One big reason people get into cycling is that it\u2019s a low-impact sport, meaning it\u2019s gentle on your knees, and other joints. However, it\u2019s also extremely repetitive: Your legs rotate at around 4 000 to 5 000-plus revolutions per hour. For some, issues with bike fit or technique compound over time to cause pronounced knee pain, the most common lower-body complaint in our sport. Research shows that more than 40 percent of recreational riders experience knee pain from overuse at some point or another. So\u2014is cycling bad for your knees? The short answer is no; cycling is great for your overall health and easy on your joints. The long answer is that there are some common culprits behind the aches and pains in your knees\u2014and how to correct them so you can pedal pain-free. \u00a0You Go from Zero to 60 The number one way cyclists hurt their knees is suddenly riding longer, faster, and\/or harder than they have been. Your connective tissues are not conditioned to bear the load you\u2019re putting on them, and your joints get inflamed and pipe up. The solution: Increase your riding mileage or time progressively, by 20 to 25 percent each week (to a point of course; there are only so many hours). \u201cWhere you need to be most careful is not so much ramping up over a week, but on an individual ride,\u201d says Hunter Allen, founder of the Peaks Coaching Group and co-author of Training & Racing with a Power Meter. \u201cIf your longest long ride is 60km, don\u2019t go 100 next week. Instead go 70, then 80 the next week, then 90, maybe 95.\u201d Be similarly prudent when adding intervals, sprints, and hills. Don\u2019t go from nothing to hill repeats and three sets of Tabatas. And always give yourself a proper warm-up, so your muscles and connective tissues are warm and your synovial fluids (your joints\u2019 natural lubrication) are flowing before you toss down the hammer. You\u2019re Sitting in the Wrong Place Poor saddle fit can result in stress, pain, and injury. To perform a quick check, place your pedals in the 6-o\u2019clock and 12-o\u2019clock positions and rest your heel on the lower pedal, says pro cyclist Sara Bresnick, also a fit specialist and owner of Pedal Power Training Solutions in Medford, Massachusetts. \u201cYour leg should be straight, which equates to a 20- to 25-degree knee bend when clipped in,\u201d she says. When both feet are positioned parallel to the floor (3 o\u2019clock and 9 o\u2019clock), the forward knee should be over the ball of your foot. Your cleat angles should be aligned with the natural angle of your heels, since unnaturally toeing in or out can stress your knees. \u201cAs a quick rule of thumb, if the front of your knee hurts, try raising the saddle a bit or moving it back in relation to the handlebars. If the back of your knee hurts, try lowering the saddle a bit or moving it forward a bit in relation to the handlebars,\u201d Bresnick says. \u201cRemember, even moving millimeters can make a big impact, so don\u2019t move your settings too much at one time.\u201d If your knees (or anything else for that matter) hurt despite following a smart riding schedule, have your bike fit dialed by a professional. You Do the Monster Mash, Your Knees Hate It Pushing heavy gears at a low cadence\u2014below 60 to 75 rpm\u2014places a high load through the patella (kneecap) with each pedal stroke. Use your gears to lower the load and increase your cadence to spin above 80 rpm. Bonus: Spinning faster in lower gears has been shown to improve your endurance. \u00a0You\u2019ve Let Your Core Go Soft (and Weak) What does your core have to do with your knees? Pretty much everything. Your core, which includes your hips and glutes, forms the platform from which you push off when you\u2019re pedalling. It also keeps you stable in the saddle. When it fatigues, your pedalling mechanics break down. In one study of 15 competitive cyclists, researchers found that the riders\u2019 legs moved significantly more from side to side, placing more stress on the knee joints and paving the way for pain, following a core-fatiguing workout than when they pedalled with fresh, rested core muscles. Work those core muscles regularly to keep \u2018em strong and fatigue resistant. Your Range of Motion Is MIA We can debate the merits of stretching for cyclists \u2018til we\u2019re blue in the face, but it\u2019s indisputable that if you have poor range of motion, your pedalling may end up causing pain as your kneecap is unable to track in a healthy fashion. Stretching and foam rolling all your major leg muscles can help keep pain at bay. Regular massage will also help break up adhesions and prevent muscles from getting knotted and \u201cstuck.\u201d Your Cleats Kneed (Gratuitious Knees Joke) Tweaking Your foot position has a direct effect on your knees, so it\u2019s essential that your cleats are placed properly. Position your cleats so the ball of your foot is directly over (or even a bit behind, if you\u2019re prone to knee pain) the pedal axle. Your cleat angles should be aligned with the natural angle of your heels, since unnaturally toeing in or out can stress your knees. When adjusting pedal float, more is not better, cautions Bresnick. \u201cToo much float allows the knees to toggle all over the place,\u201d she says, which not only wastes watts, but stresses your joints. Aim for a sweet spot of about 4.5 degrees of float. You\u2019re Squatting All Wrong Proper squat form is a topic of ongoing debate. But one thing everyone agrees on is that it\u2019s bad to lean forward and\/or put weight on your toes. \u201cIt\u2019s vital that your feet remain flat on the floor\u2014don\u2019t lift your heels\u2014and that you keep your weight over the base of your foot,\u201d says Harvey Newton, a former USA Cycling strength and conditioning advisor, and the creator of the Strength Training for Cyclists System. What\u2019s more, partial squats can result in greater stress on the knee than a full squat. \u201cSo restricting range of motion may cause, rather than prevent, knee problems,\u201d Newton says.