Why Does My Bum Hurt More on the Indoor Trainer?

Indoor training is surprisingly unkind to your bum; many of us are having to soldier through this discomfort as we minimise our lockdown fitness losses. There are some preventions, and cures, you can use to make it a bit more comfortable.

By Tim Brink |

There’s no doubt that indoor cycling feels tougher on your bum than riding outside. Riding IRL (In Real Life, but like the cool kids say) will take a few hours to even come close to the levels of discomfort you will encounter within 10 or 15 minutes in the infernal hamster wheel.

Your bum doesn’t like the great indoors. Not one bit. Even hardened, so to speak, indoor cycling exponents talk of burning and numbness far earlier indoors than on an out-ride.

It seems the main reason for this is that your position on the bike is far more static when riding indoors, without having to shift your weight to corner, climb or sprint. What that means is that an hour in the garage means an hour seated. Ouch. Also, if you’re riding a different bike indoors, a change in saddle and set-up can cause issues.

You’ll sweat more indoors and, if you’re already a bit tender below from previous rides, the sweat can cause irritation and increase friction. Exacerbating this, many riders use their oldest shorts for indoor training, not wanting to ruin their good stuff. Bad move.

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Mostly, though, psychological. There are far fewer distractions when riding inside so you’ll feel every twinge and pinch exponentially more as the timer counts down slower and slower.

What to do? Here are 8 ways you can extend your time on the IDT, with kindness to your bum.

A message from your fans

Riding with a fan will transform your indoor experience. You will stay cooler, which helps you ride harder and further, but more importantly you will sweat less into your chamois, which means fewer saddle-sore problems. Steal every fan in the house – you can never have enough fans.

Bum cream for the win

After a week resisting bum cream, I know use more for a 45-minute Zwift race than I have ever used for the Double Century. It just works, reducing friction, especially when your shorts are drenched in sweat and begging to chafe you into next month.

READ MORE: Prevent Chafing, Once And For All

Use your best shorts

Seriously. Those old event shorts you have never worn outside because they don’t fit properly, will give you saddle sores in one session, and imagine not being able to ride for the rest of lockdown. The best you got, rinse them properly in the shower and wash as per the manufacturer’s recommendation, and they, too, will survive lockdown.

Stand more

Before your bum begins its rebellion, give it some relief. Get out of the saddle every five minutes for 15-30 seconds right from the start of your ride to encourage blood flow, alleviate pressure and stave off – for a while – numb bum.

Give it horns

The harder you pedal, the less pressure there will be on your bum, as each push lifts you imperceptibly of your saddle. This is why you’ll tend to be more aware of your bum and general body discomfort on recovery days.

Keep yourself entertained

Zwift (or similar)  is a brilliant distraction, as are the raft of cycling movies and documentaries available on Youtube. Not linked up to your telly? Short rides, twice a day will help, as will structuring some intervals to keep your mind off your bum – there is nothing like trying to work out which HIIT leg-buster you are on to distract.

READ MORE: 21 Classic Cycling Films

Crit your bike fit

Double, triple and even more-check you have the identical setup on your indoors bike, that you have on your usual machine (if you are using a different one). For your bum’s sake, transfer your usual saddle to the indoors bike – you won’t be riding outdoors for a while anyway.

After the ride

Get out of your sweaty clothes as soon as you’ve finished your ride. Rinse it while you shower, ready for a proper clean – never double-ride in the same kit! Finally, apply some moisturising cream to your tender bits – if you have pushed it a bit far, a topical application like Anethaine will rescue your bum for another day!


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