Hillwalking vs. MTB: My legs hurt! Why?

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  • Hillwalking vs. MTB: My legs hurt! Why?
  • Premier Icon jimmy
    Subscriber

    I get that, too, thinking it hurts a lot more to ride up big hills so walking will be a doddle. Nope, it crocks me. Its the coming down that does damage I think. Especially with 20kg on your back.

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    Different muscles innit? I unwittingly* did a 12hour epic walk/scramble round snowden and couldn't walk next day (could only limp the day after) but 12hours on a bike wouldn't have bothered me (well not too much anyway)

    *my mate said "lets go for a walk up snowden", he neglected to mention how far or how long it would take.

    Its that thin muscle up the front of my thighs that always gets me, tight and very sore the day after walking or running.

    Premier Icon pedalhead
    Subscriber

    Same thing happens to me too. Rubbish, isn't it?

    marsdenman
    Member

    No expert (on will be along shortly, i'm sure…) but
    You're using the muscles in a different way – especially on the downs, more so with added rucksack weight.
    Downhill on a bike your brakes do the stopping.
    Coming own on foot your legs are taking the impact of the steps and doing the braking…

    Premier Icon boxelder
    Subscriber

    On the way down, youre using muscles to stop your legs bending (if that makes sense), controlling the stretch of your 'pushing' muscles you use for cycling. It's higher impact too – not the smooth pedalling motion.

    Either that or you're even softer than folk on here say you are…..
    😛

    bigdonx
    Member

    Yep, my legs pretty strong in the uphill direction from biking/skiing – absolute sh1t going down again!

    Maybe if I started pedalling backwards…………..

    enfht
    Member

    Is is because you're a XC MTB mincer? 😆

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    Diferent muscle groups. I did Snowdon in a fit of enthusiasm via the Miner's Trail on the way up and the "Pig Track" on the way down. Couldn't walk properly afterwards, either. I've been doing a training circuit of 30k in the Surrey Hills for about six months now as I want to do more inaccessable (to a bike) peaks and I've only just got to the stage where I don't feel like my legs are about to resign in protest afterwards.

    Keep going!!

    Boooo… I was hoping there was some fancy shiny kit I could buy to make it all better, it really is different from MTBing after all isn't it? 😀

    Maybe won't embark on a 3-dayer straight away then, Beinn a'Bheithir in a couple of weeks will be next one, ridges ahoy!

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    I notice it too. Which is odd considering I end up pushing my bike up most of the hills anyway.

    joolsburger
    Member

    The sickeningly fit bloke I work with told me about this today when I said I was aching.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delayed_onset_muscle_soreness

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    you need walking poles. In fact, go the whole hog and get a bobble hat and red socks too.

    elliptic
    Member

    Like they all said it's due to eccentric loading of your quads, otherwise known as "going downhill".

    Google DOMS. I always get hit with it when I'm bike fit but not mountain fit.

    MTB = great training for walking uphill, sadly not for jogging down!

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    I love the Cobbler. Annoach Eagach ridge is a must do and Liathach, An Teallach and the Cuillins on Skye.
    As said above, one sport doesn't really seem to help the other very much.

    jimmyshand
    Member

    Descending a hill means that you are lowering yourself. You muscles need to lengthen yet at the same time maintain tension to allow this to happen. Eccentric contractions such as these are harder for your muscles to do.

    Dont get walking poles. They are bad for you.

    I've been getting into my hillwalking a bit more recently, recently enjoying a couple of wet and wild dashes up the Cobbler and Ben Lomond.

    On both occasions we yomped up nice and quickly, and on the way down have either walked pretty quickly, or, on my mate's insistance, broken into a slight jog.

    Both times though I've been hobbled for two or three days after with severely stiff, sore quads, so much so that walking across the office is difficult. What's going on?

    The DOMS theory makes sense, the sensation is identical to the feeling I get after very infrequent games of squash.

    Will need to get out on the hills next weekend then, Stuc a'Chroin and Ben Vorlich it is!

    Walking poles are the way to go. I don't know a single serious hillwalker, ML etc who doesn't use and recommend them. They make a reasonable difference going up, but it's the coming down when they seriously reduce the leg impact and the downward momentum from your pack. With a bad knee and a bad back, I could simply not hillwalk if I didn't have poles

    I disagree with the remark about not using poles (or maybe you were being sarcastic).

    Posture is important to effective movement. Good posture delays the onset of fatigue and possible injury. Used well, walking poles help maintain good posture, esp. when carrying a substantial load of camping or climbing clobber.

    You can think of walking poles like full-suspension – reducing fatigue and giving more points of traction.

    jimmyshand
    Member

    CaptainMainwairing you cant know many serious hillwalkers then. My wife published an article several years ago on how walking poles made no significant difference to EMG activity on either inclines or declines.

    I'm staying right out of this argument…

    Will do a few more hills before looking at poles, I'm unlikely to be doing anything epic until next year at the earliest.

    jimmyshand
    Member

    JimmysHand's Palamares = something like 800 munro ascents, several months hiking round the Alps and several more months hiking and climbing in the Himalaya. Never used a walking pole once.

    DaveGr
    Member

    Been out walking with the g/f twice this year in Snowdonia and both times I'm struggling and ache afterwards. I tell her that after 10 years mtb'ing I've evolved into a higher being more suited to biking that walking ….. she doesn't believe me.

    CraigW
    Member

    I suggest taking the hill runners approach, and carrying less and moving faster.
    No need for a big heavy rucksack, just have a lightweight waterproof jacket etc in bum bag. And if you're going to be jogging / running down the hill, then hill running shoes are better than heavy boots.

    elliptic
    Member

    @jimmyshand

    Serious hillwalker/climber here *waves*.

    All the Wainwrights by the age of 17, since you ask, and a great deal of Lakes/Scottish summer and winter mountaineering in the 25 years since then. However I now have (a) dodgy knees and (b) poles to help with them.

    To be fair they do more for balance/stabilisation and forward propulsion rather than taking a significant amount of the load most of the time, except on steep downhill steps. On *really* steep grassy descents you can do something like a skier's linked turns, which is entertaining.

    They make the biggest difference in winter trudging through snow with a heavier load on, but I've never thought to drag an EMG monitor along with me. Do you think I should?

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    My understanding of poles, or "Nordic Walking", is that the poles are to excercise your upper body muscles, rather than being a means of support…

    jimmyshand, as I said I know plenty of hillwalkers, qualified mountain leaders and instructors. Don't know a single person who doesn't use them.

    I am sure you're wife's article was well researched, but as you said it was several years ago. It is also only one article amongst many others that recommend them, and pervasive positive anecdotal information.

    IME it is very unusual nowadays to see any walkers in big hills not using poles

    " just have a lightweight waterproof jacket etc in bum bag"

    I totally agree about taking the lightest load that's reasonably possible. But super light camping gear and trainers often doesn't cut it when a storm hits the mountains. And ropes get very heavy when they're wet!

    euanr
    Member

    Yup, I find the two activities certainly use your leg muscles in different ways. There's a more pronounced effect for me when going from MTB to running (going down stairs the day after an occasional run can really hurt!).

    I was reluctant to get some walking poles, but now I've got some wouldn't go back. Great 4WD effect on the ups. I find they're a great stability aid on rough ground, crossing streams or bog etc. And when it's pissing down you can use them to hold your tarp up for a nice dry lunch break!

    jimmyshand
    Member

    There is a lot of research carried out that says that poles are beneficial. You do need to look at who paid for that research though. I know that the author of probably the most famous piece of research on the subject freely admits that his study was seriously flawed, but that he needed the money for research in other fields.

    user-removed
    Member

    No offence to previous posters but the folk doing the wholw Nordic Walking thing always look faintly ridiculous to me – they almost always seem to be very serious, late 30s couples of the matching anorak flavour, who storm along, dtermined to not really enjoy their walk.

    They never seem to have the time to utter more than a clipped, strained, "Hi" at best. Are they the walking equivalent of roadies 🙂

    And I do take one pole with me on every semi-serious hike – it helps me balance over rough stuff and stream crossings. More importantly, the top unscrews to turn it into a camera monopod.

    elliptic
    Member

    There is a lot of research carried out that says that poles are beneficial.

    I don't care either way. In my personal experience, they can help.

    Again in my experience, they make the biggest difference carrying a load in adverse conditions ie. not the "Nordic Walkers" round the lake on a sunny afternoon…

    Great 4WD effect on the ups

    A good metaphor, going uphill on slippy/icy/gravelly ground you can push along effectively with the poles even though your feet are skidding out from under.

    ac282
    Member

    I'm pretty fit for riding but one 3 hour walk near Brecon with my wife left me hobbling and her laughing at me…

    Gym classes must be better than cycling as training for walking downhill.

    BTW in my youth I did a fair bit of walking in the UK and the Alps. Even though I could run downhills no problems in those days, I still found having poles was helpful if I was carrying full pack.

    jimmyshand
    Member

    Poles also lead to relative deterioration of the dynamic stabilising muscles used in hill walking too apparently. Would make sense to me.

    jamesb
    Member

    I`ve fround that the more cycling I do the more my legs hurt on descents, very much DOMS and quads feel like a meat tenderiser has worked on them all over…..HOWEVER from experience doing quad stretches (ie bending leg back, foot to bum) for about 30 sec after cycling and after hill wlaking does seem to lessen the DOMS effect

    elliptic
    Member

    Poles also lead to relative deterioration of the dynamic stabilising muscles used in hill walking too apparently.

    Well it's a good thing I sometimes go walking without them, or my legs would be jelly now I'm sure.

    Out of interest, did your wife's study investigate uneven/slippery/unstable surfaces, steep uphills/dowhills, heavy loads, walking through deep snow, walking in strong winds?

    Or did she just put people on a treadmill in the lab?

    jimmyshand
    Member

    A mixture. Always compared like for like though. I seem to remember it causing quite a stir when an extract was published in one of the walking magazines – trail perhaps.

    Poles also lead to relative deterioration of the dynamic stabilising muscles used in hill walking too apparently. Would make sense to me

    Dynamic stabilisation muscles? What are they? And what evidence for that statement?

    Have not read any of the research but the bottom line is that they work for me, for all of the serious hill walkers I know, and for 95% of all people I see on the hills. Proof enough

    Edit – and please don't even think about saying that everybody has been duped by advertising and reading articles – give people some credit for making informed choices

    jimmyshand
    Member

    CaptainMainwaring in 97.546573727% or statistics are made up on the spot shocker.

    elliptic
    Member

    CaptainMainwaring in 97.546573727% or statistics are made up on the spot shocker.

    You're the one vaguely quoting "research" despite happily admitting that you've:-

    Never used a walking pole once.

    Newsflash: we've actually used them. We have personal experience to back up our opinions.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 69 total)

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