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  1. #1
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    Knees tired / tire quickly

    First off, sorry if this is in the wrong section. There seem to be so many sections, that I have no idea where this should go.

    I recently started riding to lose some weight, which has been successful up until 20 pounds. I've cut most of the bad foods out of my diet, including cutting back significantly on diet sodas and upping my water intake.

    Initially I was riding a stationary bike, a Vital Fitness RB26S. (It was cheap at a yard sale). I started off doing 15 minutes, taking a break, and then doing 15 more minutes. Within the month, I was able to do an hour at a time. Then, my performance started to decrease rapidly. My knees get fatigued and sore too quickly to do 15 minutes on the bike anymore. I don't know if the seat is incorrectly positioned. It slides along a horizontal axis, and cannot be raised. I guess it would fit the profile of a recumbent more than anything else.

    A couple of questions:

    What can I do to decrease the rate of fatigue I experience, specifically for my knees? How would I determine the proper seat position? Any specific foods or nutrients that might help?

  2. #2
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Does your knee have a bend in it when the pedal is furtherest away from you? How much of a bend? Where in your knee is the pain? Top of the knee cap, under, outside or inside, behind the knee?? Is it dull or sharp? When you pedal, does your leg/knee follow a perfect circle ie. track along a single plane, or does your knee bob and weave left and right as you pedal?

  3. #3
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    It could be lots of things. Diet and rest come to mind. Make sure you have enough carbs to fuel your workout. Second, rest. Are you doing this everyday, and are you pushing it everytime? Take a day or two off the bike and see how goes. You will repelenish your glycogen supplies and give your muscles time to heal.

    Another question: How quick did you lose those 20lbs?

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    Yeah, if you lost that weight quickly, a lot of it could be muscle-mass. The loss of muscle will then make overtraining easier and you'll be in a downward spiral where you need more and more rest and recovery between workouts. Or scale back on the workouts.

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    There is about a 45 degree bend in the knee when the pedal is furthest away from me. The pain seems to be around the entire knee, then after about 20 minutes. It is not a sharp pain, more a dull, sore pain. It goes away quickly, but then my knees seem to be fatigued. It follows an elliptical pattern, mostly because of the way it is built. I have a cheap mountain bike as well, but the seat only has a few inches of room (maybe I can get a new post) to raise.

    I lost the weight over a period of a month and a half. For about 2 weeks I was riding at least half an hour a day, then I started taking two days off during the week (Mostly due to my knees). I have not noticed any loss of muscle, in fact, my knees and legs seem to be gaining some muscle. Over the past two weeks, I have ridden the mountain bike with my girlfriend, but I can only make it for about twenty minutes before my knees begin to hurt. Going up hills isn't even an option at this point. There has been plenty of rest, as I figured I just overdid my workouts. Now even after a week of rest, I am still having a hard time going.

    I'm not on any particular diet, especially not low carb. I wanted to just cut back on my eating, and try to pick healthier foods. College seemed to pack on the weight, mostly because fast food is a heck of a lot cheaper than the cafeteria food. I have a decent carb intake, and eat everything like I used to, just in smaller portions. Little to no fast food, and lots of chicken lately.

  6. #6
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    My opinion is that you need to have a bike properly fitted to you and test to see if the problem persists. I'm not sure how you'd do that unless you were genuinely in the market to make an actual purchase. Shoud a longer test ride on a properly fitted machine not seem to alleviate the problem, I think you'd need to see a physician.
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  7. #7
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    Unfortunately I cannot afford to buy a properly fitted bike. I would love to, but there are just no funds if I want to be responsible with my finances.

    I guess I'll just have to play around with the seat, then see my doctor. The bike is the first result here.

    Any suggestions on how in the heck I would determine the best position of the seat?

  8. #8
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    There is about a 45 degree bend in the knee when the pedal is furthest away from me.
    Wow, that is really bent. Ideally your knee should be almost straight at the downstroke. This could definitely be causing your pain. With the recumbent exerciser try to push the seat as far back as you need to, to get your leg to be completely straight, then move it forward just a tad to give you a slight bend. It may be best to slowly increase the distance of the seat over time(2 weeks or more) since you have to move it so much.

    And with the mountain bike, yes you can get a longer seat post(assuming you don't already have the longest available). Seat posts aren't that expensive and your knees are worth it.

    Here is a really long one for under 10 bucks. Just make sure you get the right diameter.
    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=



    Also, give your knees some time to recover. You don't want to really cause some damage.

    Keep in mind that biking should not be painful, beyond the normal getting in shape soreness. If it hurts, something is wrong.

    When you do start up again, try spinning at a higher cadence with little resistance. Too much resistance can also cause some knee pain. As long as you can spin at 90 rpms, at a resistance, you should be fine.

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    Thanks for the info, I will definately give that a try. I've been resting quite a bit, but I want to get back on with the exercising. Aside from working, I haven't been getting much exercise.

    That seatpost should do the trick as well. Locally the seatposts were way too expensive (ok, so I'm on a tight budget). That should do the trick though! Thanks!

  10. #10
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    20lbs in 1.5 months is a lot. Congrats, but to put it in perspective, it's 1300+ Calories a day. That's quite a bit, or at least 1.5 hours a day on the bike.

  11. #11
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    Checking with a doctor never hurts (well almost never, but that's another story ).

    It sounds like an overuse injury and could well bea poor alignment problem is contributing. I really agree with the "give it some rest" idea. An overuse injury comes when muscles, tendons, etc. are asked to do the same thing over and over (think carpal tunnel) and they end up stressed, as opposed to strenghtened...going too fast too soon, lifting too much too soon, going too long too soon: all lead to overuse injuries. I don't know how old you are, but age and overall conditioning really impact recovery time...and riding every day means no recovery time. For a long while, the pain will stop when you stop, which tends to mean that you keep doing the activity thinking that you'll work through it, but quite often you don't and you get a more serious injury.

    Aside from giving your knees time to recover--before they really get injured; it sounds like you may be facing a serious challenge with the equipment: it doesn't sound like it fits you well and you've moved beyond what mis-fitting equipment can do for you. An old, but properly fitting bike that works o.k. may be a good idea...back to the thrift stores?

    Regarding the fit, read some the posts in other sections and even ebay has some info on buying a bike. A google search on bike fit will probably produce a ton of good info.

    Hope that helps
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyLem
    There is about a 45 degree bend in the knee when the pedal is furthest away from me. The pain seems to be around the entire knee, then after about 20 minutes. It is not a sharp pain, more a dull, sore pain. It goes away quickly, but then my knees seem to be fatigued. It follows an elliptical pattern, mostly because of the way it is built. I have a cheap mountain bike as well, but the seat only has a few inches of room (maybe I can get a new post) to raise.
    Uh, that's way too low and too bent and will cause a lot of rubbing on the ligaments of the knee. The various fit-guides online are within 0.5" of each other. The lowest has you place your heel over the pedal axle at the very bottom, your leg should be almost extended and straight (bottom of heel about 0.25" below top surface of pedal). The highest has your heel about 0.25" above the pedal with legs fully extended. I suspect you're about 1" too low under both ends of the fitting philosophies.

    In general too-low and too-far back of a seat causes knee-pain on top and in front of the kneecap. Too high & too far-forward results in pain behind & under the knee (ligaments). But if you can't get it perfect, it's better to err on the side of being too high and too far forward because the pain it causes is much, much less than being too low by the same amount.

    also make sure you spin easy gears, you should never feel like you're hammering and pushing on the pedals, instead, you should feel like you're gonna spin your legs off like a hamster!

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the help. The problem on the stationary was in fact the seat position. 30 minutes today (albeit on a very low resistance) went fine, with very little discomfort.

    I'm going to look around the local shops to see if I can pick up a longer seat post at a fair price. If not, online it is. The bike I picked up for cheap happens to be a Wal-Mart bicycle, that will have to do. I don't mind putting a little money into it. I read the forums for a while, and I understand that a properly fitted bike would be best. I plan to get a better bike when I get in better shape. Until then, I'll just have to put a little money into my current Wal-Mart special. As long as it doesn't hurt me, and gets me outside, it was worth the little bit of money.

  14. #14
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    If you can get a proper fit on the Wal-mart bike, stay with that but don't upgrade components(unless it's to buy that seatpost you might need). Instead, save that money in a mason jar out in the back yard until you can get a decent bike that'll last and not nickel and dime you to death.

    Congratulations on your weight loss but I'm with the others in saying you lost it a bit too quick. If you do some searching on this board, you'll find lots of good info. on losing weight while riding. The main thing is to get your heart rate up to around 60% or so and keep it there for a good long time(1-2hr.) After 2 hours, your body has run out of carbs and you need carbs in order to burn fat. If you are riding longer than 2 hours, you'll need to eat while riding but long before you get to the 2 hour mark. And be sure to drink LOTS of water. It takes a good bit of water to burn fat and you'll need to replenish your salts. Sports drinks are overkill for most folks, regular tap water is fine, just drink plenty.

    When you take the Wal-mart bike in to get fitted, explain to the guys you are on a tight budget but are saving up to get a decent bike. They may keep give you a head's up when a good used bike comes in the shop.

    Good luck!

  15. #15
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    Yeah, if you're riding at an easy pace, up to 3-hours is fine with just regular water. If you're riding at a brisk pace, then 2-hours is about the limit with water-only. Would still be a good idea to add some electrolytes to prevent cramping though.

  16. #16
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    If my knees hurt and I can't ride, I try to get some other form of exercise. Do your knees hurt when you walk? If not, walk instead of ride for a few days until you feel better. Other choices are swimming and rowing if your knees hurt when you walk. Just make sure you get plenty of exercise every day if you want it to help with weight loss.

    Some trainers talk about a "Five Per Cent Rule." This means, don't increase the amount (volume or intensity) of your training by more than 5 % a week. Also, don't cut back on your calories by more than 5 % a week.

    The exercise scientists say that you need nutrients immediately after a ride. This will supposedly help build muscle tissue, prevent fatigue, replenish glycogen, and decrease muscle soreness. Evidently there is only a short time frame when the muscles absorb a lot more nutrients. At this time, you are supposed to consume protein and carbohydrates.

    However, if you're trying to cut weight, you don't want to take that post-exercise nutrition as additional calories. Just time your regular meal so that you're eating right after your ride. So what I do is prepare the meal before I ride and leave it in the refrigerator to eat as soon as I get home. One post-ride meal that I like is a large romaine lettuce salad with tuna or chicken, a little cheese and a slice or two of whole grain bread. Another good one is pasta with vegetables and chicken or salmon. A spoonful of Olive oil is a good dressing for the salad or pasta. Fruit is good for dessert.

    This has worked good for me--I've lost almost 40 pounds so far (in a year) and I always have plenty of energy to ride as much as I want, around 15 hours a week when the weather is decent.
    Last edited by Roody; 07-17-06 at 09:15 AM.


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  17. #17
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mothra
    Yeah, if you're riding at an easy pace, up to 3-hours is fine with just regular water. If you're riding at a brisk pace, then 2-hours is about the limit with water-only. Would still be a good idea to add some electrolytes to prevent cramping though.
    Yeah, and sports drinks are full of sugar and calories. People who are racing or training to race need that sugar, the rest of us probably don't. I eat a light snack before a ride and drink water on the ride. If I'm going to be out for more than 2 hours, I take a banana or some raisins or a PB & J, and eat it during a short rest break. These foods contain the electrolytes--more potassium than a sports drink. Truthfully, the American diet contains more salt every day than a coal miner would need anyway.
    Last edited by Roody; 07-17-06 at 09:13 AM.


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