lower back pain on hill climbs?



blueduckxx

New Member
Nov 19, 2011
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Yesterday was my first official big hill climb [Old La Honda in California], i've never had lower back pain from cycling before, but during the climb I sure did.
I've been fitted for my bike: https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/263256_10150265682037182_500427181_7880620_4173078_n.jpg

so could it be from improper posture? I did all my research before the climb and sat back in the saddle.
I have a good core I think, I do abs workouts a lot.

what lower back exercises/strethces are good?
any insight or tips wold be awesome, thanks!!

Also, I just started riding in August, so I am not a complete newb ;]
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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As mentioned above, a lower gear/higher cadence will help. Also, you should periodically stand and pedal. That will engage some different muscles and could provide a bit of respite for others. Also, easing up the pace a bit could be helpful.
 

blueduckxx

New Member
Nov 19, 2011
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problem is, I WAS on the lowest gear possible. hmph. I think just changing my posture wouldve helped, except I have no clue what I was doing wrong hah. I know that holding the handlebar is the most comfortable for me on severe inclines, holding the hoods I dont feel comfortable with.

Originally Posted by alienator .

As mentioned above, a lower gear/higher cadence will help. Also, you should periodically stand and pedal. That will engage some different muscles and could provide a bit of respite for others. Also, easing up the pace a bit could be helpful.




Originally Posted by jpr95 .

Lower gear, higher cadence.
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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Originally Posted by blueduckxx .

The problem is, I was already on the lowest gear.
Then you either need to back off the pace to something slower that allows you to ride without the back pain, or you need to improve your conditioning to the point that a ride up Old La Honda doesn't hurt your back. The last thing you want to do is injure your back, and if you do suffer some back injury on a ride, stretching when you get home won't fix that. Do you have a history of back pain or back issues? If so, you may want to consult your doc, and even if not, you may want to consult your doc.

Also note that it doesn't cost a lot of money to change the cassette to something with lower gears. What is your lowest gear (smallest chainring and largest cassette cog, both in terms of # of teeth)?
 

danfoz

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2011
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IME fitwise the two things that can contribute to back pain are saddle to far back or bars to low, both of which can cause the glutes to engage a bit more than their partner cycling muscles and translate to lower back stress. Looking at the picture of your bike, if you are setup comfortably, the bike doesn't look to be too big, and you certainly don't look to be too low. I'm going to go with the fitness/cadence thing. Even if in decent shape, longer climbs really do tax the musculature considerably more, especially when caught overgeared and excessive body torquing is needed to make the ascent.

Stretches that engage the glutes, piriformis, and hamstrings can all help with lower back issues. Basic ab work like planks are a great start at core strengthening (forget the crunches). When you get off the bike put an ice pack on the lower back for 1[SIZE= 11pt]5[/SIZE] minutes to bring any inflamation down - heat can sometimes make this worse.

Back pain can have different causes for different folks. In my case if I do not keep my pirfiformis loose, I can expect to have lower back spasms on the way: http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=yfp-t-435-s&va=piriformis+stretch
 

dhk2

Active Member
Aug 8, 2006
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As Alienator said, it's important to avoid lower back injury. You're in your first year of riding; you certainly don't need to develop a chronic pain condition now. Suggest you want gears that will allow you to maintain around 65-70 rpm for seated climbing. Forget the old theory of "big gears make you stronger"; you won't get stronger with a chronic lower back injury that keeps you away from cimbing. Having proper gears will make the steep stuff easier on lower back, knees, and even on the bike.

If you're down to 4 mph or less on the steep stuff, lowest available road gears may not be enough to allow for that 65 rpm cadence. At low cadence, suggest you slide forward on the saddle, grab the bars near the stem to allow you to sit up as much as possible as you mash the pedals. Easier still on the back would be climb out of the saddle. Standing climbing can be pretty efficient at low cadence, almost like walking up the stairs. You'll breather harder standing, but that's just good aerobic training. Take the steep climbs in small doses until you're over your back pain issues.

The above sounds "prescriptive", but it's only based on my experience. Because a lot of us have dealt with lower back pain from climbing, you may get different advice.

Edit: Didn't mean to ignore the need for stretching and core strength work. A coach recommended that combination to me some years ago, and after a few months I was riding pain-free. Again, ymmv.
 

An old Guy1

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Dec 11, 2011
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Originally Posted by blueduckxx .

The problem is, I was already on the lowest gear.
Pain goes away with experience. I don't think you have enough miles in to feel comfortable with a long climb. I think the typical climbs in your area ar 6% for 6 miles (2000').

Since you were in your lowest gear, I would suggest buying lower gears. I will be in Menlo Park in about a week. And will be doing the same climbs you have. I will be using a 34/30 initially.

A 34/30 and a cadance of 70 is 6mph (about 135w for me). It is a easy ride for me. A 34/22 and a cadence of 80 is 9.5mph (about 220w for me). A hard ride for me.

---

If you are not exceptionaly strong or experienced, you will be sore on standard road gears.
 

jpr95

Active Member
Oct 11, 2010
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I got a new bike this year with some much lower gearing than I had on my old bike. On my old bike, I was struggling up the steeper hills last year, even with a 34/28 (and 27" tires). So my new bike came with a triple in front, and my lowest gear is now 30/28 (on 700Cx25 tires). By mid-October this fall, I wasn't using the 30 ring in front anymore--so my lowest gearing was 39/28 because I had progressed that much this year.

All this is maintaining a 60+ RPM cadence up hills (usually 70-ish), and 85-90 RPM on flats.
 

dvnjhn

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Aug 1, 2007
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I used to suffer a lot from sholder and lower back pain. I changed my stem to a much shorter one. Problem (for me) solved.
 

PGHZISSOU

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Jun 26, 2011
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Make sure you are stretching your hamstrings, tight hamstrings can put some serious stress on your lower back.
 

Sean Mullins

New Member
Jun 5, 2012
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Lots of useful tips here. I also have issues with back pain.
As well as saddle too far back (it slipped back gradually unknown to me) I also need to tilt my pelvis forward slightly.
This seems to help a lot.
 

Pat Stowe

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Jan 3, 2012
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Cycllist tend to overdevelop their back, (and outside Quad.), muscles and having a "muscle imbalance" in the trunk and also in the thigh is fairly common.What is needed to "fix" and prevent is to exercise the muscles on the opposite side: strengthen stomach for back and hamstrings and inside quad head for thighs and lots of strechting when "warmed up" ie; during a ride and/or very shortly after, be sure NOT to "bounce" your stretches as muscles are easily torn. I have found an "inversion table to be very helpful as well. Other posts have advised changing bike fit, have an "expert" you trust check you fit before you adjust, an ill-advised change in fit can do more harm than good.
 

samspade73

New Member
May 25, 2011
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I'm a little surprised no one has suggested building up your core. I started having back pain (mainly from long car commute) but it carried over into my rides, occasionally running and competing. I had strong abs and hip flexers but had neglected lower back. I started doing core exercises (front plank, side plank and variations of planks) and no I have little to no back pain. Like clock work, if I skip doing my core workout for 2 weeks, the back pain returns.

Also, not sure what your arch is like but if you have flat feet or only a mild arch it will knock the kinetic chain out of whack from knees, up to hips and back. Orthotics cut from an image of your feet will correct this.
 

JSWin

Member
Jul 13, 2015
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Lower back pain. Could be any number of things. Right lower side could be something you ate. GMO's can cause pain in almost any part of the body. You could have pulled a muscle or strained it. If your time has increased or something your body is maybe at it's limit. Stop and stretch it out before the hill. Maybe again after the hill until you get to it and it doesn't bother you.
 

pinkride

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May 4, 2015
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Since you are quite new to this, you need to start slow. In time you will get used to it and be able to ride the way you want without any pain. Try to make any readjustments on your bike that will help you with the back pain, like the handle bars position for example.
 

Uawadall

Well-Known Member
Jun 14, 2015
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Since you are quite new to this, you need to start slow. In time you will get used to it and be able to ride the way you want without any pain. Try to make any readjustments on your bike that will help you with the back pain, like the handle bars position for example.

Warning, when you see the twister JSwin profile, you are more than likely answering a really old post. This post is 5 years old...The OP is no longer a "new rider"...