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I'm female, in my early 40's, and out of shape, but I have the most perfect bike route to work and I want off the bus. I dislocated my right shoulder about four years ago and it's never been the same. My plan is for an upright, swept-back-handles e-bike (there's a nasty hill on the way home) to keep minimal pressure on my shoulder. The commute would be roughly five miles each way.

Being out of shape and overweight at this age and given the shoulder (specifically, the connecting tissues are especially weak along the top of my shoulder), what kind of exercises would you recommend to prepare me and strengthen the muscles I need for actually cycling? I have access to a good treadmill, top-of-the-line rowing machine, mediocre recumbent bike, and resistance bands. I used to exercise before the dislocation happened and the recumbent bike was for exercise while I couldn't jostle my shoulder.

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    I'll save the real answers for the more physiologically minded here, but I think a good starting point is understand that cycling is mostly an aerobic exercise and so anything you can do to increase your aerobic threshold (the level of effort you can put out before lactic acid starts building up in your muscles) is good. The beauty of cycling is that being a low-impact, solitary aerobic exercise, you can just start doing it, go your own pace, push the limits a bit at a time, and things will start happening. Also consider getting a recumbent. Why put weight on your shoulder if you dont have to? – Nathan Knutson Oct 27 '17 at 19:44
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    I would say that the best exercise is to ride your bike. Start with just trips around the block and slowly increase your distance. – Daniel R Hicks Oct 28 '17 at 1:05
  • Adding on to Daniel's comment, you can always ride your bike partway to work, then take the bus the rest. – Carl Oct 28 '17 at 16:48
  • @NathanKnutson True, the most logical notion would be to bike. Aside from not having a bike at all yet, I live in--imagine a caldera with just one way out. I can't get good practice without hitting some serious hill within about three blocks. So either I coast downhill and then commit to a serious uphill or...? I respect your cleverness in recommending a recumbent, but I nearly squished one once because my passenger side view mirror was tilted just a bit wrong. I barely caught sight of the flag before I turned. I'm not brave enough to be on the other end of that. – SnappingShrimp Oct 30 '17 at 17:36
  • @DanielRHicks I think I can probably get a good three blocks east/west and the north/south blocks are all double blocks. I think you and Nathan are on the right track. Now I just need a bike. – SnappingShrimp Oct 30 '17 at 17:58
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I would see a rehabilitation center or certified trainer for exercise for the shoulder. It does not cost that much for 1 or 2 sessions to get a set of exercises. You will need some light weights as fly will be an exercise.

I tore a rotator cuff and it was easier for me to ride my mtn as that angle was more comfortable.

I could ride after about 2 months but I could not really exercise as I could not pull.

I kind of had a sense of what to do at the gym. I was riding hard after about 6 months and pretty much heeled after a year.

In addition to the gym get on the bike and spin around. Until you are strong you need to be concerned with a fall. I can ride one handed safely so that was not an issue with me.

  • I think I can dig up my original PT exercises and work on the ones that focus on the top of the shoulder, where I'm the weakest and most prone to re-injuring myself. I think I can emulate a fly with the resistance bands (left over from my PT days)--I have a book on that. And then, what you and everyone in the comments said... "Duh, just get on a bike and ride." Next, you guys can teach me how to tie my shoes or something equally obvious. Special thanks for the fly suggestion though, I hadn't thought of that. – SnappingShrimp Oct 30 '17 at 18:08
  • I said fly weights for a reason. – paparazzo Oct 30 '17 at 18:16

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