Riding a Stationary Bike Bad for Your Knees? - young attractive girl on treadmill

Have we all not heard that the stationary bike is much easier on our joints and safer overall in comparison with all the other exercise machines?

In this article, we discuss if riding a stationary bike is really bad for your knees or not. Let’s get started.

It is a convenient way of burning calories and toning your muscles. Riding a stationary bike is a fun sport. You can ditch your gym membership and get fit and healthy in the comfort of your own home.

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In the long run, it strengthens the muscles around your knees, improves joint stability, and increases your range of motion. However, it can be quite taxing on your knees, especially if the muscles around your knees are weak.

Knee pain is a common complaint among cyclists. A study by the Journal of Family and Community Medicine has stated that 15.9% of professional cyclists and 25.8% of amateur cyclists experience this problem. Underweight cyclists are more at risk.

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Here are some things you might have been doing wrong if your knee hurts while cycling:

Your seat is not adjusted properly

Wrong seat height and distance are the main perpetrators of knee pain. “If your bike is set up too low, your knees are taking on an additional strain by failing to properly extend and overusing your quads and hip flexors,” says NYC-based Flywheel instructor Bobby McMullen “Conversely, if you’re too high you’re likely hyperextending your knee at the bottom of the pedal stroke.”

McMullen further states that another big no-no is moving the seat too far back. “When you adjust your seat all the way back it creates this awkward angle with the pedal that requires your knee additional strain to push both forward and down instead of just straight down,” he says.

You are being a bit too loosey-goosey in the saddle

When you go too easy on the saddle, you offer inadequate resistance. You start bouncing, and your body experiences more impact.”Moving to every corner of the bike while your feet are clipped into one place on the bike is going to go straight through your knees as well.” says McMullen.

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You may have set the resistance a bit too high

High resistance causes more calories to burn. But too much resistance harms your knees as it puts a lot of strain on the joints. 

Garner Pilat, a cycling instructor at SWERVE says “Of course we want to gear up and get stronger, but you want to make sure your speed is never lower than 60 RPMs (revolutions per minute),” she says. “If you’re not able to hold 60 RPMs with any given gear, you are putting too much load on your joints, specifically your knee, which will lead to injury.”

It is advised to keep a slight bend in your knees rather than fully extending your legs while pedaling.

Overspeeding always does harm

The knee is a complex joint. Overspeeding with your stationary bike can lead to a lot of pain, and in some cases, even injuries. Don’t hustle, take your time, and do not forget to take short breaks between your sessions.

Therefore, it has been noticed that knee pain may be a result of either too speedy or too slow sessions on the stationary bike as well as bicycle misalignment.

Just because it is safer than other gym machines does not mean it is harmless for your joints. Your muscles and joints work hard to produce the force needed to pedal and maintain your balance.

“Low-impact indoor cycling doesn’t mean no impact,” says NYC-based Flywheel instructor Bobby McMullen

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Bottom-line: Is Stationary Bike Safe Or Not?

All things considered, you will have to be a bit conscious about the alignment and speed of the stationary bike the next time you hop on one. The bike is great for workouts but using it for a long time can cause some pain in your knees – especially if you ride at higher speeds.

With that said, indoor cycling is, without any doubt, the most convenient form of exercise. Therefore, it is recommended that you make yourself well aware of the dos and don’ts of cycling before starting your workout sessions.

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