Is the outside of your knee screaming at you after (or worse, during) cycling?
The IT band can experience friction as it passes over the bony prominence at the outside of your knee, causing sharp, stabbing pain or deep aching which sometimes migrates up the thigh.
Excessive rubbing can be caused by saddle height issues (usually too high); training error (like a spike in hill climbs, low cadences, and hard gearing); or by weakness in your outer hip.
Weakness in the hip abductors allow your knee to fall in, increasing the demand on your knee. It also increases the side to side motion of your body on the bike, costing you power and efficiency.
After checking your bike fit, try these off-bike strength moves to boost strength and stability.
- Side Planks: Side planks give you a lot of bang for your buck. EMG studies prove they have great gluteus medius (your primary hip abductor) activation, plus they offer a core and shoulder stability challenge at the same time. Lift your top leg for an added challenge.
- 90/90 Raises: I like this side lying leg raise variation because it forces the abductors to work in a flexed hip position (like biking). Try them with your toes flexed and pointed to play with slightly different muscle groups in the thigh and leg.
- Single Leg Bridges: This bridge variation works the gluteals and challenges your rotational stability. Practice until you can perform 30 consecutively without dropping or rotating your hips, and don’t over-arch your back.