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lower back pain(15 posts)

lower back painpaulw
Mar 29, 2003 5:47 AM
My lower back has never been great but it's preventing me from going on rides longer than about 30 or 40 miles. My stem is a TTT Forgie 110 which I have flipped. I'm thinking of getting a different stem that will bring the bars up just a little higher.

Does anyone have any other advice? Any stretches (this is my very lower back)? Stomach excercises?

Excercise and bike fitKerry
Mar 29, 2003 7:24 AM
You give no information about your body measurements, frame size/geometry, or saddle/bar position, so that leaves us only to work on your body. Two great exercises for strengthening the back are the superman (lie on stomach, lift arms and legs, hold, relax. Repeat in sets of 10 as you can comfortably tolerate). The other is to lie on your back and try to press the small of your back into the floor. Repeat in sets of 10 as above. Slow, twisting stretches and reach stretching (legs in spread eagle, reach for opposite toe with arm). You should also consider doing on-bike stretching while riding or taking short stretch breaks every hour. Talk more about how your bike is set up and you'll get some advice on that.
re: abdominals...WCC
Mar 29, 2003 8:32 AM
..contrary to what we(at least I)all have thought, and been taught; abdominal muscles have a minimal role in back support when riding a bike.(according to a recent study)

None the less I still do situps.

Kerry's exercises sound good, and of course positioning is important.
Also, try stretching the'll be amazed how much that helps. And I always forget this.

I have found that my back fairs better the more I ride; or atleast has gotten better the last few years. Yeah, its still stiff when I get off the bike after a long ride, but gets better fairly quickly.
re: abdominals...chriscpa
Mar 29, 2003 9:48 AM
My doc teach me 2 things and he got me on the bike again in 1 week after not able to walk for 2 mo.

1. Cat.
Support your body like a cat, with knees and palms. Stick you butt upward, so your back band downward. Then suck you but in, so your back band upward. repeat a few times.

lay on your stomach, and push you upper body up with Your low stomach press against the flour. If you have a wife, have her press your butt against the floor, you can stretch better. Do it ten times every hour while you are healing your back.

Trust me it works like magic.

By the way, are these yoga moves? anybody?
Stretch your hamstringsbsdc
Mar 29, 2003 10:23 AM
I agree with WCC above. Abdominals are nice to work on, but won't likely give you the relief you want. I'm a chiropractor and avid cyclist. I've worked with many cyclist with back pain. I rarely find weak muscles to be the problem with cyclists. The first thing I'd suggest is stretching your hamstrings. The second thing would be to make sure your bike is fit properly. If you are still having problems see a chiropractor, medical doctor, or physical therapist that is experienced in cycling injuries and bike fit. I have cyclist I work on bring their bike to the office. If the professional you work with doesn't have you do that, they don't know what they are doing.
re: lower back paingtx
Mar 29, 2003 10:49 AM
if you have chronic back pain, check this out

for a great stretching program, check this out (hoping the next edition has better illustrations)
saddle height...C-40
Mar 29, 2003 11:35 AM
I experienced lower back pain when I rode with my saddle too high, years ago.

Be sure that you can drop your heel 2-3cm below horizontal with your leg locked out at the bottom of the pedal stroke. This insures that the saddle is not too high.

Check out the fit info at

I'm not an expert on muscle useage, but I've been doing ab strengthening exercises for years and never have back pains when riding. I use a "ab wheel" and do hanging knee raises regularly. Maybe it doesn't help cycling, but the flat stomach sure looks good.
I have a question regarding...serbski
Mar 29, 2003 10:24 PM
the often debated saddle height topic seeing as it makes an appearance here albeit in an indirect manner. I'm still monkeying with what saddle height works best for me (I'm closer to the 2-3cm below horiz. you mention than not) but I'm curious if a higher saddle position can be applicable in some instances. I ask because of the myriad of different schools of thought on this and the fact that each one usually has some theoretical and empirical evidence to support it. Of course when out riding one sees about every possible permutation of saddle height possible and I wondered if in some cases more leg extension is more efficient and/or more comfortable due to biomechanics etc. Just asking. Thanks.
my experience...C-40
Mar 30, 2003 6:53 AM
After riding seriously for 19 years, I'm becoming more convinced that I've been using a saddle height that was higher that optimum until recently.

The old-school idea of raising the saddle until you hips rock is the worst advice I've ever received.

The only way to know for sure is to try it. I find that raising the saddle too high reduces cadence and smoothness.
Since power = torque x cadence, the idea is to optimize torque and cadence to produce the largest average amount of power over the duration of your ride. I've received positive comments in the last year about the speed and smoothness of my pedal stroke, which I contribute to lowering my saddle. I'm also experimenting with moving the saddle back 1cm more than I usually do. So far, I've suffered no loss of cadence and my climbing is a bit better.

When experimenting with saddle fore/aft adjustments, remember to move the saddle down by 1/3 the amount that the saddle is moved back to maintain the same leg extension.

If this new position proves to be superior, then my "optimum" seat tube angle will change by 1 degree.
i'm on the same boat.colker
Mar 30, 2003 8:15 AM
i'm lowering th saddle, moving it back. feel the the bike becoming small and stems tend to feel short.
Do you notice any knee problems?paulw
Mar 30, 2003 3:59 PM
I find if my saddle is too low, I get a bit of knee pain.
Thanks everybody.paulw
Mar 29, 2003 1:57 PM
As mentioned, I should have given some more detail. I'm 6'1", 180lbs and I have custom frame. I have a 36" inseam which means the frame is a 60 but the top tube is only 56.5. I'm pretty happy with the fit except that my back hurts. I also do go to a chiropractor who's very sports oriented but he's a runner, not a serious cyclist. He definitely improves the situation but doesn't cure it.

I'm going to try a combination of what's been mentioned here and hopefully that helps. I'll probably do some stomach exercises also even if it's probably not the cause.
re: lower back painridingthegyro
Mar 29, 2003 2:10 PM
My lower back has been bothering me for some time. In my case, it happens after about an hour of riding. I've tried the exercises and changing the setup, but my pain remains. My latest attempt is to follow the recommendation by John Cobb (the aerodynamics guru) on how to properly sit on a bicycle. He states that "...most riders sit on their seats like they sit in a chair, then they bend forward at the waist. The proper way to sit is slide back on the seat and roll forward on the front part of your crotch. This should rotate your pelvis bone forward and down. None of this can usually be done comfortably unless you rotate your seat a little bit to the right or left side of the bike." There are articles at that explains this in more detail. I've rotated the seats on all of my bikes 5 degrees clockwise. When the weather clears up, I intend to try this new way of sitting.
That's interesting.paulw
Mar 29, 2003 3:48 PM
One of the things I found that really aggravates my back is to have the nose of the seat pointed up. Having it pointed a bit down is much better though it obviously isn't a complete fix.
nose pointed down may lead to other problemsFez
Mar 29, 2003 8:40 PM
you should be supported on you sit bones. nose pointed down may result in not being fully supported at the sit bones and you may get pain or numbness in some places you'd rather not.

if that's not enough, having a nose pointed down may result in more weight being shifted on your hands, resulting in sore hands, arms and/or shoulders.

keep the saddle level if possible.