“Have you been experiencing lower back pain from cycling?” It is a common injury in cycling that is hardly discussed.
Most cyclists experience pain or stiffness in the lower back due to unnatural, hunched over, and forward positions. What you might not realize is that most of these injuries are due to muscle imbalances which are easily preventable.
As for extreme pain or injury such as herniated disc or strained muscle, cyclists should seek help from healthcare professionals to prevent further irritation.
We hope to educate you with these five fixes to help you prevent lower back pain or to stay pain-free on the bike so you will be able to enjoy your rides.
1. Check your position
Most of the common back pain issues on bikes are often due to a poor bike fit, thus, try checking your riding position. Here are a few simple ways to check and fix your bike fit yourself.
Firstly, check your saddle, a saddle that is too high will cause your hips to rock side to side when you pedal, leading to lower back pain when you ride. To fix it, you should have a slight bend in the knee at the bottom dead center of the pedal stroke. If your leg is completely straight, lower the seat to have a 23-35 degree of knee flexion.
Next, if your handlebar is too far away, it can cause a stretched-out position that may put too much strain on your lower back. Hence, try shortening your stem and raising your handlebars with spacers.
However, if you are a beginner cyclist, it is best to get a bike fit from a professional.
Image via : Bicycling
2. Try a higher cadence
Try to avoid using big gears for too long, you could be overworking your muscles, including those in the lower back and hips. Once it reaches fatigue, it will result in stiffness and pain on the bike.
To fix this problem, use a higher cadence. For instance, try riding 90rpm or higher instead of riding in the 65-80 rpm range.
Also, make sure to change your position on the bike once in a while from sitting to standing to keep your lower back muscle from getting stiff.
Image via : MapMyRun
3. Strengthen core
The reason to lower back pain is due to a weak core, as your body is forced to use your lower body to compensate during the pedaling motion.
By strengthening your core, you’ll rely less on your lower back, making it easier to tolerate the forward position on the bike.
Try exercises such as planks, lunges, stability ball crunches, ball pushups, and pikes to strengthen your core, it helps to decrease your pain and improve your riding speed.
Image via : BikesReviewed
4. Improve your mobility
Essentially, if you ride regularly, try to make it a habit to foam roll and stretch your body a few times per day, especially right after you get off the bike.
Adding stretching into your routine will improve your overall flexibility and reduce lower back pain on the bike.
5. Increase your mileage slowly
Lastly, keep in mind to not increase your mileage too fast as it could lead to pain and injury. As your body isn’t conditioned to handle the sudden stress of the activity.
Allow your body to adapt to the increased time spent riding and gradually increasing mileage, try not to increase your mileage more than 20% per week.
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