How To Avoid Knee Pain While Cycling

knee pain while cycling
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In this post I am going to look at ways on how to avoid knee pain while cycling, as a lot of cyclists do have knee pain before, during or after the event. This post may contain affiliate links.

Most cyclists are under the impression that because cycling isn’t a high impact sport that their knees are safe, but did you know that according to a study of 116 professional cyclists, 23 percent of them experienced knee pain, and you can bet that the numbers will be higher amongst the amateurs.

Because cyclists enjoy their cycling that is often the only exercise that they do, and most of them do it a lot.

The rest of the day involves sitting at desks in most cases and this can cause weakening of muscles in the trunk such as the glutes, hips and core muscles.

Unfortunately from there there is a domino effect. When the trunk muscles become weak or underused, they can become inactive or underactive.

If this happens the muscles that you use a lot when cycling such as the quads, end up overcompensating. This overcompensation often causes poor knee tracking and poor alignment throughout the pedal stroke which can lead to knww pain.

This is not even considering the stress the cyclist is putting on his knees if the bike he rides isn’t a correct fit for him or if his positioning in the saddle is out of whack.

The knee joint acts as a hinge between the hip and the ankle, and it is important to build up strength around the knee joint. So in other words cyclists should be doing strength training off of the bike, as this is crucial to developing those muscles.

Avoid Knee Pain While Cycling By Adding These Exercises To Your Program

These beneficial knee and core strengthening exercises will help you to pedal on pain free.

Perform 2 to 3 sets of each of the exercises below twice a week. You can set yourself up an exercise corner somewhere in your house with the following equipment so. you are ready to go:

  • Bosu Trainer
  • Weights
  • Resistance Band Loop
  • Exercise Mat – Optional

knee pain while cyclingReverse Lunge on a Bosu

Start by standing on a Bosu trainer with hands on hips for balance.

Take a big step backwards with left foot and lower into a lunge with right leg forming a 90-degree angle.

Press through right heel to return left leg to start.

Complete 10 reps, then repeat on other leg.

This exercise is great for strengthening the core, as you need to balance. It also strengthens the glutes, quads and muscles around the knee.

If you don’t have a Bosu Trainer, you can order one online by clicking on the picture below.

A bosu ball is a great addition to any home gym. Not only is it a balance aid, helping users coordinate muscles and nerves for unstable conditions that you experience in everyday life, but it also assists it a number of other types of training, such as stretching, rehabilitation, and strength training.

Clamshell

Take your resistance band loop around your legs just above the knee.

Lie on your left side with the knees bent in front of you at 90 degrees and make sure that your knees, ankles and hips are stacked on top of each other in alignment.

Rest your head on your left hand and rest your right hand on the mat in front of you. Make sure your right shoulder is pulled down.

Keep your heels together and lift the right knee as much as you can without  letting your top hip swing backwards. Return to starting position and then repeat the lift 15 times. Repeat on the right side.

This exercise strengthens the outer muscles of the knees, as well as lubricating and loosening up the hips.

This set of exercise resistance band loops come in 5 different resistance types which is great to switch up your workout.

Glute Bridge

Lie faceup on the mat with a resistance band loop around your legs just above the knees and knees bent, heels close to butt, arms at your sides with your palms facing down. Your feet are just wider than hip distance apart.

Contract glutes, and press into heels to lift hips up toward ceiling so your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees as you simultaneously press knees out to keep them in line with hips and maintain tension on the band. Pause.

Lower and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

Lateral Walk With Resistance Band Loop

Put the band around the ankles and stand with the feet hip width apart so that the band is taut.

Lower into a small squat and step out to the left. Bring right foot in so fee are hip width apart again. Continue walking sideways to the left before reversing and doing the same 15 steps sideways to the right.

Make sure you keep the band taught the entire time.

Single Leg Deadlift

knee pain while cycling

Start standing and holding a medium weight in your right hand.

Shift weight onto left leg and micro bend left knee. Hinge at the hips as you lower weight to floor and extend right leg back behind you for balance as high as you can without falling over. Your trunk tilts forward so that your leg and trunk are parrallel to the floor while balancing on one leg.

Continue lowering the weight until your trunk is parallel to the floor while keeping back straight. Return to the starting position.

Repeat for 10 to 15 reps then switch sides. The picture above is the exercise without the use of a weight and the models supporting leg is straight instead of slightly bent.

Bird Dog

Kneel on all fours with the wrists under your shoulders and the knees under your hips. Toes are tucked and your back is flat.

Extend your right arm and left leg in opposite directions until they are parallel to the floor. Maintain your straight back and keep your hips level. Focus on pulling your belly button towards your spine.

Return to all fours then raise the left arm and the right leg in the same way.

Alternate for 90 seconds slowly with control.

Great one for core stability.

Donkey Kick

Start on all fours with wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips as per the exercise above. Keep knee bent and lift right heel up as if to stamp your foot on the ceiling. Return to starting position and repeat on the same leg for 15 reps.

Repeat on left. A great one for core and glutes.

knee sore while cyclingYou can also take your leg up straight behind you like the picture above, but be sure to control your back at all times and lift your tummy muscles away from the floor.

So if you have knee pain while cycling, the exercises above will go a long way to helping you to solve that issue.


6 thoughts on “How To Avoid Knee Pain While Cycling”

  1. Great post!

    I think exercising is the best natural and simple to get rid of knee pain and with continued exercise, you can even avoid it. I was looking for ways to help a friend get rid of knee pain but I did not know that simple yoga moves could help (yet I do yoga weekly). I know exactly the exercises you have listed above and I will be showing him myself.

    Thanks again. 

  2. Hello there, some exercises can be really fun and light and we may feel they wouldn’t cause over usage of a particular part of our body and as a result, we don’t pay attention to it. 

    Cycling as a sport is one of those that falls in that bracket and I wouldn’t blame those who feel they can’t have pains or injuries from cycling. The knee is a very delicate part of the body and its only normal to take these exercises seriously when you feel these pains. I am very familiar with the Donkey Kick exercise and in previous situations its been helpful.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Benson. The only problem is people only take these rehabilitative exercises seriously when they already have sore knees instead of using them as a preventative measure.

  3. This is really great to see and thank you for sharing this post. I stopped cycling immediately I noticed that the leg and knee pains became almost constant anytime I ride. However, I tried using medications and supplements but they never worked well and thats the reason I decided against riding again. However, this is good to see that exercises can really be the perfect solutions to the persistent knee pains. Thank you

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