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I've been using my stationary bike to do cardio 3 times a week for about 50 minutes each session for almost 2 months now. When I started off, I found it very uncomfortable to sit on the seat, so I got a softer seat, which didn't really help. Now after about 30 minutes into the session, I find it very painful, and am sore for about 2 days after finishing a session.

Is it possible to avoid getting sore?

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Where exactly are you getting sore? Is it a muscle soreness in your legs from the cycling or soreness in your back/rear from the seat? –  Sparafusile Mar 14 '11 at 13:37
    
I think its chafing via friction where I sit on the seat, the part which has most of the pressure between the upper/inner legs when sitting on the seat. –  oshirowanen Mar 14 '11 at 13:45

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you're getting a rash or hives from your thighs rubbing together or against the seat, there are several things you can do to help it:

  • First, wear tighter shorts when working out. If your thighs can't rub together, they wont cause a problem.
  • Wear fitness shorts - running shorts, biker shorts, etc. Try to avoid cotton and buy the ones that feel slippery in the store.
  • Wear spandex bike pants under your shorts. Two layers of protection for extra comfort.
  • If all else fails, use Vaseline or Body Glide to lubricate the areas that are rubbing together.
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Got some padded cycling shorts, look really strange. Am I supposed to wear anything under these? –  oshirowanen Apr 28 '11 at 13:46
    
I would as they're probably harder to wash than regular undies. They will need to be washed eventually however. –  Sparafusile Apr 28 '11 at 14:23
    
lol, yes. I overlooked the following point in your post > Wear spandex bike pants under your shorts. Two layers of protection for extra comfort. –  oshirowanen Apr 28 '11 at 15:09

In addition to what Sparafusile said, you may want to get a cut-out seat like this to help alleviate the pressure on certain areas:

cut-out seat

Additionally, a firm (but not hard) seat may help reduce friction since you won't be sinking into it and moving as much as you pedal.

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Another thing to consider is that your saddle should be just wide enough for your 'sit bones' to be supported and no wider. A seat that is too wide for your anatomy is bound to cause chafing, and a seat that is too narrow is bound to cause discomfort due to the flesh in-between the sit bones supporting more load than it's designed for. Also, consider some adjustment to the seat angle -- the most comfortable positions tend to be perfectly flat, or with the front of the seat angled upwards slightly (which may be a bit counter-intuitive).

A nice primer on the topic can be found on Sheldon Brown's website.

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As a very active cyclist, spending many hours on a bike, I can recommend 3 things.

  • If you have inflammation, let that heal first.
  • Get a pair of decent, padded cycling shorts. The better models have "anatomical" padding that go a long way towards comfortable cycling. You can even get padded liners that can go under regular gym shorts if modesty is an issue. Cycling shorts are designed to minimize issues like chafing and soreness.
  • You can use a product like, Paceline Chamois Butt'r which is a skin lubricant & chamois cream. This product prevents the uncomfortable rubbing and chafing that most cyclists experience when sitting on their saddles. You could also use a skin moisturizing lotion on the affected areas.
  • As others have pointed out, part of the issue may be the saddle.

"Is it possible to avoid getting sore?" - Most definitely with the proper gear.

Hope this helps.

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"Is it possible to avoid getting sore?" - Most definitely with the proper gear - up to probably 4 hours a day ;-) –  Duncan McGregor Mar 21 '11 at 17:07
    
@Duncan - Nah. Longer than that. I ride 100+ mile (160+ km) rides which means 5 - 7 hours on the bike with only short breaks, and I don't suffer much, if any, soreness. Of course I'm used to it. '~) –  wdypdx22 Mar 23 '11 at 17:28
    
Ah, but 5-7 hours per day, rather than on a day? I find that with decent shorts a couple of consecutive days is OK, but after 3 or 4 100+ miles a day I still hurt. –  Duncan McGregor Mar 23 '11 at 23:01
    
@Duncan - The original poster wants to do "do cardio 3 times a week for about 50 minutes each session" - This should be easy to do without soreness. –  wdypdx22 Mar 23 '11 at 23:39

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