Question about quadriceps

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Question about quadriceps

Postby zemond » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:25 pm

Howdy,

Perhaps someone may know what I'm talking about and share their knowledge...

Whenever cycling it does not take long before my quads start burning, does not matter what gear I'm in, doing it hard or easy... about 5 minutes in they start burning...

Is this normal?
do other people experience this?
will lowering or heightening my seat help?
are there any particular stretches I could be doing to help?

Sincerely,
-- zemond
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by BNA » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:39 pm

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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby Jeremy » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:39 pm

Sounds like a bike position problem.....raising your seat may help ;)
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby JV911 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:43 am

zemond wrote:about 5 minutes in they start burning


as in lactic acid-type burn?

how long have you been cycling?

seat could be too low but it could just as easily be something else i.e. lack of fitness or pacing etc
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby zemond » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:14 pm

Howdy,

Thanks for the replies Jeremy and JV911

@JV911: Yes, I believe its lactic acid

@Jeremy : When I am on the down peddle, my leg extends completely straight.

I am overweight and would say fairly unfit, I weigh 120kg, 5'9", BMI 33%

However, I play squash 1 - 2 times each week, an hour session each time, and never experience this type of thing.

Its hard to explain... its not a pain i'm feeling, as mentioned Its probably just lactic acid, but a few minutes into the the ride, then each peddle gets harder and harder... Its restricting me to short rides...

I haven't been able to crack 10km yet without having my quads turn to jelly.

The more I think about it, perhaps it is just a complete lack of fitness and strength... and I need to just keep at it?

Any more thoughts?

Sincerely,
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby Jeremy » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:20 pm

Do you have clipless pedals/toe straps?

if you dont, they may help you a little in the meantime, as your legs adjust to the new exercise.....allowing you to pull up a bit as you push down on your other foot, thus relieving the quads from doing so much work.
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby zemond » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:28 pm

Gday Jeremy

Nah, no toe straps... A friend did recommend them, But I hadn't put too much thought into them.
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby Warnesy » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:09 pm

Sounds like lack of fitness. How do I know, cause i've got the same problem. I play tennis and squash and hoping on the bike the first few times i've noticed the same thing. Clearly requires a different type of fitness. Hopefully a few more rides and it will get easier.
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby foo on patrol » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:53 pm

You don't want your legs completely straight, at the bottom of your pedal stroke. :wink:
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby zemond » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:57 am

Howdy All,

Thanks for the advice,

Although possibly a combination of many things, I google "cylcing pacing" after JV911's comment, and found like most beginners, I tried to set the starting pace too high...

I did another ride at a much lower speed, I still got a slight burn but was manageable and comfortable.

Although riding at a lower leisurely speed, I actually shaved 40 seconds off my best ride for a route I do (I must normally do the uphill sections incredibly slow).

So I'm very please, thanks everyone who took the time to comment.

Sincerely,
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby scotto » Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:34 pm

sounds to me like a basic fitness issue. squash is a different kettle of fish. anaerobic .vs.aerobic, stop-start .vs. constant, ballistic.vs. endurance
is it just burning or cramping too ?
does the pain continue after you stop cycling ?
probably just push on, do some quads stretching,Image
others might use phrases or acronyms like HTFU ! but i never would

as you get fitter, and lose some weight, things should settle.
also the usual warm up cool down scenario - spend the first and last 5 minutes of your ride at a slow pace.
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby zemond » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:27 pm

Cheers Scotto,

Yeah keeping a much slower pace at the start of the ride really helped.

Sincerely,
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby ireland57 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:21 pm

Maybe using a lower gear will help you too.

I.e. spin the legs a little quicker; it helped me get up some pretty tough climbs.

If my mates saw these words they would be laughing at me now....make sure you stretch. :oops:

Quads, hamstrings, calves, back, core strengthening too.
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:48 am

SPinning instead of mashing the pedals will definitely help; it sohuld only really burn on hills :) that, and drink alot of water.
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby ft_critical » Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:15 am

Something I remember from when I started cycling that helped was to reduce my downstroke. Push hard to start with, then conciously stop pushing. Your leg will keep going round because the other leg comes into play. The great thing about this is that it is the start of moving away from up-down pedalling towards more efficient muscle activation on the pedal stroke.

Also just pick one thing at a time to work on, otherwise it never works.

When you master the downstroke thing, try lifting your knees. Imagine throwing your legs over the handle bars. (this will be harder without cleats or clips but...) This will hopefully start you on the path to using your hamstrings more. But you do have to master the downstroke before you can start effectively engaging your hammies.

This is just from my experience of trying to improve my pedalling efficiency. I wish you all the best.
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby Downhill » Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:57 am

I'd check the seat height. Ideally your knees should be slightly bent at the bottom of the down stroke. If you're pedaling with the balls of your feet, and your legs are straight at the bottom of the down stroke, then you may need to lower your seat a little.

If your hips rock from side to side when you pedal, that would be a definite indicator that the seat is too high.

Lowering your seat also brings it forward, so you might then need to move it back a touch to maintain the correct reach.

Dropping a gear and increasing the cadence may help, too. Dropping a gear means the muscles have to produce less power, which lowers the lactic acid build up per pedal cycle. Dropping a gear also increases the cadence, which means the muscles pumps more frequently, which in turn makes it easier for them clear the lactic acid.

A little bit of burn is good because it means you're burning fat and building muscle. However, it shouldn't burn so much that you can't maintain the pace. If it does, back off a little.
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby zemond » Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:54 pm

Once again thanks everybody for the advice, I thought I'd post my 2cents now, just so if another idiot comes long with the same problems as me he can learn from my mistakes.

Some of these may sound very trivial to most (if not all riders) on here, but heres it goes

This is just a reiteration of what is above
1. Take Water (I did my first ride with water today, I smashed 1.25 litre in about 50 minutes, the first hour of the ride (2 hour total) was a breeze! And to put that into perspective my longest ride so far has only been 40 minutes)

2. Take is easy with the down pedal (I had some odd thought that I needed to reach my maximum speed ASAP, I found this especially true when cycling on the road with motorist).

3. Lift your knees ("Imagine throwing your legs over the handle bars"), this was surprising great advice, I cant answer why, but it certainly helped

4. Low gear ((AT) first even on low gear, I tried to smash top speed ASAP, now i peddle with relative ease doing a speed that feels comfortable at a lower gear, oddly enough doing this I was able to beat my personal best on a route I like to do)

5. Stretches (I don't have much to say about this, this is possibly the only thing I was doing from the beginning, so I can't evaluate how its effected my performance)

Ohh and it may of only be a short period, but generally speaking, the BURN IS GONE!

Now i need to see if I can crack the ride to work :S

Sincerely,
-- zemond
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby sogood » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:29 pm

zemond wrote:@JV911: Yes, I believe its lactic acid

Science does not prove that lactic acid causes the burn sensation.
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby zemond » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:32 pm

sogood wrote:Science does not prove that lactic acid causes the burn sensation.


Lucky I qualified the sentence with "believe" :P
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Re: Question about quadriceps

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:53 pm

sogood wrote:
zemond wrote:@JV911: Yes, I believe its lactic acid

Science does not prove that lactic acid causes the burn sensation.

science does not believe in lactic acid altogether..
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