THE KNEES
Mountain Bike Rider|February 2022
Five exercises to prevent your knees becoming your nemesis

When it comes to achy joints, what’s the most common complaint among mountain bikers? Yup, you guessed it... knee pain. If you’ve been riding for long enough there’s a 95% chance you’ve experienced some sort of knee problem. At the extreme end, riders encounter ACL ruptures and damaged cartilage, often requiring surgery to make a full recovery.

More commonly though, it’s overuse injuries like swelling and tendinopathy that make up the majority of issues – where rapid increases in mileage or riding frequency are often the culprit.

But it’s not just the repetitive cyclical motion of pedalling that can be problematic for the knee joint. Mountain biking is much more dynamic than road cycling, which in turn puts your knees under load in unfamiliar positions, making it much more likely to result in a tweaked knee joint. It's why exercises like cossack and curtsy squats that offer a full range of motion in multiple planes of motion are so important for maintaining the integrity of the knee joint.

As for bulletproofing your knees against trauma and impacts, that’s relatively easy... you just have to wear kneepads every time you ride. If nothing else, the added abrasion resistance of kneepads could save you a long wait at A&E just to get your knee stitched up.

THE COACH

Jonny Thompson is head coach for Fit4Racing, an online fitness programme for mtb riders. Once a forensic scientist, Jonny has devoted the last 10 years to coaching athletes, from Paralympians to world number one enduro racers. His main focus with the Fit4Racing team is developing and delivering fitness programmes to pro and amateur riders. Training the likes of Adam Brayton, Jonny also sends digital programmes to riders all over the world, many of whom ride professionally.

ASSESSMENTS

PASSIVE VS ACTIVE KNEE FLECTION

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