Bike position/comfort

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by doctorbph, Jun 26, 2004.

  1. doctorbph

    doctorbph New Member

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    My question is about lower back stiffness and fatigue.

    I have been riding for two years and ride fast group rides 28+ 2 days a week but notice that my lower back fatigues and tightens after the 1st half of the ride. I also train 2hrs/ day on the other 3-4 days, so I am used to time on the bike.

    I was refitted with the New England Cycling Academy Fit Kit computer system and wonder if i need to raise or lower my stem spacers or maybe change something else.

    If anyone has any experience, please reply. I have just about had enough of the jumble of opinions and fitting methods and need some real help once and for all.

    thank you.

    B. Hoffer
     
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  2. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    I've had a lot of lower back pain over many seasons of riding, and suspect others have also. It's frustrating and certainly takes the fun out of riding. Could be your seat adjustment isn't optimum, or your drop or reach, but I'd say it's more likely your condition and training schedule.

    Believe the lower back muscles do a lot of work at the start of the downstroke, particularly if you're hammering hard in the big ring or climbing hills seated at low cadence. Just like your legs, if you overdue the workload and don't allow the back muscles to recover, you'll end up with cronic pain.

    Conventional advice is more stretching and core strength work. I've had pretty good success with a morning stretch routine for the back and hamstrings. For strength, I do crunches and back extensions daily, plus deep lunges. Above seems to be working for me to prevent the back pain.

    Other advice would be that as soon as you feel it tightening up on your hard group rides, back off, gear down and relax. Doesn't help to keep putting the hurt on your back twice a week, it needs time and patience to heal and get stronger.
     
  3. doctorbph

    doctorbph New Member

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    Thank you dhk.

    I also do the crunches and core work, maybe not as often as I should but regularly.

    I may try a few minor adjustments on the bike and see what happens.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  4. carljohnson

    carljohnson New Member

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    Like a lot of muscle pain, back pain is often not caused where the pain is. My lower back stiffness is relieved by doing SIDE stretches. Ab crunches and back extensions don't touch it, but stretching out the sides completely cures it.
     
  5. nutbag

    nutbag New Member

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    I have had this exact problem (I think), but only on hard rides. The lower back muscles on both sides feel weak and fatigued.

    I've pretty musch fixed it by raising the handle bars, and stretching my hammies and glutes a lot.
     
  6. need11@46

    [email protected] New Member

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    I have the same problem. The fact that I sit in front of a computer for most of the day doesn’t help. All of the advice you've received is sound. I hired a personal trainer to help me, and supplement my riding with weight training. I understand that strengthening the back *and* stomach muscles is key to alleviating lower back pain, and stretching your muscles on a regular basis provides flexibility to keep them from tightening up.

    The only other possible mitigation may come from a change in your riding position. It appears you’ve already taken this step.
     
  7. doctorbph

    doctorbph New Member

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    Thanks to all for the worthy advice. Much appreciated.
     
  8. nutbag

    nutbag New Member

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    Strangely, my back-ache started when I started doing heaps of crunches
     
  9. need11@46

    [email protected] New Member

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    nutbag: are you doing any exercises to strengthen your lower back muscles? My trainer recommended both to help with my lower back pain. It has worked quite well for me.

    -Wm.
     
  10. nutbag

    nutbag New Member

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    Thanks.

    I tried the straight-leg, leg raises a couple of times, which hurt my back a bit, but since then I've pretty much fixed the problem by raising my handle bars and stretching my hammies and glutes....a LOT.

    It's amazing what difference 1cm of handle bar height makes.
     
  11. tacomee

    tacomee New Member

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    Climbing in too high of gear with a low cadence always results in a sore back for me-- your trouble may be that might have to ride slower to help put less stress on your back (I hope not, but this starting happening to me in my mid 30's, coupled with weight gain-- my doctor called it getting old)

    So I'd say stretch more and ride a little softer for a week or two and see how you feel. Whatever you do, don't stop riding! Once a back problem gets off the bike, it's tough to get back on.
     
  12. doctorbph

    doctorbph New Member

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    [email protected]

    Where in So.Cal are you? I am going to be in Huntington for 12 days and riding every day on PCH, b/w Long Beach and Laguna.

    Usually join up with larger groups so maybe you'll be out there.

    take care
     
  13. need11@46

    [email protected] New Member

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    Doc: I'm up in the San Gabriel Valley. Thanks for your invite. Unfortunately:

    1. I work 70+ hours a week, every week.
    2. I am nowhere near in shape for a group ride. I'm very happy, at my age (46), to get in a 20 mile ride in less than 1:15. Saturdays and Sundays only for now. I know; excuses, excuses.

    Depending on when you come out (entire month of June), you may encounter our dreaded “June Gloom." After the 4th of July, the temperature usually jumps dramatically. If you stay along the coast, you should be fine, but AM's are usually socked-in. Your route is a great one, but beware of So Cal traffic. Most motorists could give a &*^# about cyclists. Regards,

    -Wm.
     
  14. need11@46

    [email protected] New Member

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    Try "supermans." Face down, arms straight out; raise each leg separately, hold for as long as you can; then both legs in tandem. 3 sets. I agree it's painful, but if you stick with it and add the abdominals, it should make a difference.

    Thanks for the tip on the bar height. I may try this, as I've yet to cut the fork tube on my bikes (one, last spacer at the top...). Regards,

    -Wm.
     
  15. tafi

    tafi Member

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    I've just had some insane back pain on the weekend.
    Did the 165km Muswellbrook explorer race. I performed well until the pain (which had been building since km 50) bacame too much to bear and I had to fall away from the front group.

    If there are any other sugestions or solutions to this problem it would be great to read about them cos this is an insidious problem which ruins many a long race for me (ironic since I get better the longer a race goes) and I am sure for many others too.

    In my case it may be slightly complicated by the fact that I suffer spondylolisthesis (where one vertebra has slipped forward of the rest of the spinal column.
     
  16. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Back pain really can take the fun out of a long event.

    Agree the "supermans" are another good strength builder, but, like straight-leg raises, they are tough and take a while to get used to. Starting with bent-leg raises would be better for many, along with the crunches, good mornings, and a good stretch routine. Taking it easy, and being consistent, is the key for us old guys. The daily core routine shouldn't be hard, painful, or add more stress to the back. I didn't get instant results, but after a couple of months my back is much better, to the point most rides are totally pain-free now.
     
  17. need11@46

    [email protected] New Member

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    dkh: Good points. It does take awhile for the exercises to show benefits. I forgot about that. And one must keep it up. The more you do (over time), the better you'll feel. Don't overdo it. Begin with a modest effort, and increase slowly to avoid further pain.
     
  18. doctorbph

    doctorbph New Member

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    Tafi

    Well believe it or not for everyone who has responded with great advice for me, I am a spine specialist, a chiropractor, and yes we too have problems. I have done everything that was suggested and have been under chiropractic care from a very young age. The unfortunate thing is the cycling position is by far, NOT ideal for the human spine. I know, I say it too, take the good with the bad and it won't make me get off the bike. But Tafi, a good chiropractor can help you with your spondylolithesis as long as he/she is manipulating the vertebra below, NOT the affected one, which would make it worse.

    THanks for the advice and good luck.
     
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