Proper Knee Position on Exercise Bikes

by Judy Kilpatrick, Demand Media Google
    Your fully extended leg should have a 10- to 15-degree angle at your knee.

    Your fully extended leg should have a 10- to 15-degree angle at your knee.

    Whether you use exercise bikes for warming up or for cardio workouts, adjusting the bike to fit your body increases your comfort level and helps prevent knee injuries. Adjustments for proper knee position depend on the type of bike you use, whether it's an upright stationary or a recumbent stationary. If you have a knee disorder or difficulty with balance, biking might not be the best type of exercise for you. Consult your physician to discuss appropriate exercises.

    Upright Stationary Bike Seat Height

    The top of your upright stationary bike seat should be aligned with the top of your hip bone for proper knee position. With your exercise shoes on, stand beside your bike. Place your thumb on the top of your hip bone at your side. Check the bike seat to see if it needs to be lowered or raised. Loosen the screw under the seat at the rear of the bike on the vertical seat post. Move the seat up or down, according to need. Tighten the screw. Check your seat height with your thumb at your hip bone again. Readjust, if necessary.

    Upright Bike Horizontal Adjustment

    Check your knee location when your foot on the highest pedal is in the 9 o'clock position in its rotation. You should be able to see your toes. If your knee extends beyond your toes, adjust your seat backward horizontally to increase the distance between your hip and your bike pedal. Adjust your seat forward if you can see more than your toes, indicating your seat is too far back.

    Upright Bike Knee Position

    With the seat of your upright stationary bike properly adjusted, your fully extended leg should have a 10- to 15-degree angle at the bent knee. When your knee is at peak height during the cycle stroke, your knee should come level with your hip or slightly above hip level.

    Recumbent Bike Seat Adjustment

    Recumbent bikes allow seats to recline, as the name suggests. Seat adjustment is based on the horizontal forward or backward movement of the seat and the recline position of the seat. Sit in the seat with your shoes on. Extend one leg and place your heel on the pedal. If your leg is not fully extended, slide your seat backward. If you have to stretch to reach the pedal, adjust the seat forward. When your leg is fully extended with your heel on the pedal and you have no discomfort, place the ball of your foot on the pedal. You should have a slight bend in your knee. If you recline your seat farther than it was while making this adjustment, check your leg extension again.

    About the Author

    A licensed therapist who takes a holistic approach to treatment of individuals, families and children, Judy Kilpatrick earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications and a Master of Science in marriage and family therapy from East Carolina University. Her photography and articles appear in regional and national publications.

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