5 useful tips for preventing back pain in cycling

Posted by tan xiao yan on

Is it common for suffering from back pain through cycling
Given the hard work of your legs on a bike, many people hold the opinion that assuming that an overuse injury strikes, the knees will easily be the most vulnerable. However, according to the research result, the conclusion of major culprit turns out to be a lower back pain but not knee pain for cyclists. Cycling is known as a low-impact sport that is usually recommended to back pain sufferers. So does back pain really often occur to cyclists because of spending long hours in the saddle?

The Norwegian scientists started an investigation among 116 professional road cyclists and analyzed the types of injuries caused by overuse over the recent years. The research demonstrates that 94% of the professional cyclists had overuse injury problem and 45% of them were suffering from back pain. Hence, attention should be paid to our waist health during cycling. There are some tips for you to better your riding method and avoid back pain.

Set up your bike right
Bike’s set-up is a vitally important element of waist health. If any aches happen during cycling, especially those aches only exist while you are right on your bike, bike’s set-up is the first point you should check. Make sure your bike is suitable for your own body organization before you start your journey. Don’t be hesitate to regulate it if you feel any uncomfortable at the begging, or things will only get worse after a few hours’ riding, with all your excitement and enthusiasm vanishing away. Normally, to fit your actual ranges of motion and limb lengths, there are at least seven crucial points you should look into, which refers to seat height, seat forwards-backwards position, foot position, saddle angle, saddle-handlebar distance handlebar width and handlebar height.
How to set your saddle height properly?
There is two popular method that is easily acquired, the Inseam measurement method and the Heel on pedal method.

Many people prefer the first version Inseam measurement method can be done at home, which is introduced by Scott Tomkinson, who has been responsible as an adviser for World Tour teams. Six simple steps below:
1.Stand your feet (without shoes) shoulder-width apart;
2.Put a ruler between your legs, and pull up a little to simulate pressure of sitting on your saddle
3.Mark the height of the ruler (use a pencil if you are at home);
4.Use a measuring tape to measure from this mark straight down to the floor(please don’t follow the line of your leg);
5.Subtract 10cm from the measurement. For instance, if your inseam leg is 75 cm long, minus 10cm and take your initial saddle height as 65 cm.
6.Apply the initial saddle height to regulate your bike from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle (placed in the middle of the rails)

The second version, the Heel on Pedal Method, has been applied for years and trusted by generations of cyclists. Only 4 steps:
1.Ensure the bike is straight. You can sit on the bike with it stuck to a turbo trainer, or hold onto a wall;
2.Put your heel on the pedal at about 6’oclock position;
3.Your leg should be completely straight with your foot;
4.If your knee is bent, the saddle should be pulled up; If your hips tilt or move at all while your heel is on the pedal, the saddle needs to be lower.

In spite of those mentioned above, it’s vital to position your seat fore-and-aft right. A saddle that is too backward might cause the quads to have to over-stretch, while being too forward may tighten the hip flexors.

Take extra exercise to prepare for your riding.
According to one study, scientists illustrated that when cyclists pedaled to exhaustion, their hamstrings and calf muscles became progressively more fatigued. Surprisingly, however, this fatigue seemed to produce unexpected influences in muscle movement patterns, which even affected the back. As cyclists getting more and more tired, their postures are getting worse and away from the standard, hence stress their back more, which becomes a vicious cycle.
Here we recommend three types of exercise to strengthen your surrounding muscles before your ride: the founder, the woodpecker, the plank. The founder aims in to activate your muscle by working the entire posterior chain; the woodpecker works your deep gluteal muscle fibers in advance; and the plank, help you engaged your core muscles.

How your riding style relate to your back pain?

Not everyone knows that riding style could cause lower back pain. Lower back pain may occur to cyclists who push big gears, especially when they are climbing. Then relation between the angle of your back and the bike becomes the key to increase or decrease the strain on your back.

Unless you are a well-built professional cyclist, your rear end should be planted on your saddle during most of your climbing. It would cost 5 percent extra energy if you stand during a climb rather than sitting. Try to transform your weight slightly into maximum leverage on the pedals. Stand only when your body needs a break or when you have to jump and accelerate to attack or chase. When you have to stand, keep your butt back so the nose of your saddle brushes the backs of your thighs and your weight is over the crank. Resting your weight too far forward might cause you to overweight the front tire and lose traction in the back.