It’s a dreary, cold and rainy winter day here in Boston. This ugly weather leaves me dreaming of spring time temperatures and the long and glorious miles to come in my favorite sport. I’m also prepping some info for work on biking and the back and thought I would share this with my fellow CC’ers in hopes that this information keeps you healthy, happy, and most importantly…on your bike!
Bikes and Backs: Back and neck pain is very common among us cyclists. Especially among single speeders that ride a high resistance gear that increases the load on the spine and legs. As a back patient myself, I’ve had to learn to work around some limitations of my lumbar spine and ruptured discs in order to enjoy my time on the bike. The good news is that with some preventative exercise and proper positioning, we can all go on riding pain free until our hearts are content!
Think about your typical position on the bike. Your back is flexed and the neck is hyper-extended so that you can see the road in front of you. The more aggressive your position is (longer top tube length and lower handle bars) the more you will increase pressure on your lumbar spine and hyper-extend the neck. Also, your legs are repeatedly flexing at the hip for what could be hours. Having your body in this position for prolonged periods of time can cause some muscles to be overworked and tightened and opposing muscles to be stretched out and weakened. It is important to counter act this by stretching the overworked muscles and strengthening the opposing muscles to create balance. More specifically, stretch the neck, chest and hip flexors and strengthen the hamstrings, glutes, and back. Although having strength and flexibility in all areas of the core and legs will help prevent issues, here are a few exercises to try to create a more balanced body.
Renee Bousquet: B.S. Exercise Physiology, ACE Personal Trainer, FRA Pilates Instructor, Johnny G. Spin Instructor