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Reacquisition of "bent legs"

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Reacquisition of "bent legs"

Old 01-22-22, 05:26 AM
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GhostRider62
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Reacquisition of "bent legs"

Since I can't do a search on bentrider, I thought I would ask here. Has any experienced recumbent rider been forced into a layoff from riding and upon returning discovered they lost their bent legs? Any quick ways to regain them?

It took me more than 18 months to acclimate to riding a bent. I had to take some time away due to injury. Now, I get numb feet and I go into aerobic debt (lactic acid) at about half the power. Paradoxically, when I get onto an upright on the trainer or road, I am only down 15% on power at the most, maybe 10%.

Any shortcuts??
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Old 01-22-22, 09:56 AM
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I haven't been through that exact scenario, but somewhat close. So here's a thought... Do 45 second sprint intervals on the trainer with 5 minutes easy spinning in between. Perhaps do 5 to 7 of them per session. Or do Tabatas if you can stand it. While I normally think consciously concentrating on cadence is usually unnecessary, it may be helpful here. And the goal would be to keep it fairly high. For the intervals, strive for at least 100 rpm.

The thought process here is to stimulate as much capillarization as possible in a short period using high intensity efforts in order to try to offset the inherently lower perfusion rates of the elevated leg posture. This may help both performance and foot discomfort issues.

The cadence thing will help get you back in the habit of elevating cadence which helps with bent riding in general due to the lack of glute activation and overreliance on the quads that most bent riders struggle with. If you can train to get your glutes to do their fair share that would help a lot too. Takes some practice to get that muscle memory down.

I admit I am taking a WAG at this. But it's at least based on some semi-applicable experience.
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Old 01-25-22, 12:01 PM
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Not to sound unsympathetic but why does the o.p. imagine that the 're-acquisition' of bentlegs can be sped up? It will take what it will take. Steamer's drills are definitely a way to be more directed about it, and there is also the fact that the second time around 'some' aspects of bent riding are going to be retained. You don't have to learn it ALL over again. But, there was a hiatus getting back to baseline will take what it takes. Enjoy the journey and don't fret about the destination.
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Old 01-26-22, 08:02 AM
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Whether it be cycling, everyday physical activity or mastering a musical instrument, muscle memory for any physical activity can only be obtained with practice.
Saddle time spent is likely the more effective way to regain muscle memory, on or off the stationary trainer.
Strength & fluidity will come, but sadly I don't know of any shortcuts.
I remember returning to cycling after being bedridden for over 6 weeks, that was 2 decades ago and the 'regaining of bent legs' still require similar method.
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Old 01-26-22, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Not to sound unsympathetic but why does the o.p. imagine that the 're-acquisition' of bentlegs can be sped up? It will take what it will take. Steamer's drills are definitely a way to be more directed about it, and there is also the fact that the second time around 'some' aspects of bent riding are going to be retained. You don't have to learn it ALL over again. But, there was a hiatus getting back to baseline will take what it takes. Enjoy the journey and don't fret about the destination.
Well, if it is going to take 18 months of agony again. I might just quit bents to be quite frank. I was looking for help, not **** from you.

Steamer's suggestion was a good one. Will follow.

Yours is a lousy post. This is not about learning. It about physiological adaptation. Some training methods are better than others.
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Old 01-27-22, 01:54 PM
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Have you seen a Physical Therapist and sought out professional medical advice? Depending on your injury and when you started riding, you may be a little older now and it may take longer to get back into similar riding form. If I'm off for a few months it takes just about as long to get back into good shape (to ride 200km brevet).

Taking medical shortcuts probably aren't the way to go but there may be drugs like EPO that a doctor could prescribe (if needed) to boost the fitness. You can't race with this drug and many others.

The intense training sessions as Steamer mentioned is good advice (so long as you're given the okay from professional medical advice).
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Old 01-29-22, 09:40 AM
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We were living in a shared house/garage set up then had to move to an apartment and the only thing open due to area housing shortage and our limited SS retirement income all we could find was a 2nd. floor. We had recumbent trikes with E-assist systems so they were on the heavy side and me being 66 trying to drag them upstairs and thru doors that are bit too small got to be WAY to much!! We sold the E-trikes and bought new DF fitness bicycles which worked much better for a short time. Well hindsight is 20-20 as they say, my wife Jo is a type 2 diabetic and has had 2 heart attacks 1 major and 1 minor since Jan. 2019. With the mix of medications she takes she can get dizzy spells or if her blood sugar or pressure drops "too low" she can faint!!!! Well she dropped her DF bike 3 times in less than a month so we sold it and got her back on a NON-E-TRIKE. Well I found a way to get the trike thru the doors easier and it weighed much less without E-assist. I found with my fitness DF and it's 700c wheels riding with the wife, (my best riding buddy over many years), wasn't very compatiable so I sold my DF and got a used trike also. LOL, even though it was less than a YEAR off the recumbent I totally had to "get my recumbent legs" back took about 150 miles and then it all felt so normal and have really enjoyed being back on a recumbent trike again!!
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Old 01-31-22, 08:32 AM
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The harder you work, the faster you improve. Between the winter layoff and the pandemic, I missed about 18 months leading into spring of 2021. Due to actually *getting* a pretty severe case of it, I started almost from ground zero but still managed to be at 85% by the end of the season this year. I suspect, without anything to back it up, that your 'bent legs' will come back in less time than it took to initially get them. Something about muscle memory.
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Old 01-31-22, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
I suspect, without anything to back it up, that your 'bent legs' will come back in less time than it took to initially get them. Something about muscle memory.
Agreed. My sense of things is that bent legs aren't so much a muscle thing, but neural. There are definitely some muscle adaptations that occur, but I suspect those come back pretty quickly. The neural training is much more durable, of course. Thank goodness, because that's the part that can take several years to fully take hold.
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Old 02-09-22, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ft3safety View Post
Have you seen a Physical Therapist and sought out professional medical advice?

Taking medical shortcuts probably aren't the way to go but there may be drugs like EPO that a doctor could prescribe (if needed) to boost the fitness. You can't race with this drug and many others.

.
I went thru a lot of Physical Therapy and the Surgeon cleared me for any activity 9 weeks after surgery, which was 5 months ago. I've seen my family Doc three times and have had blood work. All good. I'm seeing my cardiologist tomorrow for my yearly.

EPO? LOL. My hematocrit/hemoglobin is well below the professional doper level but a little above average, as normal for me. EPO would not get me the 40% missing power.

Have you ever addressed something like this with a Medical Professional? Their eyes glaze over. I actually had one tell me that I was the healthiest person in his practice and to "Get out of here". It took almost 2 years for me to finally figure out I had asthma as confirmed by Pulmonologist and lots of testing. So, I would not dream of complaining to a Doc that I lost my bent legs. LOL
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Old 02-09-22, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by bjjoondo View Post
We were living in a shared house/garage set up then had to move to an apartment and the only thing open due to area housing shortage and our limited SS retirement income all we could find was a 2nd. floor. We had recumbent trikes with E-assist systems so they were on the heavy side and me being 66 trying to drag them upstairs and thru doors that are bit too small got to be WAY to much!! We sold the E-trikes and bought new DF fitness bicycles which worked much better for a short time. Well hindsight is 20-20 as they say, my wife Jo is a type 2 diabetic and has had 2 heart attacks 1 major and 1 minor since Jan. 2019. With the mix of medications she takes she can get dizzy spells or if her blood sugar or pressure drops "too low" she can faint!!!! Well she dropped her DF bike 3 times in less than a month so we sold it and got her back on a NON-E-TRIKE. Well I found a way to get the trike thru the doors easier and it weighed much less without E-assist. I found with my fitness DF and it's 700c wheels riding with the wife, (my best riding buddy over many years), wasn't very compatiable so I sold my DF and got a used trike also. LOL, even though it was less than a YEAR off the recumbent I totally had to "get my recumbent legs" back took about 150 miles and then it all felt so normal and have really enjoyed being back on a recumbent trike again!!
I thought about adding an electric motor. My "problem" with lower power on the bent at this time? I am surrounded by lots of steep hills. They are not long (under a mile) but they really wear me out on a daily basis. I also only have one recumbent and motors are not allowed in most events although it would solve my hill problem for sure.
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Old 02-09-22, 07:13 AM
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I have been trying to remember how I solved this last time. I had over a year of PMs with a well known and very bright Russian fellow. IIRC, after 2 years and 26,000 miles, I still could not make similar power as on my upright although I had improved a lot. I read every research paper and online forum or blog I could find. W/O going into the details, I came to the conclusion that the O2 delivered by my lungs and heart were not being made available to the working muscles and specifically, the vastus lateralis was going into O2 debt too soon. It seemed to me that either the partial pressures from the working muscle to the capillaries was too low and/or there was insufficient vasodilation. Endothelial dysfunction is a hallmark of the disease of aging. I had already learned that a very long warmup of almost an hour was needed for me before doing a hard effort and that any hard effort needed to be eased into rather than just jumping in (I later found research showing the same effect, but not explained). I changed my diet and added vitamins to increase acetylcholine as that appears from what I read to be a limiting factor in opening up the vascular in the peripheral. I also finally got my undiagnosed asthma treated. I also thought it could be neural. So, I also changed my training to include Tabitta intervals and long intervals of 6 x 20 minutes close to threshold thinking that I needed to more broadly engage the entire VL muscle. I also changed my seating. Five things changed within 2-3 months. Or, it could have been simply that it took me 2 years. I dunno. I do know that for 2 years thereafter, my bent power was good and I stopped searching.

So, I don't know why I was able to increase my FTP by 20-25% over 2-3 months because it was far from a controlled experiment and my memory has faded. I had trained very diligently prior but it was not working, so, I tried something else.

I think the limiting factor for me is vascular although a lower BB couldn't hurt. I also found that my power really drops if I get just a little chilly so I do wear two pairs of wool tights now;. The Tabitta intervals are the quickest and most down dirty test albeit very painful when done properly. Long story short, that is why I am going to try Steamer's suggestion first although it might make sense to do full fledged sprints instead. If my legs came back to aerobic form with a block of sprinting, it would suggest my problem was neural or recruitment.

What is odd is my upright power is pretty close to my best levels.
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Old 02-13-22, 10:31 AM
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Whatever the reason, I think it's almost universal that people make lower power in the recumbent position. At cruising speeds, lower aero drag can make up for it. Hill-climbing, though, is all about power/weight, and bent climbing depends on maximizing the power/weight ratio and minimizing frame flex. It'll probably never equal upright climbing, at least at higher grades. On lower or shorter grades, however, aero can still win.
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Old 02-13-22, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Not to sound unsympathetic but why does the o.p. imagine that the 're-acquisition' of bentlegs can be sped up? It will take what it will take. Steamer's drills are definitely a way to be more directed about it, and there is also the fact that the second time around 'some' aspects of bent riding are going to be retained. You don't have to learn it ALL over again. But, there was a hiatus getting back to baseline will take what it takes. Enjoy the journey and don't fret about the destination.
Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Well, if it is going to take 18 months of agony again. I might just quit bents to be quite frank. I was looking for help, not **** from you.

Steamer's suggestion was a good one. Will follow.

Yours is a lousy post. This is not about learning. It about physiological adaptation. Some training methods are better than others.
Wow. Are all bent riders this testy?
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Old 02-13-22, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Wow. Are all bent riders this testy?
Thank you for your contribution.

(not sure if you prefer passive-aggressive or just plain aggressive)
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Old 02-13-22, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Wow. Are all bent riders this testy?
I should have him on ignore.

My apologies
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Old 02-13-22, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I should have him on ignore.

My apologies
Or you could try to be less testy. I meant no harm.
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Old 02-16-22, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Wow. Are all bent riders this testy?
This illustrates the problem with using BF for recumbent-only discussions. There are a lot of (upright-riding) members who view the forum by 'newest posts.' Doing that will inevitably bring them here where they may not even realize they've wandered into a 'bent-only section, and feel the need to butt in with derogatory comments.
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Old 02-16-22, 06:26 PM
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I switched from 'bent to mostly upright about a year ago, and I've consequently lost a lot of muscle mass in my thighs. I'm more of a masher on the 'bent. Maybe if I worked at spinning more I wouldn't need that leg strength.

I'm just thinking the more you are a masher, the more you're likely to be affected by loss of muscle mass, which will take time to redevelop.
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Old 03-24-22, 09:20 AM
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Not to derail this ( although maybe it could use a little derailing, lol), but I'm a 2 wheel rider who may be switching to recumbent because of balance issues. This conversation makes me wonder about what it will be like switching over. I'll be riding mostly flats, especially at first, but it sounds like any muscle I have now is gonna be fairly useless ha ha. What's the adaptation curve like? My gearing will go down to 17 gear inches, and if I spin rather than mash, I'll be able to ride albeit slowlly, right? How long does it take to get to where you can do flats and little city streets with some rise? Does one not use their quads and hamstrings when riding recumbent? What muscles are you using? New to this world and thoroughly confused...and now a little scared (I'm a little old lady).
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Old 03-24-22, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
Not to derail this ( although maybe it could use a little derailing, lol), but I'm a 2 wheel rider who may be switching to recumbent because of balance issues. This conversation makes me wonder about what it will be like switching over. I'll be riding mostly flats, especially at first, but it sounds like any muscle I have now is gonna be fairly useless ha ha. What's the adaptation curve like? My gearing will go down to 17 gear inches, and if I spin rather than mash, I'll be able to ride albeit slowlly, right? How long does it take to get to where you can do flats and little city streets with some rise? Does one not use their quads and hamstrings when riding recumbent? What muscles are you using? New to this world and thoroughly confused...and now a little scared (I'm a little old lady).
I think you mean you'll be switching between a (upright) bike and a (recumbent) trike. Not that the adaptation issue is any different, but it's important to note that not all recumbents are trikes. With 'bents, there is a tendancy to mash more, because it's an easy trap to wedge yourself between the seat back and the pedals, and just push. "Seated squats" so to speak. The adaptation is mostly about using generally the same muscles in slightly different ways in order to smooth out the pedal circle somewhat. How long it takes sort of depends on your standards of performance; it might take you longer if you have higher expectations. For most people, they will feel comfortable within 500-700 miles.
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Old 03-24-22, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
I think you mean you'll be switching between a (upright) bike and a (recumbent) trike. Not that the adaptation issue is any different, but it's important to note that not all recumbents are trikes. With 'bents, there is a tendancy to mash more, because it's an easy trap to wedge yourself between the seat back and the pedals, and just push. "Seated squats" so to speak. The adaptation is mostly about using generally the same muscles in slightly different ways in order to smooth out the pedal circle somewhat. How long it takes sort of depends on your standards of performance; it might take you longer if you have higher expectations. For most people, they will feel comfortable within 500-700 miles.
I've always been a "spinner" and not a masher, because my knees made me. So hopefully that will carry over and help with the transition. Yes, I meant trike, thanks for fixing that.
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Old 03-25-22, 07:24 AM
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16 years ago, my wife & I started riding recumbents, it was her return to cycling since childhood.
We started with regular platform pedals (for 2 rides, about 50 miles) and she got used to clipless pedals by the 5th ride after 200-300 miles on the Vision R40.
By the end of that summer, we were riding 50-60 mile rides on the recumbents and no aches & pains after the ride other than leg muscle soreness.
Most of our rides were along the river or ocean, with flat terrain, some hills along the way, but nothing longer than 1/8 or 1/10 mile.

I had to change out the original crankarms for myself & my wife, to shorter crankarms.
I usually ride 172,5 or 170mm cranks, on a recumbent I ride 165 or 160mm.
My wife is shorter (4' 11"), her road bike & mtb has 165mm cranks, I put 152mm at first, even shorter to 148mm where she eventually settled.
Smaller pedaling circle helps when you are used to higher cadence.
Wife also tried a recumbent trike after we've gotten used to the recumbent bike,
she felt that trikes are too low to the ground on tadpole models, it was harder for her to get in & out of the trike when it's low to the ground.
And "too cumbersome" with single front wheel recumbent trike. I think that could be interpreted as difficult to steer, when compared to SWB recumbent as Vision R40 that she's used to.
One more reason we didn't get trikes is because of the difficulty to transport and storage requirement when not ridden.
But if balance issue is the reason for trike, surely stay with a recumbent trike.
When compared with regular bicycle, you will find yourself able to ride longer, further and spend more "saddle time" without the neck, shoulder, arm, wrist pains after each ride; but your legs & lungs still get a good workout.
Headrest is a very good accessory for longer rides.
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Old 03-26-22, 02:18 PM
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As Blazing reminded us, riding uprights versus recumbent, whether bike or trike, the same muscles are used but in different ways.
One difference between riding a bike of any sort or a trike is that bicycling helps to maintain or improve balance abilities, while riding a trike does nothing for balance. If a person is not able to ride a bike because of balance problems, then riding a trike is a great way to enjoy exercise and get all the other benefits that come with regular cycling. Of course, with either bike or trike use, we lose out on the benefits of weight bearing exercise, but that's a good reason for diverse exercise habits. I try to at least do a one minute plank daily - hope I'm not overdoing it!
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