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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gday,

I'm reasonably new to road cycling and whenever I ride for longer than an hour I start experiencing tightness/pain in my lower back.

Is this common in cycling?

I’m guessing it’s a core stability issue as I’ve had lower back problems before.

What’re some good exercises to help strengthen my lower back/core?

Are there any other remedies that people have used?
 

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Core building

LOOKFTW said:
I'm reasonably new to road cycling and whenever I ride for longer than an hour I start experiencing tightness/pain in my lower back.

Is this common in cycling?

I’m guessing it’s a core stability issue as I’ve had lower back problems before.

What’re some good exercises to help strengthen my lower back/core?

Are there any other remedies that people have used?
Typical core builders would be crunches, especially where you reach across to the opposite side, and the "superman" where you lay on your stomach and "lfit and hold" your upper body and legs off the floor. Another good back pain exercise is to lay on your back and try to press the small of your back into the floor.

You can also do some on-bike stretches and twists to work out the kinks.

Finally, it may just be something that takes some time and adaptation.
 

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I have two severely degenerated disks in my lower spine, that at several points in time had me nearly incapacitated, walking with a limp (and lots of pain), getting epidural steroid shots, and considering surgery. Complications of chronic pain presented.

Physical therapy, core strength, and a slow but steady increase in activity made a WORLD of difference.

2 years ago I sold my bike because I thought I could never ride again. I couldn't even sit in a chair for 15 minutes without pain.

Now I'm riding 100 miles a week. PAIN FREE.

I still can't believe it.
 

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These are GREAT exercises for building CORE strength and helping back pain as you get stronger. I am not a doctor and would suggest you start easy; stop if you feel a lot of pain. I do these with my personal trainer and they have helped tremendously with pain.


http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1243489102?bclid=1497991481&bctid=1368763974


This is video on "Building Better Knees" also great exercises

http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-241-285--11555-0,00.html


There are about 12 great videos on this site and please don't tar-n-feather me for referencing a running site. I still love to run and now love to bike too.

:thumbsup:
 

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Swiss Ball

I had problems with my lower back, not from cycling, but from walking. What helped me was the Swiss Ball. I still use it every other day to keep my core strong. If you are interested in using one, make sure you get good instruction in how to use it. I really like the dvd's by Adam Ford, they helped me a lot.
 

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Meow!
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My lower back pain when I bike is typically caused by tight hamstrings. You might try stretching them, especially midride, to see if that helps.
 

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the first to responses are spot on.

verify you've got a good fit, then work the core. Remember you're in virtually the same position for quite some time. Most of us get stiff sitting to watch a movie and that is a bit more comfortable then being on a bike.

I'd really recommend doing yoga. Power Yoga is a great one. You'll find muscles you didn't know you had and it will teach you great methods of streching (you are streching right?)

Also, move while you're on the bike. Give your shoulders an ocassional twist, move your hands to diffrent positions, drop a heal and stretch out the calf. Doing something diffrent for a moment makes several hour rides easier on the body.

Another important on bike thing to do is RELAX. Stiff shoulders and core don't help the problem. minimize the strain on parts that aren't doing the pedaling!
 

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In my experience, I have found that many people that have a too low saddle height and or a too short saddle to handlebar setup will often experience low back pain. As you compensate for poor position, often the lower back is curved excessively to meet the saddle. Often this transfers a lot of road vibrations straight up through the lower back. I would really back up what everyone is saying regarding positioning, and strengthening core is fantastic advice assuming your positioning is correct first.
 

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the only time I have felt lower back pain is when I have not stretched enough..you need to stretch your hamstrings out a lot (not just 5th grade gym class stretching before dodge ball stretching either). Talking about real effort stretching. If you aren't tired after stretching, you haven't accomplished anything. A year ago, I could barely touch my toes, now I can almost touch my forhead to my knees....if you are not progressing, you are not stretching.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thanks for all the feedback guys!

i actually did tear my left hamstring a few months ago, i would have never thought that tight hamstrings would contribute to lower back issues, makes a lot of sense though.

ill start working on my flexibility and core tonight! ive got a good list of exercises to start doing. i might invest in a swiss ball as well. sounds like its worth moving my seat further back from my handle bars too.

with training your core, is it something you can do every day? or is it better to do every couple of days to allow for recovery?
 

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Meow!
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LOOKFTW said:
thanks for all the feedback guys!

i actually did tear my left hamstring a few months ago, i would have never thought that tight hamstrings would contribute to lower back issues, makes a lot of sense though.

ill start working on my flexibility and core tonight! ive got a good list of exercises to start doing. i might invest in a swiss ball as well. sounds like its worth moving my seat further back from my handle bars too.

with training your core, is it something you can do every day? or is it better to do every couple of days to allow for recovery?
Instead of moving your seat back, I'd suggest instead that you invest in a professional fitting. The fore/aft position of your saddle has more to do with the proper placement of your knee over your pedal spindle. In contrast, reach (and the back issues that go along with it) is dictated and/or manipulated by the length of your top tube, the length and rise of your stem, the height and design of your bars, etc. While some people can be comfortable on a bike without having everything "just so," others (me included) benefit from having a professional fitting.
 

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DON'T mess with your saddle position...have someone look at it. I made the mistake of adjusting mine and resulted in a pulled muscle....biking is about mm and grams. 1/2" saddle adjustment in the wrong direction can have BIG negative results.
 

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Meow!
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John Nelson said:
You said that you are fairly new to road cycling. Although all of the previous advice is excellent, many people new to the sport experience lower back pain on long rides and it goes away by itself with time and more riding.
True. I don't need to stretch as religiously as I once do--at least mid season. At the beginning of each season, however, I ususally experience some extra tightness and/or aches and pains. So while you may utlimately adapt, it still would be worth your while to learn some effective stretches and to strengthen your core. I have a regular yoga practice that helps me work out most of my kinks. I recommend it highly.
 
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