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Old 08-07-02, 03:47 AM   #1
Rigid
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Knee muscles

It's now three years since I injured my knees and had surgery followed by leg casts. During the few months following I lost a serious amount of muscle in my thighs, particularly lower down just above the knee itself - you know the teardrop shaped muscle on the inside of the thigh (vastus medialis). I was wondering if you hardened cyclists can comment on cycling's effectiveness at building this up. My natural inclination is to use weight training, but I think this is what caused the problem with my knee tendons in the first place so I'm reluctant to go back to it. Regular, aerobic style exercise like cycling isn't generally regarded as the first choice for 'bodybuilding', but you don't often see cyclists with skinny legs! Whaddya think?
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Old 08-07-02, 03:59 AM   #2
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yes, cycling will help with this (take a look at a pro cyclist's dimples above the knee, between the muscle you mention and that on the outside of the knee--Lance Armstrong could eat his breakfast cereal out of his).

But, building up muscel mass typically comes through strength work. If you are new to cycling, I recommend instead doing higher cadence (90 rpms +) and low gear riding to allow yourself time to train yourself orthopedically. After several months of that, you could start adding some strength work (intervals, hefty hill climbing, perhaps lower gear power work). Cycling can be a great complement to weight lifting.

If you start too hard too fast, you are likely to injure something (especially since you have had knee trouble).

Cheers,
Jamie
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Old 08-07-02, 06:15 AM   #3
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I just came off of knee surgery. Nothing as extensive as what you seem to have gone through. I'm working on building muscle in my legs, especially the quads and calves, everything that supports the knees. Working in bigger gears now, gradually moving up adding more resistance and riding out of the saddle quite a bit more. At the slightest hint of feeling stress on the knee itself, and I'm back down in a lower gear. I also gear down and do some spinning at a fast cadence, mixing it up to keep everything loose. I guess it's a type of interval training.

Any type of resistance type exercise should build mass. How much depends on how you go at it. Cycling is a big part of what you may want to consider for getting your legs back. The bigger gears your able to manage, the stronger and more well defined and massive the muscle group. The key word is gradual to protect the knees. And of course, check with your doc.

The previous poster has it right. If you've no experience riding, you'll want to build an easy base of miles to start with in lower gears for a time before you attempt moving up to the bigger gears.

Last edited by oceanrider; 08-07-02 at 06:18 AM.
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Old 08-07-02, 11:19 PM   #4
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Useful advice - thanks. Though I've had my bike for years, I suppose I've never progressed beyond the occasional ride which is a shame because it's probably the perfect activity for me at the moment.

Another forumite who's had knee surgery, oceanrider? I reckon this forum could support an entire section devoted to knees...
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