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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wondering if you all have suggestions for how I can get rid of the lower back pain I've started to experience more and more-- seems more severe on long climbs (or maybe just long rides.)

I've seen other posts on this that suggest doing abdominal excercises to strenthen the back but I've got a nice set of abs, if I might say so myself, so I'm not sure that's the solution. I do my fair share of sit-ups.

Any thoughts about female seat positioning and/or other adjustments that might help?

Thanks~
Shiloh
 

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Not because I'm fast.....
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A few tips

The Law said:
Wondering if you all have suggestions for how I can get rid of the lower back pain I've started to experience more and more-- seems more severe on long climbs (or maybe just long rides.)

I've seen other posts on this that suggest doing abdominal excercises to strenthen the back but I've got a nice set of abs, if I might say so myself, so I'm not sure that's the solution. I do my fair share of sit-ups.

Any thoughts about female seat positioning and/or other adjustments that might help?

Thanks~
Shiloh
Check your cockpit set up on your bike. Sometimes if your bike's cockpit is too small/cramped or too stretched out it can cause low back pain. Lots of stretching can do wonders in addition to your ab workouts. Hope you find a solution, because I have suffered with it before and it's no fun. Good luck.
 

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More riding?

The Law said:
Wondering if you all have suggestions for how I can get rid of the lower back pain I've started to experience more and more-- seems more severe on long climbs (or maybe just long rides.)

I've seen other posts on this that suggest doing abdominal excercises to strenthen the back but I've got a nice set of abs, if I might say so myself, so I'm not sure that's the solution. I do my fair share of sit-ups.

Any thoughts about female seat positioning and/or other adjustments that might help?

Thanks~
Shiloh
I would say ride more. I ride on an average of 25 miles per ride, 3 or 4 times a week. My back never really hurts, unless I am doing a training ride and hitting it hard, or in a race. Not saying you don't ride enough, but for me it seems it only bothers me when I really work hard, so I would say working passed it would be the best way. Of course, if you ride plenty, your bike set-up is probably good.
 

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The Law said:
Wondering if you all have suggestions for how I can get rid of the lower back pain I've started to experience more and more-- seems more severe on long climbs (or maybe just long rides.)

I've seen other posts on this that suggest doing abdominal excercises to strenthen the back but I've got a nice set of abs, if I might say so myself, so I'm not sure that's the solution. I do my fair share of sit-ups.

Any thoughts about female seat positioning and/or other adjustments that might help?

Thanks~
Shiloh
Stand up and pedal. I find that "most" women rarely, if ever, stand up and pedal their bikes (I'm curious why this is). By standing you recruit different muscles and are able to stretch your back out. I think this is why it's good for women to try singlespeeding, it forces them to stand and adopt a new style of riding. This is by no means a gender attack, just my observation, so please chill.
 

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As a permanent back pain sufferer,

I have swayback, a type of scholeosis(sp), and have to stretch A LOT! Stretching before and after rides seems to help as well as making sure I'm not cramped up in too tight of a cockpit on my bike. I'm supposed to do back strenghthening exercises when it gets too bad. I think one of them is called scrunchies. You lay on your back knees bent up over your body and put your hands behind your neck. Then you curl up and touch your elbows to knees. It can also be done with your legs almost straight up (the harder version). I hope this might help. Let me know if you find any other solutions. I'd love to adapt some into my style. Good luck.

Fiona
 

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2farfwd said:
Check your cockpit set up on your bike. Sometimes if your bike's cockpit is too small/cramped or too stretched out it can cause low back pain. Lots of stretching can do wonders in addition to your ab workouts. Hope you find a solution, because I have suffered with it before and it's no fun. Good luck.
Yep, I'd cast my vote with having bike fit checked. General cockpit length, stem length and possible even fore/aft saddle position should all be checked.

formica
 

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Fiona is tough

Fiona said:
I have swayback, a type of scholeosis(sp), and have to stretch A LOT! Stretching before and after rides seems to help as well as making sure I'm not cramped up in too tight of a cockpit on my bike. I'm supposed to do back strenghthening exercises when it gets too bad. I think one of them is called scrunchies. You lay on your back knees bent up over your body and put your hands behind your neck. Then you curl up and touch your elbows to knees. It can also be done with your legs almost straight up (the harder version). I hope this might help. Let me know if you find any other solutions. I'd love to adapt some into my style. Good luck.

Fiona
I am not trying to change direction of this thread, but after your post, I am inspired. Most people find reasons not to ride, mild back pain, "too old", it's too early" and there are a ton more. You are an inspiration to us all, at least to me, keep up the good work. Now, back to the subject, stretching is a huge step we all forget to take.
 

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Good suggestions so far.

Changing your position during rides to use a different set of muscles gives your back a chance to rest and stretch. Standing out of the saddle is a great way to do this. A side benefit is that you may develope this as a technique for more power in certain situations. It can be awkward at first as coordinating you peddling seems weird and balance seems strange but be patient. Start with 10 revolutions once in a while, on very easy and predictable surfaces, before you actually need to do it. Once you have confidence in this it can be very refreshing to your back.
Changing your peddling action can help, too. If you concentrate on spinning circles with your heels down your back position changes, too.
 

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As you tire..

you will roll your hips in order to maintain your power/candence and this adds stress to the lower back. Id begin by recalculating your seat height. In addition to abs you might think about working the back and obliques. Another thing that helps me is to remind myself to relax and change my climbing position on long climbs and when im feeling fatiqued. Good luck with that..

PS: and fiona is right..stretch..big time...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks!

I stretched a lot today, or more than usual, before and during our ride and didn't have any back pain. But it also wasn't a super long ride-- only about 3 hours of riding. I will definitely continue the stretching thing.

The "ride more" suggestion is an interesting one. It made me realize that due to the winter I'm not doing my 3 day/week commute to work on my road bike-- perhaps that does make a difference.

Bike fit- yes. I will do this.

More suggestions are welcome and thanks for the ones so far.
 

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The Law said:
I stretched a lot today, or more than usual, before and during our ride and didn't have any back pain. But it also wasn't a super long ride-- only about 3 hours of riding. I will definitely continue the stretching thing.

The "ride more" suggestion is an interesting one. It made me realize that due to the winter I'm not doing my 3 day/week commute to work on my road bike-- perhaps that does make a difference.

Bike fit- yes. I will do this.

More suggestions are welcome and thanks for the ones so far.
I think your headed in the right direction. Seems stretching is something we all forget at times. I hate cold weather, where do you live? A cold place? Seems wind kills me more than the cold does, so once I get tucked in the woods I am good to go, but the road rides to the trails really suck.
 

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Just a few thoughts:

For cyclists, the quads and glutes are big movers. They are also attached to the pelvis and so are the QLs or the lower back muscles (quadratus lumborum). Depending on how you ride (this is where fit is important) either of these two muscles being overly tight will create back pain. Strengthening the opposer will help neutralize pelvic position. Natural pelvic tilt for women is 5-10 degrees.

When you stretch, be sure to think about the agonists and protagonist muscles:
Quads(stretch)/Hams(strengthen)
Glutes(str)/Illiopsoas (hip flexors)(strg)
Abductors(TFL, IT band)(str)/Adductors (strg):(to a smaller degree)
QLs(str)/Abs(strg)

Streching and isolating the QLs specifically is hard. A PT or CMT should be able to help you do that.

Also, analyzing the muscles you're using can give you an idea of what other muscles you could be using. Try to think about maybe using glutes and hip flexors when climbing, pulling up with the hams and pedalling circles. Keeping your heels down will help keep your weight off of your quads constantly, so notice if you're a "toe pedaller". Try some different suggestions about fit, too, to see what might work for you. Different cockpit set up create different muscle useage.
 

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The Law said:
Wondering if you all have suggestions for how I can get rid of the lower back pain I've started to experience more and more-- seems more severe on long climbs (or maybe just long rides.)

I've seen other posts on this that suggest doing abdominal excercises to strenthen the back but I've got a nice set of abs, if I might say so myself, so I'm not sure that's the solution. I do my fair share of sit-ups.

Any thoughts about female seat positioning and/or other adjustments that might help?

Thanks~
Shiloh
Hey Shiloh, havent seen ya in a while. I was having this problem on my previous bike. When I was sized on my new Yeti all of it went away, so did the knee pain I was having for that matter. Seat and stem positioning can make as huge differance. Take your bike into a good shop and have em check out the positions, take yer shoes with you as this will help ensure proper fit. Have a great Christmas. :)

Sean
 

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same problem that my daughter had for years...then she bought a Women's specific designed bike and she no longer has a problem...she was told that these bikes are designes for people with longer legs and shorter arms...really works for her
 

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bike fit and changing positions

When I got my new bike almost a year ago, I had a professional fit to help me position the seat and pick out an appropriate stem, and all the aches and pains from rides on my old bike went away. So, I think getting a professional fit should be your first step.

However, after months of great riding on trails with my new bike, I went to Moab and did a long road-trail loop in which the first 1.5-2 hours was riding up a road to get to the trailhead. By the time I reached the trail, I had a lot of back pain. It made me realize that sitting in one position for long periods--which I don't usually do on a bike--makes me more prone to soreness. So, I'd definitely second the recommendation that you get up and move around on your bike periodically right from the start, rather than waiting 'til the pain starts.

Good luck!
 

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JM01 said:
same problem that my daughter had for years...then she bought a Women's specific designed bike and she no longer has a problem...she was told that these bikes are designes for people with longer legs and shorter arms...really works for her
not shorter arms. women generally have shorter torsos (therefore shorter reach)!! women would look awfully funny if we all had long legs and short arms. hehehehe.

rt
 

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Rivet said:
Stand up and pedal. I find that "most" women rarely, if ever, stand up and pedal their bikes (I'm curious why this is). By standing you recruit different muscles and are able to stretch your back out. I think this is why it's good for women to try singlespeeding, it forces them to stand and adopt a new style of riding. This is by no means a gender attack, just my observation, so please chill.
That's an interesting observation. When I rode my old rigid bike I used to stand fairly often... mostly for the extra power when going up hills, but also because it relieved my butt from the pounding a hardtail gives you. Now I'm riding a FS, I rarely, if ever, stand to pedal... mainly because I get insane pedal bob when I stand and it doesn't feel good. You're absolutely right about singlespeeding... whenever I ride mine I spend a good deal of time out of the saddle.

Back to the subject...(haha, no pun intended ;) ). I suffer from lower back pain occasionally. I find what help a lot is doing stretching exercises twice a day. I use a wooden board under my lower back and hips which aligns everything back where it should be after a day's work or a night's sleep. The exercises that help the most are the ones where you bend your knees and roll them from side to side, or in a circle, while keeping your pelvis on the board. It doesn't take long to do, and feels really good. I also do an exercise that sounds similar to the one Fiona described. I find that doing these twice a day keeps my back in good shape, which means fewer visits to the chiropractor.

- Jen.
 

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Hamstrings....

spend time on becoming more flexible by stretching every day. When the hams get tight, pulls on your lower back. This was the key to keeping myself on a bike for 24 hrs. 15 minutes daily working on hams and others will make a difference, guaranteed!
 
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