand. I do an hour long programme and then the two minute cooldown after it has finished where I just roll through at a slow pace at a low level. afterwards I do press-ups and sit-ups then finish.

I try and get my position as set as possible but there isn't much I can adjust on a gym bike, just saddle height and where my foot contacts the pedal. It doesn't feel awkward most of the time and I spend a bit of time each time checking everything feels comfortable before starting out.

Is there anything I should look out for in terms of position? Like where I am on the saddle, where my chest is over my knees etc? I have the saddle so my leg is almost fully extended at the bottom of the stroke, should I think about dropping it? The only problem with that is the handlebars can't be adjusted so my overall position feels a bit too upright.

I know it must be hard to advise without actually seeing me sat on the bile so thanks for the help!
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Old 08-06-11, 15:36
FrankDay FrankDay is offline
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Originally Posted by patterson_hood View Post
To begin with I should say I'm not a cyclist, I just use the stationary bikes in the gym so I will try give as much info as possible in case it is relevant.

Recently I've been doing a fair bit on an exercise bike. I usually do the hill profile (two hill lumps so basically climb, flat, climb, flat) and I try and set the work load at a reasonably high level (15 out of 20) which puts me at a cadence of around 90 on the flats and 50 at the hardest part of the climb. I usually generate about 2.2 W/Kg overall with a max of 3. I set the saddle so my legs almost reach straight on the down stroke but remain slightly bent as I was told to do. The pedal position is under the ball of my foot.

I've noticed recently that my right knee has started to hurt an hour or two after my gym session. Do you think this could be caused by my workout? The reason I'm not sure is because I have also gone back to hill running recently and am heavier than I was before and think this could be a contributing factor.

Does my gym work sound ok? Am I setting the work load to high and should I be setting it so I can maintain a higher cadence throughout?

Also as a side question, what kind of W/Kg is reasonable for an amateur cyclist? And will the reading from the gym bike be comparable to the reading from a road bike?

Cheers,

Patterson.
Could it? Yes. Bicycles with standard length cranks bend your knees much more than running does so even though cycling is non-impact it could aggravate underlying knee problems. Is it? Who knows, you are doing other things that could bother your knee also.
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Old 08-06-11, 21:49
patterson_hood patterson_hood is offline
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Could it? Yes. Bicycles with standard length cranks bend your knees much more than running does so even though cycling is non-impact it could aggravate underlying knee problems. Is it? Who knows, you are doing other things that could bother your knee also.
Thanks for the reply but that's kind of pointing out the obvious. I do lots of other things that could hurt my knees but the pain is specific to this exercise it seems. As for crank length, millions of people use standard cranks on bikes and get by fine so surely I should be able to as well? And anyway, it's a gym bike so I can't change them even if I wanted.
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Old 08-06-11, 21:58
FrankDay FrankDay is offline
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Originally Posted by patterson_hood View Post
Thanks for the reply but that's kind of pointing out the obvious. I do lots of other things that could hurt my knees but the pain is specific to this exercise it seems. As for crank length, millions of people use standard cranks on bikes and get by fine so surely I should be able to as well? And anyway, it's a gym bike so I can't change them even if I wanted.
Sorry if my answers seemed obvious. I was simply trying to expand a little on what I thought were some of the less obvious reasons behind the obvious YES answer.
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Old 08-06-11, 22:10
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daveinzambia daveinzambia is offline
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It is really difficult to know. I too have started getting knee pain from bike riding and while it can be your bike position it can be other things as well.

It is likely to be the bike causing issues as i think knee pain is very common among bike riders.

likely issues from what i have discovered are

1. Just pushing too hard too soon. doing a work out where you are cranking the level too high. if you try doing more 'spinning' workouts (keeping that cadence 90-100) and do not get the pain then it is possible the strain on you knee in those 50 rpm sections is too high right (equivalent to pushing too high a gear on the bike)

2. getting basic bike position can be fine but for some people it can still cause issues due to the way your body fits on the bike. sounds obvious but not everyone is the same. As you are not a cyclist i am assuming you are wearing trainers with feet locked into straps. if your feet are too tightly fixed in then this can increase strain on your knee. may be worth considering getting some cycle shoes that can clip into the pedals. they will cost 80-100 dollars at the cheaper end and yes you feel a slight idiot wearing them in the gym but if you are usingt he bike a lot then will be worth it for the sideways movement they allow.

in the bike position look out for other indicators. after a while of going hard look at your upper body position? do you seem to be stretching too much on one side. is your upper body uneven? this may indicate an imbalance in your body affecting your position.

with your bike position it is worth experimenting to look for changes. from what you say your saddle is likely to high enough. if you place the heel of your foot on pedal leg should be pretty much straight at bottom of stroke. that way when you move foot so that crank is just behind ball of foot leg bend should be right.

rotate your foot and try to get pedals flat. for foot at front of stroke when pedals are level, the front of your knee should be directly above the centre of the crank. if not try adjust back and forth to correct for this

3. Body adjustments affecting position. this is where it gets more complex. for me I have issues with very tight hamstring muscles which in turn is putting too much strain on my knee. i also have issues with putting too much strain on hip flexors which again affects my body position. it is very possible that you running is affecting your legs which is effecting your riding. this is where it gets personal. you can try stretching and if you have good flexibility this may not be it but would be hard to know. in this sort of case your best bet is to try and find a physio or bike fit expert to help. this may not be worth your while if you are not riding that much and not riding on the road. a bike fit expert can look at your body, find issues, adjust your position but more importantly look at the way your body reacts to the bike position and adjust according to your body type or help with exercises that can help.

I personally found that i was ok on bikes in the gym (i did as you and only worked out on spin bikes for a couple of months before making progression to road) and was only on that movement to road and longer hours in saddle that i started getting pain

you do not mention exactly where the pain is and if you have any pain when on the bike or just in the hours afterwards.
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Old 08-06-11, 22:21
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daveinzambia daveinzambia is offline
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Oh and I should mention that i am by no means an expert. the above is based on my own research / experience trying to resolve my current knee issue. I went through a bike fit a few days ago so am hoping the changes from that will start to take affect soon
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Old 08-06-11, 22:32
ggusta ggusta is offline
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1st off, the hill section is probably what is doing it, the cadence drop down to 50 is not good. You need a lighter gear or whatever the exercycle equivalent is. Try to not go below 70 rpm for a couple weeks.

Then check to see if that helps. If it helps a little but not entirely, raise your minimum to 75 or 80 rpm.

I am a big guy and I have had both knees scoped. The problem sounds similar and I know when it hurts I have been spinning too slow. A lot of times, on a hill for me at least when I feel that twinge in my left knee, it's just a matter of sucking it up because I am plumb out of lower gears and spinning faster (unless cardiac detonation seems imminent).

Raise your cadence.

Last edited by ggusta; 08-07-11 at 01:33.
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Old 08-07-11, 01:49
ggusta ggusta is offline
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Originally Posted by patterson_hood View Post
Thanks for the reply but that's kind of pointing out the obvious. I do lots of other things that could hurt my knees but the pain is specific to this exercise it seems. As for crank length, millions of people use standard cranks on bikes and get by fine so surely I should be able to as well? And anyway, it's a gym bike so I can't change them even if I wanted.
All respect, I believe Mr Day represents a commercial interest based on shorter cranks. I am not saying somewhat shorter cranks wouldn't help (and yes, you can't change them, your gym manager would be quite cross! ). I have a friend that went from the standard 172.5 down to a shorter crank and he said it offered a very mild improvement to a very serious chronic condition. But just be advised that some people have a self interest. Again, not to say that their interest and your situation may not coincide.

Last edited by ggusta; 08-07-11 at 02:47.
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