After 40 odd years wear and tear, then 18 months ago a MTB with a too low saddle my knees aren’t as good as they used to be. (Damn this not being an indestructible teenager anymore!)
Looking for some good exercise to add to improve their strength, stability and reduce the chances of damage.
I’m already happily squatting with my kettle bell and doing single leg stability balancing, but trying to find some actions specific to the cycling motions.
I always hear that knee pain is a symptom of weaknesses in other parts of your body (ie hips).
This is often the case. Assuming this is PFPS (patellofemoral pain syndrome):
- Clam shells
- Single leg dead lifts
- Glute bridges
- Hamstring curls with a ball
- Monster walks
- Banded backward walks
Do 3 sets of 15 of each every day and it’ll work wonders.
As I am getting older I think I need to warm up more too. My left knee will feel sometimes on first movement in the morning (particularly cycling) that it could fold the wrong way but once warmed up it’ll be rock solid. I am needing to get into a more regular routine of squatting with light weights.
I second all the exercises listed above. In addition to strengthening the VMO I’m going to add stretching the hips. A weak VMO and tight IT band and hips is a recipe for bad patella tracking. That was my way out of the aforementioned PFPS. Likewise you’ll probably be more sensitive to bike fit from now on and your knees will tell you when something is off. Keep that position dialed in and listen to your knees for when you need to adjust saddle height or cleat position. These days I get the occasional tweak or twinge but it never lasts thanks to vigilance and care.
(Different tack. Note that I am not affiliated with or sponsored by Stōkō)
I’m 53, ex rugby and lacrosse player. Ligament damage to both knees. Right hip displasia. Mountain biking IS my retirement, no knees left sport so I need to keep things working.
I do body and light weight strength training once a week, 3 to 5 trainer ride, mostly low volume but mid through January and February. Strength really helps keep my knees as stable and they can be. Stretching and mobility (brisk walking) also keep my knees mostly pain free.
I use a Sōkō athletic tights off the bike and they are great. Tights with built in Boa-like cable knee braces RATED TO CLASS-1 medical device. I used to wear 2x rigid knee braces but now just use the Stōkō for walking, XC skiing, hiking. I’m going to try them on the trainer too to see if they help with alignment for longer 1.5+ hour rides.
60 day money back trial if you’re interested in trying them.
KneesOverToesGuy mentioned above has a bunch of great stuff. Hip flexors can absolutely cause knee pain too so having a good daily stretching / rolling routine can help with that.
Here’s my secret that’s helped tremendously. Zero drop barefoot shoes. Seriously, but not for running, not for hiking, not for anything high impact. I wear them all day for walking the dog, going to work, going to the store, just around the house or office.
Think of them as constant base training for your feet. It’s paid big dividends for my knees and ankles, and I have had surgery on one knee and have some osteoarthritis in both. I personally like the Merrell Vapor glove, and have some leather Lems too that I use for work.
But, just as a caution, you’ll need to get used to them slowly. But I’m 100% sold.