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Best Type of Bike for Exercise?

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Best Type of Bike for Exercise?

Old 06-15-11, 01:53 PM
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kilerb
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Best Type of Bike for Exercise?

I have REALLY weak legs. I had surgery awhile back and didn't properly rehab with physical therapy. I don't have much time for the gym, and my legs are at the point where it's hard to get up steps that are higher than average. I had to go up a step that was about as high as my knee and needed a hand. If I'm on the ground and have to get up, I pretty much have to use my hands to aid.

So, I have 2 questions...
1. Is biking a good way to rectify this and build strength in those muscles? If not, what would be the best method?
2. If biking is a a great solution, which type of bike is best for building strength? Seems like there are so many. I'd probably ride it to work since I live very close.

Thanks for your help with this!
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Old 06-15-11, 02:02 PM
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1. A good physical therapist would have a more valid opinion, but I imagine it would be a good idea. My mother-in-law rides a bike to continue her recovery from knee surgery.

2. The general type of bike you want depends on where you want to ride. If you're going to ride on paved roads, a hybrid or road bike would work great. If you want to be able to ride off road, consider a mountain bike or cross bike. Keep in mind that most road bikes have a more hunched over position (for aerodynamics), so you might want to get a hybrid or "flat bar road bike" if your back muscles are also weak, or if comfort is much more important than speed to you. No matter what type you get, I suggest a bike with very easy gears so that you can build up those legs without straining them. Most bikes that fit this bill will have 3 speeds up front in addition to the 5-11 they have in the back.
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Old 06-15-11, 02:04 PM
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Do rehab or PT. Biking won't help your range of motion problem.

And find the time to go to the gym. It's less time than cycling would take, and it's going to be really important for being fully mobile for the rest of your life.

If you also want to ride, that's cool. Cycling is a fun way to exercise. But it's not PT and is limited in the range of motion and builds endurance more than strength. If you're interested it would be a good addition to weight training and PT. But it's not a replacement.
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Old 06-15-11, 02:49 PM
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I second the Rehab or PT. Your goal should be to balance your muscles to support yourself and I wouldn't think that cycling would be nearly as effective. If cost is an issue (gym or therapist), I would at least save my money and get one session with a physical therapist to show me what I could do to build strength at home. 1/2 hour a day or every other day would most likely do wonders if you aren't doing anything already. Then worry about what kind of bike to buy. I would figure that I wouldn't have time for anything else but get myself walking properly again...
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Old 06-15-11, 08:12 PM
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I personally tend to get annoyed with P/T. Learn how to listen to your own body and up to a point, you're your own best doctor. Don't go taking your own appendix out or anything.

I believe that a bicycle can truly be a path to really amazing turnarounds in health and fitness.

This part of bikeforums.net tends to be about race style bikes -- not the kind that will be right for you.

More than the type of bike, the habit of riding is most important. I personally began riding to church choir practice once a week, a fourteen mile round trip. Now I do 80-90 miles/week on heavy commuter bikes. A huge change in my fitness level.

Do you have a friend who can lend you a bike? Maybe offer to take it to a bike shop and invest the $50-80 to give it a good once over and put it in tip top shape. Note that it's mostly advisable to steer clear of anything bought at a big box store.

If you have a little more cash, walk into a decent looking or well reputed bike shop and ask to buy a simple, light "get back into shape" bike. They'll sell you a hybrid for like $300-350. If you can live without any suspension on the bike, do it. Cheap suspensions don't really work all that well and add a lot of weight. Good luck and great idea to get on a bike!
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Old 06-15-11, 08:13 PM
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One thing to do might be to give us your location and height and someone with too much time on their hands will find a suitable bike for sale on your local craigslist.
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Old 06-16-11, 12:06 AM
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Walk.

Lots.
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Old 06-16-11, 12:41 AM
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If your legs are that weak you may be better off exercising on a stationary or find a used trike. A trike may actually be a lot of fun..... Try BROL https://www.bentrideronline.com/ and look for the trikes forum.
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Old 06-16-11, 09:55 AM
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Without knowing why you had surgery, what issues you're dealing with, your ranges of motion in flexion/extension/lateral movement, I would not work with you (I'm a personal trainer). You should do the therapy and take pose these questions to a physical therapist, not here on BF.
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Old 06-16-11, 10:14 AM
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As I kid I needed physical therapy to learn to walk again after being hit by a car. A physical therapist is your best option, after that a gym gives you more options than riding a bike. You can get instruction on lifting weights, floor exercises and using the stationary bikes or tread mill.

If you want to do this on your own. A bike will build leg strength. A spin bike has a knob that allows you to adjust the tension from nothing to extreme. You lowest priced option would be to find some stairs and just practice walking them.
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Old 12-26-11, 12:31 PM
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Hi guys, I probably should have been more detailed when I initially posted. From what I can tell, my quads are what have ended up being weak. Calves a little too. But quads primarily. If there is a step to climb up that is higher than average (Like 2 feet) I pretty much need a hand to get up it. If i'm on one knee. I can get up without using my hands. Those are my strength issues. It's because I've always walked a little differently. I don't bend my knees like I am supposed to. My achilles tendon was not the right length and that's why I had the surgery. To lengthen it. So, I know this is not a physical therapy board, but will a stationary or regular bike strengthen that muscles and help me be able to climb higher stairs and get up when I'm on the ground? That's my concern. I've tried the gym. I have a membership. I go a few weeks, then it ends. I just have so many things going on and having a stationary bike would be something I could do every day at home.
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Old 12-26-11, 12:37 PM
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2 foot steps are Not Normal steps.

What situation do run across a 2 foot step?
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Old 12-26-11, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
2 foot steps are Not Normal steps.

What situation do run across a 2 foot step?
Well, you're right. It's not common. And honestly a foot or 1.5 feet probably wouldn't be easy either. I do stand up comedy and at one stage I did, there were no small steps leading up to it. Everyone was able to get up. I needed a hand. Keep in mind, I'm 6'3 too... So a 1.5 foot step should be easy i'd think. But anyway, just getting up from the ground is a struggle. Want to strengthen the muscles that are needed for this. It's the quads, right?
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Old 12-26-11, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by kilerb View Post
Well, you're right. It's not common. And honestly a foot or 1.5 feet probably wouldn't be easy either. I do stand up comedy and at one stage I did, there were no small steps leading up to it. Everyone was able to get up. I needed a hand. Keep in mind, I'm 6'3 too... So a 1.5 foot step should be easy i'd think. But anyway, just getting up from the ground is a struggle. Want to strengthen the muscles that are needed for this. It's the quads, right?
Thanks for that info...makes sense now.

A trainer at your gym would be the person I would talk to.
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Old 12-26-11, 01:04 PM
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Well, maybe someone has the knowledge here and I won't have to go to my gym and pay a trainer to answer my questions. Plus I'm a little concerned that an employee of LA Fitness would push the things THEY have to offer over a home remedy. I'm sure that's what they're paid to do.
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Old 12-26-11, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by kilerb View Post
Well, maybe someone has the knowledge here and I won't have to go to my gym and pay a trainer to answer my questions. Plus I'm a little concerned that an employee of LA Fitness would push the things THEY have to offer over a home remedy. I'm sure that's what they're paid to do.
There is a few things you could do that involve working out at home. A stationary bike is an option that will help some. There is also a lot of exercises you can do with resistance bands. The P90X routines use resistance bands. Although you may not be ready for P90X, you could still do lungs with resistance bands. Before I took up cycling, I had a rowing machine which does stress your quads, if you can stand the boredom.
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Old 12-26-11, 04:00 PM
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I'd try a stationary bike at the gym to begin with. I've experienced long-term physio, and a spinning bike is particularly helpful.

I'm not a medical pro, but I have had achilles issue before. Discuss Heavy-load eccentric calf muscle training with your physio.
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Old 12-26-11, 06:49 PM
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