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Hi all. I was wondering if any of you could help me with this. Turns out that after about 4 miles of riding and/or racing my 17.5" Medium Trek Top Fuel 98, my lower back muscles start to burn. Needless to say, by the end of a race, I am in pretty bad shape.

I am 5'10" and got fitted on this bike about a year ago but this back issue is killing me. Any suggestions? What typically causes back pain when riding/racing? Frame too small? Seat too high? Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!

Thanks!
Rich
 

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Like catnip for people
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I've had a pretty bad back since childhood... Not sure the cause, but I always get a really killer lower back ache when I'm doing hills... I'm 5'10 and ride a medium, I have no idea if it could be related to frame size, etc! would be interesting to hear...
 

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vegan cyclocross disco
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lift weights to strength the upper and lower back and do crunchs/sit ups to strengthen the abs.
 

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Topeak-Ergon Racing
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Bluemaxx said:
Hi all. I was wondering if any of you could help me with this. Turns out that after about 4 miles of riding and/or racing my 17.5" Medium Trek Top Fuel 98, my lower back muscles start to burn. Needless to say, by the end of a race, I am in pretty bad shape.

I am 5'10" and got fitted on this bike about a year ago but this back issue is killing me. Any suggestions? What typically causes back pain when riding/racing? Frame too small? Seat too high? Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!

Thanks!
Rich
I would suspect the fit. A weak core may be the culprit, but if you are having issues just 4 miles in you may be in a position that is causing undue stress on your low back. I'd suggest discussing this with whoever fit you a year ago or look to another fitter.

Eddie O
 

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chips & bier
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Agreed. I had problems with my back for several years. Most likely it's one of two things:

1. You're overstraining the lower back muscles because you're position is to stretched out.
2. You're overusing the lower back muscles because you're sitting too upright.

Both points could be a combo of frame size (TT length), stem size, saddle height, saddle fore-aft position, and so on. All of these dimensions affect how your upper body is oriented when you're pedaling.

I actually ride a pretty small and short frame (18", though I'm a hair over 6'), but since I use a 1" setback post and a silly long stem (120 mm) I can get away with it. At one time I rode the same frame with a straight post and a riser bar, and my back was killing me after about an hour.

One thing that aggravates lower back pain (or in this case maybe lower back muscle fatigue) is a low cadence. I learned to spin more on the climbs, which postponed the pain for about half an our. In the end, though, getting more stretched out was what did it for me.
 

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I had the same problem. I've strengthened my core and increased my flexibility through regular stretching and it is pretty much gone. Make sure you work your transverse abs (the thrusting muscles) as well as abs and lower back. Also, stretching regularly will increase flexibility and may help your problem.
 

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Here's one way to test it. When I go out for an easy ride with my brother, even though it's a 2 hour ride, my lower back never hurts.

When I race, going at a much faster pace, my lower back hurts so bad Iv'e had to get off the bike to stretch it out. This may be only after a couple of miles. Much quicker than the 2 hour ride I do with my brother.

For me, it's weak core muscles (abs and lower back) and the fact that once the muscles get tired my pedaling becomes very sloppy causing even more problems.
 

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Shiva said:
Here's one way to test it. When I go out for an easy ride with my brother, even though it's a 2 hour ride, my lower back never hurts.

When I race, going at a much faster pace, my lower back hurts so bad Iv'e had to get off the bike to stretch it out. This may be only after a couple of miles. Much quicker than the 2 hour ride I do with my brother.

For me, it's weak core muscles (abs and lower back) and the fact that once the muscles get tired my pedaling becomes very sloppy causing even more problems.
I too have bad back pain when I am racing. My back is fine when I am training on both my road and mountain bikes (I only have one mountain bike used for training and racing), even on the harder rides. I have been diligently working on my core for the past 2 years, and feel that I have reached a point where there is little else I can do with that. I stretch every night and am extremely flexible. Like I said, when I am training, I am fine, but when I start racing, I am in pain very quickly. Last season I raced 2 bikes. One had a shorter reach and lower position, the other had a longer reach. I really don't know what else to do to relieve my pain.
 

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Lower back pain is something I've lived with pretty much ever since I started riding mountain bikes in the early 90's. The *only* solution that I've found that actually works is a very dedicated stretching routine. Morning and night, 10-15 minutes of leg/back stretches as prescribed by a sports therapist.

Of course stretching won't do you any good if your bike doesn't fit properly.
 
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