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Is riding on a trainer harder on your knees?

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Is riding on a trainer harder on your knees?

Old 02-13-15, 09:09 AM
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Is riding on a trainer harder on your knees?

I have gotten a trainer about a month ago, and noticed that after a 30-60 minute session my knees hurt a little and I never have this issue on the road.

Is the trainer tougher on the knees? Thinking of switching to speedplay pedals and see if more float will help.
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Old 02-13-15, 09:11 AM
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I've never tried it on my knees
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Old 02-13-15, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by VwFix
I have gotten a trainer about a month ago, and noticed that after a 30-60 minute session my knees hurt a little and I never have this issue on the road.

Is the trainer tougher on the knees? Thinking of switching to speedplay pedals and see if more float will help.
Just started riding a trainer this year too. I've found that it's been easier on my legs in general.

My crotch region has suffered more though. Likely because I'm sitting longer than I would be on a normal ride.
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Old 02-13-15, 09:23 AM
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No maybe your dialed to much torque. Spin 85-100.
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Old 02-13-15, 09:27 AM
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The trainer should not be harder on you than being on the road.
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Old 02-13-15, 09:30 AM
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I can see how the lack of momentum to keep the wheel turning could stress the knees a bit more. You can't let up ever. A big flywheel would help. But I find I naturally spin at a higher cadence in response to the lack of wheel momentum. So downshift and raise your cadence. That should help. I pedal on the road at about 90 rpm, but on the trainer I find 105 more comfortable.
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Old 02-13-15, 09:37 AM
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Yeah, on the trainer I'm comfortable at >100 RPM once warmed up.

I'll do short alternating intervals of moderate and hard resistance, each followed by an easy spin recovery, all while maintaining this cadence.

Also, I think it's a good idea to give your self 5-10 min of warmup at the beginning and at least 5 minutes of easy-spinning cool-down at the end.

And stretch before & after.
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Old 02-13-15, 09:43 AM
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And OMT:

When I started riding 5 years ago, I too developed soreness in my knees. It was basically from mashing all the time.

Once I learned how to spin and control my cadence, my knee issues went away.
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Old 02-13-15, 10:26 AM
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It's more stress in general, but not any specific region. You aren't coasting, and I personally like to put my weight on the pedals when coasting, instead of the saddle, keeping my rear-end happy. I don't get that when stationary, either. Figure an hour outside has at least a few minutes of coasting, resting, stopped at a stop sign; something. An hour on the trainer is non-stop output.
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Old 02-13-15, 10:32 AM
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yes, try standing up once in a while. on the trainer you don't move around as much and never coast, so there's more workout-per-hour than on the road.
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Old 02-13-15, 10:32 AM
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If your position is exactly the same as your road bike, it should be lighter on your knees, as we tend to spin more when riding on a trainer.
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Old 02-13-15, 11:06 AM
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Agree with most in here - the resistance dial might need to be dialed back a bit, but mostly you may just need to use a slightly lower gear than you think and spin faster. Mashing high gears at low cadence is very hard on your knees.
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Old 02-13-15, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by VwFix
I have gotten a trainer about a month ago, and noticed that after a 30-60 minute session my knees hurt a little and I never have this issue on the road.

Is the trainer tougher on the knees? Thinking of switching to speedplay pedals and see if more float will help.
No.
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Old 02-13-15, 11:48 AM
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Probably you need to practice pedaling circles and at a higher cadence and less pedal force. Mess with that combination until you feel comfortable after an hour of steady-state on the trainer. You want to be breathing slowly and deeply and sweating. Need a 24" box fan or two. Might take a month of 2-3 X week sessions. It's worth putting the time in. You might also find your usual saddle isn't comfortable sitting that long, after all.
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Old 02-13-15, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by VwFix
I have gotten a trainer about a month ago, and noticed that after a 30-60 minute session my knees hurt a little and I never have this issue on the road.

Is the trainer tougher on the knees? Thinking of switching to speedplay pedals and see if more float will help.
Yes.
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Old 02-13-15, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by VwFix
I have gotten a trainer about a month ago, and noticed that after a 30-60 minute session my knees hurt a little and I never have this issue on the road.

Is the trainer tougher on the knees? Thinking of switching to speedplay pedals and see if more float will help.
I'm a year round trainer rider, typically riding more than half my hours on the trainer. This has been the case for many years.

I think trainer rider is harder on your knees for a given ride length.

First, a trainer doesn't really encourage coasting. On a trainer if you coast you'll stop in a few seconds. On the road you might coast for minutes at a time, even if you're soft-pedaling and not actually engaging the freehub body. There are races I do where I'm coasting 30-60 seconds for a 2 minute lap, i.e. 0 watt power. This means that for a given ride length you're doing more pedaling on the trainer, i.e. for a 60 minute trainer ride I might have pedaled 59 minutes but out on the road I might have pedaled 45 minutes (like in a race).

Second, a trainer doesn't let you rock the bike (except for a couple specific instances), and, if you stand on a normal trainer, your natural inclination is to do the opposite of what you do on the road. Standing while riding outside can relieve some stresses normally on your knees. Standing while your bike is artificially held means you stress your knees differently. If you are okay on the road then the stresses on a fixed position bike might not be good.
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Old 02-13-15, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing
I'm a year round trainer rider, typically riding more than half my hours on the trainer. This has been the case for many years.

I think trainer rider is harder on your knees for a given ride length.

First, a trainer doesn't really encourage coasting. On a trainer if you coast you'll stop in a few seconds. On the road you might coast for minutes at a time, even if you're soft-pedaling and not actually engaging the freehub body. There are races I do where I'm coasting 30-60 seconds for a 2 minute lap, i.e. 0 watt power. This means that for a given ride length you're doing more pedaling on the trainer, i.e. for a 60 minute trainer ride I might have pedaled 59 minutes but out on the road I might have pedaled 45 minutes (like in a race).

Second, a trainer doesn't let you rock the bike (except for a couple specific instances), and, if you stand on a normal trainer, your natural inclination is to do the opposite of what you do on the road. Standing while riding outside can relieve some stresses normally on your knees. Standing while your bike is artificially held means you stress your knees differently. If you are okay on the road then the stresses on a fixed position bike might not be good.
^ 100% agree with this, especially the second point. I used to get a lot of early-season knee problems from late winter trainer sessions, and I attribute it to the above. Now I prefer freezing my @$$ off to hurting myself. I use the trainer only out of desperation on snow/ice days, and I'm really careful when I do.
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Old 02-13-15, 03:37 PM
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The trainer is hard on my rear end relative to being out on the road. I recently got a fizik Antares and it's much better, so I imagine I'll be even better off on the road with it.
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