Getting used to SS - it aint the knees, but the hips...- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Getting used to SS - it aint the knees, but the hips...

    I recall being told how it will take some time getting used to rigid SS'ing, and that there WILL be some aches and pains, most likely with the knees. I've been riding my rigid SS exclusively now for about two months and my knees have never been an issue (I used to get knee pain as a roadie, but never MTB'ing). What I do find sometimes after a couple back-to-back days with lots of climbing, is that I feel it in my hips. In particular my left hip gets sore. Actually I can't quite tell if it's the joint or just below it were everything connects, like right below the hip ball socket. Stretching helps--glutes, quads, IT band--the 'ol foam roller is getting lots of use. And, taking a few days off certainly helps. Now, I'm 54, so some of this is just age, but maybe I'm doing something wrong when I'm standing to climb? Maybe I'm trying too hard to stay on the bike, when I should be walking more until I'm more conditioned? I'm only getting off when I absolutely run out of steam standing. Anybody else experience an aching hip or hips when they were new to ss mtb'ing?

  2. #2
    western NC
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    At 54 you're probably just too old to be riding SS. Just send me the bike and I'll see that it gets a loving home.

    I'm just kidding. I have much the same experience. My knees might hurt a bit after riding terrain I'm not used to with more steep or longer seated climbs, but otherwise they generally don't bother me. I do get some hip pain though (hip flexors in my case I believe), and my lower back really lets me know if I had a tough day on the SS. I tend to slide back and lean forward over the bars when grunting out a seated climb sometimes, I feel like I generate more power that way, not sure if that's true or not but I do perform better that way than remaining in my normal position. I'm guessing that brings other muscle groups into play as well.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPIguy View Post
    At 54 you're probably just too old to be riding SS. Just send me the bike and I'll see that it gets a loving home.

    I'm just kidding. I have much the same experience. My knees might hurt a bit after riding terrain I'm not used to with more steep or longer seated climbs, but otherwise they generally don't bother me. I do get some hip pain though (hip flexors in my case I believe), and my lower back really lets me know if I had a tough day on the SS. I tend to slide back and lean forward over the bars when grunting out a seated climb sometimes, I feel like I generate more power that way, not sure if that's true or not but I do perform better that way than remaining in my normal position. I'm guessing that brings other muscle groups into play as well.
    Ha ha! yes, I know some of this is just old bones!
    From looking at a diagram, I guess I'd say mine is around the Gluteus Medius and/or Tensor Fascia Latae--it's on the outside of the hip, and works it's way down a bit about midway down my thigh. Thing is, it doesn't hurt when I ride, just after. Maybe, in my attempt to NOT walk until I've really hit the wall, I'm simply pushing myself too hard when standing and it's resulting in bad form, flailing around on the bike, and things are getting pulled/strained in an unbalanced fashion. I remember in my roadie days, a PT cured my knee pain by getting other parts of my leg sorted out--the problem originated elsewhere, not in the knee itself.
    Anyhow, was just curious if hip pain from being new to ss'ing was uncommon!

  4. #4
    western NC
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    That's exactly where mine get it also when they bother me. And I don't walk until I'm completely stalled and can't turn the pedals over anymore. Or if there's anything remotely technical LOL, but I'm working on that. I will add this; I used to have a knee that bothered me quite often, but since getting back into cycling and single speeding (last year), it rarely gives me any trouble. I think strengthening the muscles that reinforce and stabilize the joint have helped a lot with that. Stick with it, it still hurts, but for shorter periods of time.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPIguy View Post
    That's exactly where mine get it also when they bother me. And I don't walk until I'm completely stalled and can't turn the pedals over anymore. Or if there's anything remotely technical LOL, but I'm working on that. I will add this; I used to have a knee that bothered me quite often, but since getting back into cycling and single speeding (last year), it rarely gives me any trouble. I think strengthening the muscles that reinforce and stabilize the joint have helped a lot with that. Stick with it, it still hurts, but for shorter periods of time.
    Glad to hear I'm not the only one! Well, you know what I mean--I don't wish aches and pains on anybody…
    I think I might need to not try and kill myself quite so much on these climbs, and work up to it more. And keep working on the stretching and flexibility, which at my age is a constant endeavor!

  6. #6
    western NC
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    A friend of mine here at MTBR told me the single speeders words to live by; "There are those that push, and those that lie." LOL Stretching definitely helps me for sure, more so after than before. I don't like stretching when my muscles aren't warm, but a few miles in when taking a break I will stretch sometimes if I feel tight. Best of luck with it jbass!

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    I'm in my early 60's, been single speeding for a long time. Road, mtb, freewheel, and fixed. So when I tell you this is an old saying, it's an old saying. " If your knees hurt, your seat is to low. If your hips hurt, your seat is to high."

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    Quote Originally Posted by onecogshortofacluster View Post
    I'm in my early 60's, been single speeding for a long time. Road, mtb, freewheel, and fixed. So when I tell you this is an old saying, it's an old saying. " If your knees hurt, your seat is to low. If your hips hurt, your seat is to high."
    That's interesting--I have considered that, but my seat is actually pretty low. Lower than what's oft considered "correct". When seated and pedaling, my hips definitely aren't rocking like with a too-high saddle. I think it's something I'm doing when I'm standing to climb. The fact that one side gets sore to me suggests I've got some kind of lopsidedness going on (wouldn't be the first time

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    Been on singlespeeds for the last month exclusively because my niner was in the shop. This weekend I pulled the blur out because I was riding a trail that needed a squishy, and it was like riding a lazy boy on the trail. But I still missed my singlespeed, just wasn't gonna do those big drops on a hardtail.
    Austin Mountain Biking and worldwide travel pictures:

    http://www.austinbike.com

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    I hate to ask this, but could you be in to big of a gear inch? Just an opinion; The higher the inch, the harder on the joints.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onecogshortofacluster View Post
    I hate to ask this, but could you be in to big of a gear inch? Just an opinion; The higher the inch, the harder on the joints.
    My bike (Kona Unit) is a 29'r set up 32/20 (it came with an 18T in the back but I had the LBS switch it to a 20T right outta the gate).
    So, that puts it at 46.4 gear inches, correct? Would that be considered high?

  12. #12
    western NC
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    A lot of it depends on where you live, and how much climbing there is. My SS fat bike (which measures out right at 29" OD) is geared 32/22, and I don't think I could push a 20 on it. My 650b SS is 32/20, and it's all I want and then some in places, for areas I travel to ride with more climbing I'll even gear it down to a 22T cog. I'm going to try dropping my seat a bit from the advice above also.

  13. #13
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    I'm a triathlete but I also love SS. Been riding SS for over 5 years solid now.

    I have a similar issue, but I think it's a pinched nerve (sciatic nerve?). I do a lot of running too and I really feel it after a run.

    Like you said, stretching helps (also 800mg of Motrin helps right before going to bed).

    I suspect my problem is something going on in my lower back. It only hurts for a day then I'm perfectly fine.

    This is a new problem for me and it started about 2 months ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wjphillips View Post
    I'm a triathlete but I also love SS. Been riding SS for over 5 years solid now.

    I have a similar issue, but I think it's a pinched nerve (sciatic nerve?). I do a lot of running too and I really feel it after a run.

    Like you said, stretching helps (also 800mg of Motrin helps right before going to bed).

    I suspect my problem is something going on in my lower back. It only hurts for a day then I'm perfectly fine.

    This is a new problem for me and it started about 2 months ago.
    I had what was apparently a bulging disc/sciatica thing going on a year or so ago (before I started SS'ing, was still riding geared). It got pretty bad--pain was shooting down my leg, so I went to a myofascial release massage therapist I've used over the years, and she sorted it out (I also went to a conventional doc and he just wanted to drug me up and start cutting…no thanks). It was as often is the case, imbalances in other areas contributing to things getting out of whack. I've never been limber--hips, knees, shoulders, you-name-it--I'm always tight. So when I really push myself, I can get jammed up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbass View Post
    I had what was apparently a bulging disc/sciatica thing going on ...
    Ouch!

    I don't think I have a bulging disc (at least I hope not).

    Did you have pain while riding too? I don't. I have pain the next day (but not everytime; only sometimes).

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by wjphillips View Post
    Ouch!

    I don't think I have a bulging disc (at least I hope not).

    Did you have pain while riding too? I don't. I have pain the next day (but not everytime; only sometimes).
    No, yours doesn't sound like mine did at that time. I got to where I could barely get in and out of the car without my eyes watering. Riding was out!

    As for my hip thing, it doesn't hurt when I ride really. I notice it later like you. I first noticed it a month or so ago, took it easy for a few days and it pretty much went away. It just resurfaced again after a few intense back-to-back rides. I'm laying off riding for this week and just focusing on stretching things out, and walking. Like with my knee before, I think it's yet another issue coming from how tight I am, and things aren't moving entirely as they should, so I'm tweaking things as a result of being "unbalanced".

  17. #17
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    At 45. I had sore hips also when I got serious about SS. It turned out to be that that area was worked different. So it adapted and got stronger. Now I have a Visable band of muscle. No more displeasure . And the ladies notice my booty !
    Definetly stretch. Specific yoga moves do wonders. The most important though is to SS more. If that's going to be your gig, you gotta get your chops up. As many wise fools here have said, nothing gets you strong for SS like SS!

  18. #18
    Rod
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    I'm 30 and it's my lower back that bothers me after a very long day or one with a lot of climbing.

  19. #19
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    Let's face it. SS is pretty darn hard. That's why I love it. This style of riding will make you an animal. You are definetly going to stress parts of your body , you didn't know were there! That said . Focus on your recovery and nutrition. And check the ego. Gear to have fun and respect the body.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for all the replies! I've been off the bike due to work travel for almost two weeks now, which was fortuitous apparently, because my sore hip feels better, and I intend to ride this weekend. Been doing tons of flexibility exercises/stretching in the meantime, and plenty of walking. I also just went over my fit a little, and I don't know if it's a factor, but I had moved my saddle forward a bit, almost an inch, just prior to my hip starting to bug me. So, I've just moved it back, a little behind the traditional "knee bone over the pedal spindle" position, back to where I had it before. We'll see, might be a factor. The other thing I recall, trying to piece together the timeline, is that prior to it flaring up, I had done a really abrupt emergency dismount in a rock garden, onto that side, y'know, all my weight slamming into that leg in an awkward position-it might actually just be a mild trauma from that. I dunno.
    And then there's the being 54 years old part--gotta accept some creaks I realize
    Anyhow, gonna hit one of my mellower normal trails and get back at it!

  21. #21
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    Good for you! 51 and I have to consistently work on flexibility. But also be careful about the entire kinetic chain. Tight hamstrings can cause more strain on the gluteus medius and piriformis, resulting in hip, then lower back pain. Try to work on a seated position that you can feel recruit your glutes first in the application of power. That should make a difference. I run a standard setback Thomson, with my saddle pretty much centered (I run my cleats toward the back of the ball of my foot). It feels like I get more direct "stomp" from the deep glutes and not so much from the upper glutes-hip. I read recently that you should not have any localized fatigue in your legs when you are done--you should have a more general fatigue that indicates you have proper recruitment of all the required muscles in the kinetic chain. Good luck!

  22. #22
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    Slohr, perfect explanation!

    This may explain some of my lower back issues too. And I've had tight hamstrings before which plays into it as well.

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