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Old 10-22-06, 04:36 PM   #1
Greg180
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Climbing and knees

I have started hill interval climbing. I want to eliminate the intimidation of hills from my rides so I have been climbing the tallest hills I can find locally. This has led to knee pain for the next two or three days. My only question is...Is that normal and suck it up...or am I doing damage to my knees.

Here is an example of a recent morning climb.

Wendell climb.jpg
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Old 10-22-06, 05:18 PM   #2
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what cadence are you typicaly at?

what proportion of the timeare you out of/in the saddle?

climbing causes no stress to the knees beyond what riding at the same effort on flats does, unless your cadence or position change
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Old 10-22-06, 07:18 PM   #3
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I keep my cadence high. Eighty to ninty five RPM. I am hardle out of the saddle. Just hands on the top of the bar, focusing on breathing steady and not looking to far up the hill. kind of a head down and just do it kind of approach.
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Old 10-22-06, 10:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg200
I have started hill interval climbing. I want to eliminate the intimidation of hills from my rides so I have been climbing the tallest hills I can find locally. This has led to knee pain for the next two or three days. My only question is...Is that normal and suck it up...or am I doing damage to my knees.

Here is an example of a recent morning climb.
With the cadence you're pushing and your description, you are probably okay from a technique perspective. That makes it likely that you have a fit issue. The knee is the weak link, and any fit issues or positioning issues will show up there. If you haven't a real bike fit, now would be the time.

Knee pain that persists for a couple of days is a warning sign. Don't ignore it. If you treat it early, it's likely not to get too bad. If you let it get bad, you might have to spend weeks in rehab.

http://www.roadcycling.com/training/kneepain.shtml has some info.
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Old 10-23-06, 12:49 PM   #5
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Since you write that you just started hill intervals, I suspect the knee pain is because your body's not used to the increased stress.

You need to give your body time to adjust to the added stress of hill intervals. Start with only a few minutes of intervals, once a week. Build up time and effort gradually, once your knees can take it.
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Old 10-23-06, 03:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericgu
With the cadence you're pushing and your description, you are probably okay from a technique perspective. That makes it likely that you have a fit issue. The knee is the weak link, and any fit issues or positioning issues will show up there. If you haven't a real bike fit, now would be the time.

Knee pain that persists for a couple of days is a warning sign. Don't ignore it. If you treat it early, it's likely not to get too bad. If you let it get bad, you might have to spend weeks in rehab.

http://www.roadcycling.com/training/kneepain.shtml has some info.
No one has asked what gear is being pushed. Holding a 95 rpm cadence in a big gear is going to stress your knees more than holding a 95 in a granny.
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Old 10-24-06, 12:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg200
I keep my cadence high. Eighty to ninty five RPM. I am hardle out of the saddle. Just hands on the top of the bar, focusing on breathing steady and not looking to far up the hill. kind of a head down and just do it kind of approach.
Be careful of your technique and form. When out of the saddle, it's possible to not unweight the upstroke leg as much, forcing you to push down even harder on the other leg than necessary for the speed. Also watch the lateral-wobble. And if you notice more of mashing motion with an emphasized downstroke, try staying smooth and circular. That'll lower the peak forces on your knees at any given speed. And don't scoot back on the seat too much, that exaggerates the mashing motions.

Really sounds like you may have done a little to much too soon. Back off the intensity a bit and work up to it gradually...
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Old 10-24-06, 02:26 PM   #8
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Knees don't produce harmless pain. In fact no joint produces harmless pain. Muscles can produce harmless pain due to metabolites. Joints that hurt are signaling inflammation and damge to tendons, ligaments and or cartilage.

Get a hammer, hit yourself in the head, you'll forget all about your knee pain......
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Old 10-24-06, 06:06 PM   #9
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Knee is better today I walked five miles this AM and had no issues. I agree with Danno that I need to watch my form and I also have to get my fit right on the bike. I also think I need to do hill intervals on smaller hills. This one was 4+ miles in length with 1000 foot of elevation.
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Old 10-24-06, 11:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg200
Knee is better today I walked five miles this AM and had no issues. I agree with Danno that I need to watch my form and I also have to get my fit right on the bike. I also think I need to do hill intervals on smaller hills. This one was 4+ miles in length with 1000 foot of elevation.
That's a pretty darn big hill for a starter . . .
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Old 10-25-06, 05:52 AM   #11
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It's a vicious cycle...no pun intended.
I have been riding as daily as possible and my knee pain is relentless...tolerable but relentless. I 'rig up' all day long until I get back on the bike. I seem to be able to ride through it and by the end of my ride I'm good and loose again...then I start to rig again...If there is any strengthening or improvement it has been slow. The knees do feel better after a couple of days off...so I plan to work through it.
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Old 10-25-06, 10:31 AM   #12
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My knees are pretty out of whack from osteo-arthritis and even when beginning didn't bother me going up hills. Of course I went up those hills in the lowest granny gear I had and I could not do it all at once.

As you say that sometimes you are able to work the pain out, you might want to try a much longer warm-up period: instead of 5 or 10 minutes, try 1/2 hour or more. Some mornings my knees are still and crackly and sometimes sore when I start riding, but with an easy riding warm-up of at least 1/2 hour and carefull attention to how and which muscles around my knees I am using, I am able to "pump up' my knee joints for longer, more intense efforts. This was recommended by a Physical Therapist I saw some time ago.

If you are having unrelenting pain, you really need to get checked by a doctor and physical therapist ASAP.

And, like was mentioned before, that four-mile hill was probably way out of your capabilities if you are a relative novice at bicycle riding or hill climbing
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Old 10-25-06, 11:01 AM   #13
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Where in the knee is the pain? Different fit and form issues manifest themselves in different locations within the joint.
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Old 10-29-06, 05:24 PM   #14
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You did climbing repeats on a 4 mile hill? I'd say you bit off a bit more than you can chew .

I have a nice 1 mile climb nearby that I do my interval workouts on - gains a bit under 300 feet, and really kicks up a bit towards the end. I would climb to the top 3 times with minimal rest (basically, as long as it took me to descend and then turn around and go back up), focusing on maintaining a decent tempo and keeping good form. I wasn't going as fast/hard as the second part of the workout, which comes up next. For the next part of the workout, I'd ascend halfway up to the "false flat", overall going faster this time, and then for the last couple hundred yards or so, I'd stand and really hammer the pedals.....I'd do this 3 times as well.

Next season, I'd like to get to 6-10 full ascents, and 5-6 sprints. Unfortunately, I didn't start doing the above workout until the end of July/early August, so I ended up doing this for a relatively short period of time....but, it did make a difference on rides with bigger/longer climbs. Once I can get to 10 full ascents and 5 half ascents, I should be a climbing monster. That will all be dependent on how well of a base I build this winter though. I'm really looking to improve my climbing for next season.
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