Hips rocking

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  • 06-22-2009
    tarwheel2
    Hips rocking
    Is this a bad thing? One of my cycling friends commented about a month ago that my hips rocked a lot when I was pedaling. Another friend confirmed his observation, so that go me thinking that perhaps my saddle was too high. I've used the same saddle height for years with no apparent problems, and I ride a lot of miles (average 600/month year round).

    So I decided to experiment and lowered the saddles on my 3 road bikes about 5 mm. Fast forward 4 weeks. My climbing has sucked ever since I moved my saddles lower. At first I thought it was just a matter of getting used to the new height, but now I don't think so. Even worse, my left knee started aching about 2 weeks ago. I initially blamed it on riding my single-speed one morning when the temps were rather cool and not warming up enough before pushing it on the hills. This weekend, I had a "duh moment" and finally realized that my knee started hurting after I had lowered my saddle.

    So, I ask the jury, does it matter if my hips rock when I pedal? If so, then why is my climbing better with a higher saddle? Is it just a coincidence that my knee started hurting or did the lower saddle cause the problem?
  • 06-22-2009
    Cory
    Pure speculation here, but based on my daughter's experience after knee surgery: Rocking hips often does (or do?) indicate that the saddle's too high. But in lowering it, you'll be flexing your knee a little more and beginning the power part of your stroke at a greater angle, which may put more stress on the joint. When I suggested cycling as part of Kate's rehab, the ortho doc (a cyclist) said "road riding only," because MBers tend to keep their saddles a bit lower and pedal at lower rpms, which is tougher on the knees.
    Or, hell, it could be coincidence. Stuff happens. But I'm a believer in doing what feels right for you, not what experts recommend after surveying a bunch of pro cyclists. If I had to force my body into the positions they can ride all day long, my spine asplode.
  • 06-22-2009
    Creakyknees
    generally, higher saddles allow higher power output, up to a point where you start to get back problems and other overuse injuries.

    the rule of thumb is "no hip rocking" because that means you're using your lower back to generate some of the power, which means you're stressing those muscles which are already under stress while riding.

    but, if it works for you, and you don't ever tweak your back from a long/hard ride, why not?
  • 06-22-2009
    Creakyknees
    oh p.s. I keep my saddle a bit high and rock my hips a bit; I find this helps my creaky knees a bit.
  • 06-22-2009
    tarwheel2
    Funny, my friend who commented about my hips rocking also asked me if my lower back ever bothered me. I have never had any back problems. Period.

    I have had occasions in the past when my seatpost slipped and I noticed it because climbing was so much harder. I used to run my saddle even higher (76 cm) but lowered it to 75 cm a few years ago because my calves would start cramping on long rides. Lowering to 75 cm solved my calves issue and didn't bother my climbing. But I definitely notice less climbing power at 74.5 cm, which is what I've been using the past few weeks.
  • 06-22-2009
    bianchi bob
    Rocking hips can also be caused when riding in a low gear with a high cadence.
  • 06-22-2009
    FatTireFred
    what looks like hips rocking may not always be rocking hips... but your mistake was messing around with your saddle height when you've had not problems for yrs
  • 06-22-2009
    JCavilia
    There's a lesson here
    Quote:

    One of my cycling friends commented about a month ago that my hips rocked a lot when I was pedaling. Another friend confirmed his observation, so that go me thinking that perhaps my saddle was too high. I've used the same saddle height for years with no apparent problems, and I ride a lot of miles (average 600/month year round).
    You ride a lot.

    You've adjusted your saddle a certain way for years, without problem.

    Somebody tells you it looks wrong, based on some conventional wisdom.

    You change it, and multiple things go wrong.


    Several adages come to mind. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," may be most apropos.
  • 06-22-2009
    tarwheel2
    eggsactly
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JCavilia
    You ride a lot.

    You've adjusted your saddle a certain way for years, without problem.

    Somebody tells you it looks wrong, based on some conventional wisdom.

    You change it, and multiple things go wrong.


    Several adages come to mind. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," may be most apropos.

    Sometimes you gotta learn things the hard way, over and over ...
  • 06-22-2009
    PJ352
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by FatTireFred
    what looks like hips rocking may not always be rocking hips...

    +1.
    There's a difference between someone rocking back and forth in order to reach the bottom of the pedal stroke and someone shifting their weight side to side to maximize power on the downstroke (relatively speaking, of course :)).

    To the OP: Next time the same guy critiques your riding position, remind him that he's doing so from behind! :thumbsup:
  • 06-22-2009
    lablover
    rocking hips
    I would leave the saddle height the same as it always was and try riding a roller trainer and see how well you balance on the rollers if you even care I guess. I learned the art of balance real quick when I got a roller trainer a year ago, it can be so much fun and you have to pay attention much more so than a stationary rear wheel trainer. just my .02...
  • 06-22-2009
    JohnnyChance
    your buds are just angry that your technique looks improper yet you still beat them up the hills.