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Out of the Saddle riding VS Knees

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Out of the Saddle riding VS Knees

Old 03-07-19, 08:31 AM
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rayooo
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Out of the Saddle riding VS Knees

Many years ago I had a knee issue (torn meniscus). At the time I somehow felt that the issue happened when I was messing around on the bike, out of the saddle..

Since that time I've continued riding, but pretty much never ridden out of the saddle since, and cycling has in my estimation been extremely helpful with my knee(s) ..no issues at all.

This coming year I've got a few long challenging rides planned and I was hoping to have OOTS as a tool.

In training this winter I've been experimenting (Spin bike). I've taken it easy, but, at this point It really feels like I'll be able to add out of saddle to climbs here and there this season.

I was wondering if anyone has any experience and comments relating to knee issues and riding upright.

Interestingly enough, riding several years in-the-saddle exclusively seems to have been a good training strategy for me as I think it's helped my overall leg strength.

THANKS!
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Old 03-07-19, 09:49 AM
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I started cycling after meniscus surgery eliminated running as an option for me. The ortho doc at the time advised me to never ride out of the saddle and I cycled in a reasonably hilly area like that for multiple years. Fast forward many years and post total knee replacements, the surgeon also cautioned against riding out of the saddle because of the higher forces on the hardware parts. I am accustomed to climbing while seated and while I may give up some power in some places, it mostly works just fine. On occasion I get out of the saddle just to change position, but I am a seated climber and I have had some challenging climbs the past couple years without feeling compromised.
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Old 03-07-19, 10:19 AM
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Staying in the saddle but being in too high of a gear isn't good for your knees, either. Personally, I don't see why riding out of the saddle in the appropriate gear should be any scarier than walking up a set of stairs.
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Old 03-07-19, 12:20 PM
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Try building core leg strength first. A stepper machine if you have access to one or a gym. Or basic squats, lunges and leg exercises. Stair walking. Use the entire foot to support yourself while strengthening the legs.

It's too easy to use poor ergonomics just riding a bike, especially with foot retention -- clipless or toe clips. Been there, done that, keep forgetting to learn that lesson. Whenever I try to exceed those limitations I'll end up with shin splits. Did it again last week, ignoring the problems I'd experienced years ago. Did a long indoor trainer session mashing harder gears to work on getting out of the saddle. Didn't shift down enough to easier gears when I sat again to pedal and pulled upward too much in an attempt to maintain cadence. Muscle strain along the front of the lower leg and upper foot. At age 61 it's taking longer than I'd expected to heal. I may need to skip the foot retention for a couple of weeks until the injury heals, so I won't strain it with unintentional pulling upward. And I'm confining my outdoor rides to fairly short easy spins, around 10-12 miles. Walking is more uncomfortable than cycling.

The optimal foot retention setup for riding seated may not be the best for out of the saddle climbing and sprinting. Although cleats with float help minimize some of the risks associated with fixed cleats in my old toe clips and cleated shoes.

On the plus side I've avoided knee strain. That's due in part to bike fit issues -- seat post height, saddle position, handlebar/stem, etc.
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Old 03-07-19, 12:45 PM
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For me riding out of the saddle is a last ditch effort to keep going when I have no lower gear to go to. And perhaps times when I just need to get my butt off the saddle to adjust stuff in my shorts that have gotten out of proper position.

Definitely it is something that is harder for me to do as my cadence increases and seems to tire me out quicker. I don't think I'm missing out on much by not riding out of the saddle more.
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Old 03-07-19, 01:45 PM
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My torn meniscus had an arthroscopic snip. By far the worst of recovery was breaking up the scar tissue. I was spinning on my roller 3 days later, riding normally in a month. I found hiking helpful.

I ride OOS frequently. I think it's helpful for strength/endurance. I usually do ~70 cadence and focus on keeping my upstroke knee close to the top tube, rocking the bike slightly.
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Old 03-07-19, 02:08 PM
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I had knee surgery approx 24 yrs ago & I ride out of the saddle frequently. all knees are different, but like you, I took it easy for a long time. I'm still very conscious of keeping everything aligned before & while getting up
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Old 03-07-19, 06:36 PM
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I ride fixed gear and singlespeed and spend a lot of time riding out of the saddle and standing on the pedals and never had a problem yet. I am also a spinner and never push big gears.
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Old 03-07-19, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I ride fixed gear and singlespeed and spend a lot of time riding out of the saddle and standing on the pedals and never had a problem yet. I am also a spinner and never push big gears.
Uh, that doesn't seem right. I remember very clearly climbing 10% grades in a 70" gear and a 35 cadence,
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Old 03-07-19, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rayooo View Post
..This coming year I've got a few long challenging rides planned and I was hoping to have OOTS as a tool.

In training this winter I've been experimenting (Spin bike). I've taken it easy, but, at this point It really feels like I'll be able to add out of saddle to climbs here and there this season.
IMHO.... for a long challenging ride.... the best use of OOTS is to preserve blood flow and save butt pain. In most cases.... riders tire on a long ride, and then remain seated. Blood pools in the buttocks and the saddle begins to hurt. If you can't pedal while standing... at least take time to stand on the pedals every now and then (4-5 minutes?).

Standing to climb... be sure you are in a faster gear than you'd be in when seated. You can't pedal much faster when standing.... but it's a better position for power-to-the-pedal.
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Old 03-08-19, 07:58 AM
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wow, thanks so much everyone for the great feedback! I'm definitely going to keep going on the current plan.. but continuing to be just a bit careful when OOS.
Now if I could just get outside to ride. 10 deg here this morning! but warmer tomorrow.
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Old 03-08-19, 08:23 AM
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A torn meniscus is to cycling as the gates of St. Peter are to heaven. Or a pit of quicksand is to a women in a '60s film. What I'm trying to say is that more people have gotten into the sport because of cartilage trouble in their knees than have gotten into yo momma after she's been drinking (just a figure of speech). If it's not the best exercise to stabilize and strengthen the joint, it's close. I'm sure as you ride more and continue to build strength, your knee will come around to standing on the pedals, and it sounds like it already has. Standing on the pedals is still a very controlled motion, and even if you're pedaling a relatively tall gear, the forces aren't severe -- it's closer to like climbing a set of stairs than it is to anything you'd do on a basketball or tennis court. Just listen to your body, take it a bit at a time, do what works, and be patient with yourself. I got into cycling because of a arthroscopic surgery at age 14, knees feel great all these many years later.
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Old 03-08-19, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ljsense View Post
A torn meniscus is to cycling as the gates of St. Peter are to heaven. Or a pit of quicksand is to a women in a '60s film. What I'm trying to say is that more people have gotten into the sport because of cartilage trouble in their knees than have gotten into yo momma after she's been drinking (just a figure of speech). If it's not the best exercise to stabilize and strengthen the joint, it's close. I'm sure as you ride more and continue to build strength, your knee will come around to standing on the pedals, and it sounds like it already has. Standing on the pedals is still a very controlled motion, and even if you're pedaling a relatively tall gear, the forces aren't severe -- it's closer to like climbing a set of stairs than it is to anything you'd do on a basketball or tennis court. Just listen to your body, take it a bit at a time, do what works, and be patient with yourself. I got into cycling because of a arthroscopic surgery at age 14, knees feel great all these many years later.
While I was recovering, I noticed early on the flexibility in my "bad" knee had decreased considerably... (scar tissue after the repair?) Cycling and even rowing machine seemed to be a painless way to increase flexibility, along with all the other benefits of cycling!

My bad knee now is nearly but not quite as flexible as the other, but it's no issue riding. I do notice in my case, climbing stairs, cycling, hiking uphill are all pretty easy... worse thing is hiking downhill fairly steep... then I hear both knees complaining.
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Old 03-08-19, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Uh, that doesn't seem right. I remember very clearly climbing 10% grades in a 70" gear and a 35 cadence,
That's you....I prefer to climb hills while standing out of the saddle. There is no right or wrong here it's all about personal preference.
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Old 03-08-19, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
That's you....I prefer to climb hills while standing out of the saddle. There is no right or wrong here it's all about personal preference.
I was just saying, that's pushing a big gear, not spinning. Of course you can do anything you like. I found I couldn't stand for long in that gear on 10% without blowing up so I mostly sat it, about the same cadence either way. Didn't bother my knees at all, but that's just me. Not my preference, rather what I have to do when using big gears for the terrain.

IME one can train their body for most any stress. It takes time and one has to carefully work up to it.
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Old 03-08-19, 07:30 PM
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I have two arthritic knees. I stay seated for even long steep hills. You get used to it. I can still sprint up hills seated.
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Old 03-08-19, 10:06 PM
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Yeah, the arthritic folks I've ridden with - like zero knee cartilage - ride seated, take ibuprofen, and spin 90 on the climbs. Itty-bitty gears unless you're aerobic capacity is very high. But it depends on what one means by "arthritic." I went XC skiing today with a woman with diagnosed arthritic knees who has found that exercise is very, very helpful, to the tune of 10 miles, 4 hours, and 1100' today before lunch. it is really sweet exercise, zero impact, lots of small muscle recruitment as well as the major movers. One doesn't get that combo on the bike.

She'll ride tandem with her husband and us on Sunday, 40 miles and 2100', hard as we can go. Good medicine. We don't stand much, just butt breaks or at a hill crest for momentum.
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