Knee pain on basic trainer?


Im a triathlete and been using trainerroad for about 3 years now. I tend to use the trainer a lot more in the winter months. Over the last couple of winters I have noticed I get a slight knee pain which gets worse as the winter progresses and then running seems to make it worse once it has started. It does not hurt while on the Turbo.

I have a basic set resistance on back wheel trainer, I’m guessing the constant resistance and non realistic road feel could be causing the pain? My question is has anyone else suffered from this and would getting a smart trainer with a flywheel and more realistic road feel resolve this? I ride a lot in the summer on the road and don’t get any problems.


I have a smart trainer and notice knee pain too, specifically IT band soreness. I’ve also experienced pain behind the knee but using a higher cadence (90-100rpm) seems to have fixed that, maybe you could give that a try if it sounds like your issue.

I’ve gotten a bike fit and a follow up fit, so I hope the IT band soreness is not from poor fit but I’m not sure what else could cause this. I have been working on keeping my heel down when pedaling and fighting a tendency for my legs to “bow” outward when at the top of the stroke… hoping that helps.

Anyone else overcome knee / IT band pain?

Hi Jon

Yes similar had bike fits and checked since when pain started. My fit is good and as with you need to work on getting my heal down. My cadence is slightly lower on the turbo low 70’s but when I’m on the toad I mid to high 70’s.

I might try keeping my cadence up on the Turbo and see if that helps.

Thanks for the advice


Hello All,
I am experiencing same knee pains, I recommend some extra information to check.
I agree that bike fit is very important also the Cadence.
Further checkups recommended

  1. Slow warm up - stretching
  2. Cycling cleats - use the Grey color - Some manufacturers such as Look and Shimano color code their three-bolt road cleats. This is to indicate the amount of ‘float’ the cleat facilitates. Float refers to the small amount of lateral rotation available once the cleat is clipped into the pedal
    Shimano SPD-SL Pedal Cleats
  • Red 0° Float
  • Blue 2° Float (provided with high-end e.g. Dura Ace SPD-SL pedals)
  • Yellow 6° Float (provided with most Shimano SPD-SL pedals)

Look Pedal Cleats

  • Black 0° Float
    *** Grey 4.5° Float**
  • Red 9° Float
  1. Proper Cool down
  2. Hamstrings and Knee Massage
  3. Enough time to recover

By the way the pain decreased substantially by following these actions :slight_smile:
Hope this helps a bit
Best regards

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Professional bike fit - not one by salesperson done in 15 minutes. It’s worth more than anything else

Regular cadence lower than 80 is very bad for knees. You can spin even slower on steep climbs but not during all rides.
Compare it to doing heavy squats with weight. You can only do a few, slow squats and if your form is bad your knees will suffer. But you can do dozens or even hundreds of fast, body weight squats (with good form).
Advice from coach during most training sessions is to spin above 85rpm.

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Are retul fits worth it? Opinions on them seem very polarized.

As a Level 3 Specialized fitter, I feel the fit is more about the person doing the fit rather than the tools or system. It’s best to get word of mouth reviews by prior customers.

I’m going to echo what @mcneese.chad said. Its also important to note that you have to develop a professional relationship with your fitter. Much like a coach, you both will need to have similar goals for your fitness. It’s not a “one and done” type of thing. I find myself constantly seeking my fitter’s advice on all things cycling and to include life. At the end of the day, it worth well more than the upfront cost.

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