Long Trainer Sessions - Sit Bone Soreness

Hi All - Relatively newer cyclist and loving Trainer Road. Using it for a few months now and following a high-volume HIM plan.

My sit bones are sore during rides, especially longer ones. I train exclusively on the trainer until it gets warmer. I’ve noticed in my ride data I stand up during rides starting at the 1-hour mark. Doesn’t matter if it’s sprints, sweet spot, 3.5 hour endurance, etc. Once I stand up at the 1-hour mark I stand up every 4-5 minutes thereafter to relieve pain/pressure on my sit bones. The first 1-hour of the ride is great though!

Is this indicative of a saddle, chamois, or fit issue? I’m just using the standard saddle that came with my Giant Contend. I have no other issues, no numbness, no pain, etc. and as soon as I’m off the bike I’m good to sit in my office chair, etc. I feel like my fit is pretty good so what gives?

Its basically because you simply dont move around as much on the stationary bike as you do on the road - even just the slightest of position changes outside makes all the difference. There is probably also the metal thing - loads of distractions outside but nothing but how you feel to think about indoors. I can ride 8-9hrs outside with no issue but same bike on the trainer or rollers starts to kill me after 90 mins and I’m done after 2hrs.

I’d suggest you make sure you have some chamois cream, good shorts (not the crap old ones often relegated to indoor duty), as much distraction as possible (music, film TR etc) and try and move around as much as you can. Many people swear by rocker plate bases under their turbos as well.

Good luck with it.

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Try and stand up every 10-15 minutes during the whole ride.

Out on the road, the bike also moves around quite a bit - in a snake like motion down the road. Find a top down video of someone pedaling on the road or on rollers and you’ll see. Plus you stand for little climbs and rollers and stop at stop lights and all that.

@Bbdude The next level of solutions is:

different saddle
new shorts
chamois cream
rocker plates
rollers
motion rollers

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Yup - in my experience/opinion, rocker plates are about comfort, not ‘realistic outdoor experience’. I think the vast majority of people who don’t like or don’t ‘get’ rocker plates either:

  • don’t have any comfort problems without them
    or
  • Are looking for a ‘realistic outdoor experience’, and are disappointed when rocker plates fail to deliver.
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IJWTS, I rode all fall on the trainer - more than I ever have - 6-8 hours per week. I had no comfort issues. Lately, I’ve felt uncomfortable on the trainer starting around an hour. Plus I’ve been riding mostly outside now.

The right sit bone felt like a hole was getting drilled in it on one ride. The left side of my upper back/lower neck has been feeling tight. Weird.

Rule 5 applies here.

A rocker plate worked for me - but as @toyman correctly points out, it doesn’t mean it feels like riding outside, but it does provide enough lateral movement to have you adjusting your position subconsciously in the same way you do outside. I used to have problems over the hour mark, now I can do 2.5-3 hours before I start to ‘feel’ it.

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I wanted to come back to this point too, as while rocker plates are nice and I would have a hard time giving mine up, the rest of these items also play into comfort.
I would say that your sit bone pain could be saddle/fit related, but likely not chamois (I guess maybe if the seat is super hard a thicker chamois could help). If you have chaffing/skin irritation then it could be chamois related. I have had more issues with chaffing/saddle sores, and have been amazed at how fit, saddle, and chamois play into that. Even a very slight angle change on the saddle can make a big difference. Also, I’ve gone from having the chaffing issues solved, to after a bike fit that moved my seat forward a bit struggling with them again. These things all play together - I don’t have any concrete guidance, but starting with trying to confirm that your saddle is the ‘right’ width could be worthwhile.
Also, it may be worth checking to see if you trainer is really level, as garage floors are often sloped, and even indoor floors can be uneven.

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1st. Rigth angle of saddle
2nd. Best bibs you can get it
3rd. Move every 10-15 minutes

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Thanks so much for the feedback. Thus far, my chaffing is very limited and saddle sores are pretty minor … both clear up within 24-48 hours.

Currently, I do all my rides in Ceroti bibs. They were ~$50 and seem to look like the Black Bibs so many here swear by. On the fence on buying Assos Cento Evo bib shorts due to cost (~$320), but from posters here it sounds like these are well regarded as ‘the best’. I guess worst case they’re no different and I can return them …

You can try bibs and then return them?

I love Assos but I haven’t paid for than $150 for a set so far. You have to shop around.

Sit bone soreness, especially if bilateral/symmetrical, could indicate a saddle that’s too wide, but there are a lot of other possibilities. What are you using?

I used to have issues on longer trainer rides but two things have helped…

  1. Saddle choice - found one that works for me on the road bike and put the same saddle on my trainer bike at the same height and set it dead level.
  2. I use the same selection of bib shorts for my indoor and outdoor rides. These are a mixture of Ale and DHB which work well and over the last year I’ve stopped using chamois cream too for most rides unless I’m still a little tender from say a long outdoor ride from a few days ago.

YMMV but it seems to come down to, as others have said, saddle/bibs/fit interaction.

I’d look at those to maximise comfort and build up to longer rides. Don’t forget 60 minutes plus of non stop pedalling on a trainer is very different to an hour outside where you’re not pedalling all the time. So it will maybe highlight slight fit “issues”.

It is symmetrical. Seems to be alleviated when I sit upright, which of course is only possible for so long.

I’m using the stock saddle (Giant Contact) that came with my 2020 Giant Contend 3.

I used to have problems like yours, but I lowered my saddle and now it’s much better. Video yourself from the back, and if you see your hips rocking, lower your seat.

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Get these bibs… CAMPEONÍSIMO Archivos - KV Sport - Cycling wear

Don’t worry about the cheap price. These bibs are much better than Mavic, etc… that costs 120€ and more. That’s my experience.
Perfect fitting, like a glove on perinneal area, fantastic chamois, fully compresive…
If you can buy 2 for the price of a high end like Mavic or similar…