back pain after long rides
Yes, another back pain thread ...I almost feel bad asking because some of you guys are in a lot of pain ...get well soon!
I only get low back pain after about 3 hours of riding. Its not a sharp pain, but a kind of persistent, dull pain. I usually does not cause me to stop, but it does slow me down a bit. If I do stop, the pain goes away within a minute or two and the relief last for up to ten minutes once I start riding again. What causes that? Is there something I should be doing whilst riding to prevent this? I do stretch around a bit from time to time, but I usually don't think about it until I'm about 2 hours in to it. I don't normally stretch before riding ...maybe that's it.
Me? 43 year old. I've raced bikes on and off (mostly on) since I was 20. I'm 5'10'' 160lbs. I do yoga 1-3 times a week and I do a 20 minute core workout 2-4 times a week.
Alot of folks will give alot of diff opinions on this.
My opinion - and that of my pyhs therapy friends and my massage therapist is this:
****Tight hamstrings AND quads. I started stretching religiously on a daily basis and it largely disapeared. A muscle worked hard will tighten and shorten - shortening pulls on other muscles...in this case it's usually the lower back muscles and connective tissue.
Core strength : your core "breaks down" in the ride and you have nothing to brace against except an already fatigued back. Weighted situps, planks, back extensions and kettlebell swings.......forget crunches, IMHO they are useless for mtb. Pick exercises that mimick mtb - bracing and resistance to a "high" force with hip displacement.
Hamstrings are weak and aren't sharing the load, your quads have to work even more.
You said you are doing yoga and core work.....you'd think they'd do the same as all those things above BUT if you're not concentrating on the problem areas and doing movements specific to your activity and problems, it's simply not the same.....but that's just from my experience and my .02
2 other things to consider:
Is this largely a new problem? I ask b/c it's early season and if you've been off the MTB it's not surprising. (trainer and road riding don't count IMO)
Have you changed bikes, position, saddles, cranks, stem anything major lately?
My probs were GONE until 2 weeks ago when I got a new bike.....I'm set up properly BUT I went from full rigid to 120mm front sus and I'm thinking my back's not used to the up and down/compress and rebound of almost 5"of the bars and thus my trunk....I'm actually doing more bracing/resisting than w/ full rigid....sounds weird I know.
Keep us posted as to what you find works....this is a common problem and I'm always looking for a better, more time efficient way.
Sorry for the novel I just penned!!!
Great response. I did forget to mention that this is not a recent thing, but something that has sort of built up over the years.
Originally Posted by gsomtb
I'm pretty religious about bike set up ...then again it may be too much of that ole time religion ...I'm still setting up the bike like I did in the early 1990s and I'm sure my strengths and weakness (as well as my spinal column) have changed since then. That's a cheap and easy thing to validate ...often over looked though.
I do just a little bit of quad work every few weeks ...right after a rest phase. I also focus on a pure spin (on the trainer) a few time during every cycle.
The abs class (free, at lunch where i work) I go to is pretty focused on the dynamic stuff ...although I did mention to the instructor that most folks are in training to sit in a chair all day so we could use more static. I try to throw in a few planks before in after, but it does seem a bit like showboating ...I guess I need to just get over that. Now, if they would just add a 10 minute back class...
I'm a big fan of the following routine:
Like you alluded to, the role of the core in riding is to form a stable platform, so things like planks etc are probably the most effective. I've had all sorts of back problems over the past couple of years and spent this winter doing the above routine. First ride of the season, cranking hard through some tough conditions...zero problems. None at all. Also, at the very minimum, I will do the cat/camel and yoga twist stretches a couple of times a day. I would definitely recommend something like this prior to each ride as well.
Little changes in your cockpit setup could make a big difference with back pain. I used the same overall position starting back in high school and slowly lost a bit of flexibility. It wasn't until recently that I changed my "omg racerz stretch" setup for a slightly more upright position by using a shorter stem and a few headset spacers. Anyone else buy a long Control Tech stem with a silly amount of negative rise in the 90s? While I may have lost some sort of placebo aero factor, I gained comfort and the ability to ride and race longer without back discomfort, and hence got faster.