The Best Bikes for Knee Rehab Exercises

Updated April 17, 2017

The best bikes for knee rehab exercises serve the purpose of strengthening and stretching your knee and leg muscles with the purpose of returning you to a functioning everyday lifestyle. Start slowly and gradually increase your duration and intensity levels. Overdoing it may cause further injury. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.


The best bikes for knee rehab exercises provide a variety of benefits. Cycling is an aerobic exercise that can help improve cardiovascular fitness and overall endurance levels, making you stronger for rehab work. Musculoskeletal health benefits include increasing muscle strength and tone, enhancing bone strength and density, increased knee stability, strengthening surrounding tissues, increased blood circulation and oxygen efficiency, improving knee joint flexibility and decreasing stiffness levels. Riding bikes during knee rehab can also help burn calories, resulting in a lower body weight. The less weight your knee must support, the less stress placed upon it. The exercises can improve your mental outlook while decreasing your pain levels by providing natural endorphins, according to Big Knee Pain. Cycling is also easy on the joints.


The best bikes for knee rehab exercises need multiple levels of tension. Adjustable-tension bikes provide the opportunity to increase resistance levels while rehab progresses, thereby increasing muscular strength and joint flexibility. Set your tension level to zero, if beginning your knee rehab, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Tension reflects the amount of resistance placed upon your body. Once you can ride the bike at a comfortable level, which is usually four to six weeks after a knee replacement, increase the tension to the next level. Once that level becomes effortless, slightly increase the intensity.

Low Impact

A bike used for knee rehab should place minimal stress on the joint. The exercises do not place as much body weight on your knee as other workouts. Low-impact exercises strengthen and tone your knee's surrounding muscles, offering more support while absorbing most of the shock meant for your knee, according to Big Knee Pain. Low-impact activities also lower your chances of further joint injury, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


Different types of bikes can be used during knee rehab exercises. With recumbent bicycles, you sit back in a wide-cushioned seat with back support that takes pressure off your lower back and knees. Upright bikes, also known as stationary bicycles, place your upper body straight, or slightly bent forward, to hold onto the handlebars. Upright bikes supply higher-intensity workouts than recumbent bikes, according to Big Knee Pain.


When using a bike for knee rehab exercises, adjust the seat to avoid injury. The proper height will be the point where the right pedal is at its lowest point and your right leg, extended with knee slightly bent, just touches the pedal, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. If you experience pain, nausea, dizziness or light-headedness, stop riding the bike. Keep a bottle of water with you and drink throughout your exercise regimen to stay hydrated.

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About the Author

Crystal Welch has a 30-year writing history. Her more than 2,000 published works have been included in the health and fitness-related Wellness Directory, Earthdance Press and Higher Source. She is an award-winning writer who teaches whole foods cooking and has written a cookbook series. She operates an HON-code-certified health-related blog with more than 95,000 readers. Welch has a B.B.A. from Eastern Michigan University.