Bad knees can be a real hamper when it comes to Mountain Biking. If you’ve got bad knees there are things you can be doing to strengthen them up, and reduce the pain. Above all else you want to be sure to get to the Doctor, get diagnosed, and accept the help they offer. With that in mind though, here’s 4 things to consider to improve your bad knees :
1. Weight train
You want to both improve the range of motion (so you can put your heel flush to your bum) and also get strong through that range of motion. All the muscles that pass over and around your knee need to be strong – your hamstrings, quads, adductors and calves especially. You can strengthen these muscles up in the gym with exercises like split squats, hamstring curls and romanian deadlifts. Start with high-ish reps and low weight (think 3 sets of 12-15 reps on each exercise). Weight training MASSIVELY helps strengthen up the muscles around your joints meaning the joint can take less strain as the muscles take up the slack.
2. Improve your posture
If you posture is bad, or you have muscular imbalances you may find the movement your knee goes through on a pedal stroke is slightly off. You might find your knees drop in or out. Over time this can make your pedalstroke cause pain and friction around your joints. Making sure your posture is good and you have great flexibility will help stop this.
If you have bad knees then rest is as important as training. Listen to your body – if your knees are bad maybe back off. If your knees are feeling good, go hard. Consider spreading out your rides/training sessions through the week to help your knees recover and the inflammation to go down. On that note…
4. Eat right and take the right supplements
Reducing the inflammation around/in your knees is important. Nutrition plays a key factor in this. Eat a good diet, stay hydrated and consider joint supporting supplements like Glucosamine Sulphate and Omega 3.
All in all it’s a matter of working with your knees, not against them. Accept you have knee pain, don’t pretend you don’t and work within your limits to get them stronger. With the right focus you can absolutely get them stronger and reduce your pain.