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  1. #1
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    Sore/stiff lower back while racing (or even just regular/longer rides)

    hey all - doing a race in a couple days, and just thought i'd take a shot. My low back always gets stiff/sore during ride/race. Makes for an already somewhat uncomfortable endeavor even more harsh

    anyone have this and doing anything effective? ie advil before? (i never use ibupro, so i have no idea)....rub icy hot/ben gay on before?

    thanks for any tips.

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    Re: Sore/stiff lower back while racing (or even just regular/longer rides)

    Quote Originally Posted by starry View Post
    hey all - doing a race in a couple days, and just thought i'd take a shot. My low back always gets stiff/sore during ride/race. Makes for an already somewhat uncomfortable endeavor even more harsh

    anyone have this and doing anything effective? ie advil before? (i never use ibupro, so i have no idea)....rub icy hot/ben gay on before?

    thanks for any tips.
    Is your core strong and your flexibility good? These two things have helped me. In addition, I found that standing more in the beginning of a race or ride a bit helps getting things loose.
    I am immune to your disdain.

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    thanks....yeah, that's the thing - I do core and upper body weight work, and i do work on my lower back with things like bridge poses, etc.

    i like the standing comment...good idea.

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    Re: Sore/stiff lower back while racing (or even just regular/longer rides)

    Quote Originally Posted by starry View Post
    thanks....yeah, that's the thing - I do core and upper body weight work, and i do work on my lower back with things like bridge poses, etc.

    i like the standing comment...good idea.
    Do you have a foam roller? Rolling out the hamstrings before riding can help as well. Rolling the tensor fasciae latae can help too. I probably spelled that wrong...
    I am immune to your disdain.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by starry View Post
    hey all - doing a race in a couple days, and just thought i'd take a shot. My low back always gets stiff/sore during ride/race. Makes for an already somewhat uncomfortable endeavor even more harsh

    anyone have this and doing anything effective? ie advil before? (i never use ibupro, so i have no idea)....rub icy hot/ben gay on before?

    thanks for any tips.
    I've had back problems too. Had success this year with flexibility (notably working the hamstrings).

    The second this is a stretch halfway through the warm-up. I certainly notice this when I don't do it.

  6. #6
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    Make sure your bike fits. Ask an expert.
    Lose fat, get a stronger core.
    Try a seatpost that's designed to flex.
    Don't do any drugs/use any creams. Your body is telling you you're doing something wrong. Listen to it and fix the problem.

    ... go easy with that foam roller ...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    I've had back problems too. Had success this year with flexibility (notably working the hamstrings).

    The second this is a stretch halfway through the warm-up. I certainly notice this when I don't do it.
    +1 on hamstring stretches. Doing them got rid of most of my lower back soreness.
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    I had real lower back ache half way through a 6hr race a couple of years ago. Stopped and took an Ibuprofen and that made an amazing difference. I don't think it's a good idea to make a habit of it but it really did help, so now I keep one around just in case.

    Otherwise, as above, I've found core strengthening, hamstring stretches etc. help. Also getting used to pushing hard gears up steep climbs, as that's when your back is working hard. If you use a camelbak, maybe try to lighten it a bit.

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    Do you ride with your back curved? Ideally you would rotate your hips forward, and keep your back straight. Not everyone has this much hip flexibility. If you cannot reach your bars comfortably with your back straight, perhaps you would benefit from a shorter/higher stem or improve your flexibility (hamstrings, etc).

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    Sore/stiff lower back while racing (or even just regular/longer rides)

    I agree that bike fit and core strength are pivotal. In fact both fixed issues I've had recently. I never got a true bike fit yet, but adjusted myself to fix reach, etc. I have a bike that's fairly new to me, and the day after my first race on it a few weeks ago my back had a huge spasm. Even during the race I felt stress on the back.

    The sudden spasm was painful and kept me off the bike for a week, but I knew it was because of the stress the day before . So I decided that I was going to be active in trying to get back in riding shape and not just 'rest it off'. I started with some stretches and core work, but what really made things fall into place was a book called Core Advantage.http://http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d...dir_mdp_mobile

    It addresses imbalances caused by cycling, and it sounds corny but it was an almost instant reset on the back. Then when I got out for a ride last week, I felt strong but towards the end my back was feeling a bit of stress still, especially on seated climbs. Perhaps counterintuitive, but I recalled that in the past for me whenever my back was tightening I was too cramped in the cockpit. So I moved the stack down by flipping the stem, and it worked like a charm, even on a 30+ mile ride.

    So I know you may be reaching too far and that could cause issues, but also consider perhaps that your cockpit may be too cramped. It was my issue for sure. Bottom line though - bike fit and core.

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    For me after doing a long warm up (about 45mins), instead of standing around on the start line nervously chatting, I do stretches, especially hamstring stretches. Probably look a bit of a pillock but saves a whole world of pain after the start.

  12. #12
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    bike fit + the other recommendations
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  13. #13
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    Move your seat forward at least 2 mm and upto 5mm. I honestly don't buy that it's your core. It's much more likely bike fit and I'm relatively confident you'll find it's your saddle too far back. At least that's what gets me. I get a majorly sore back with it going back just 2mm. Mine recently slipped back about 3-5mm and I had major trouble getting my shoes off after the ride and it took me a week to recover. I've done 24 hour races and covered 130 miles on my bike without major back issues, but 1.5 hours of hard riding with my saddle slid back is debilitating!

    BTW, if you raise your seat it also moves it back due to the seat tube angle.

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    Sore/stiff lower back while racing (or even just regular/longer rides)

    Glute work is the key to a happy back for a rider. Sitting all day shortens hip flexors then you get on a bike and shorten them even more.

    Glute work can help this. Deadlifts of every variety are about the best way for a cyclist to hit their posterior chain (back half of the body) and undo most of what riding does to you. I'm not talking huge weights, I'm talking mastering the hip hinge to work the hams/glutes/low back erectors/lats/traps. The hip hinge helps a ton with maintaining proper position seated.

    Bulgarian split squats are also great because they closely mimic the angle of force production when pushing a pedal down seated.

    Breathing patterns off the bike can affect muscles on it. If you breathe incorrectly you can tighten up quite a few lower body muscles that can cause low back pain.

    Your mid back mobility is huge too. It can easily affect how the lower body performs if you don't have an adequate range of motion.

    Getting an eval from a qualified strength coach/PT is the best way to go to get your back sorted out. It will also help you find out where any muscle imbalances/altered length/tension relationships may exist.

    As far as training resources go, by far the best books on training published at the moment is "The New Rules of Lifting" book series. IMHO the authors get training more than most and the quality of info shows it.

    "Maximum Strength" by Eric Cressey is another great book.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerbert View Post
    Bulgarian split squats are also great because they closely mimic the angle of force production when pushing a pedal down seated.

    Breathing patterns off the bike can affect muscles on it.
    When I watch a Bulgarian squat, my breathing pattern really gets out of whack...

    Sore/stiff lower back while racing (or even just regular/longer rides)-singlelegbulgariansplit-squat.jpg

  16. #16
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    My back used to tighten up also - so far so good this season after doing 'advanced' in link below. Also, I will pick up leg and opposing arm while doing 'planks'

    Functional Core Strength for Triathletes in 10 Minutes a*Day - Posts - TrainingPeaks Blog

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    Re: Sore/stiff lower back while racing (or even just regular/longer rides)

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    I used to get back pain on long road rides... Not sure if this applies/helps.. but here it goes...

    Alleve works ... Also I was using a hydration pack on those rides and lightening up the pack and shifting weight up towards my neck helped...

    I no longer use a hydration pack on road rides... And boy is that much better for comfort...
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    Sore/stiff lower back while racing (or even just regular/longer rides)

    Not sure if this is the same kind of problem but I get lower back pain just to the left side of my spine. When I get off the bike it spams can paralyses me momentarily. Strangely this happens when I drive for a while to.

    Would the hamstring stretches help in such a situation?

  21. #21
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    Yes.

    The hamstring muscles actually attach to your lower back, and keeping them stretched can help alleviate that pain.

    My chiro told me that if I don't do any other stretches I MUST do my hammy stretches every day.

  22. #22
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    RE: Sore/stiff lower back while racing (or even just regular/longer rides)

    What does your doc say about this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Noob7_0 View Post
    Not sure if this is the same kind of problem but I get lower back pain just to the left side of my spine. When I get off the bike it spams can paralyses me momentarily. Strangely this happens when I drive for a while to.

    Would the hamstring stretches help in such a situation?
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  23. #23
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    A friend of mine (60 yr old) does multi-day cycling tours. He swears by this product called "Wobenzym N". It's supposed to 'Support the Body's Natural Inflammation Response' with enzymes - versus anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen, aspirin, etc).

    I told a second friend of mine (also around 60) who suffered from chronic pain and aches - to the point of waking up each morning and popping advil. After 10 days of taking wobenzyn he does not wake up aching.

    I have taken it before lifting weights (hamstrings would get sore) and it helped. Ideally it is to be taken on an empty stomach at least 45m before eating. It's also available in smaller quantities than what I listed.

    Amazon.com: Wobenzym N Enteric Coated Tabs, 800-Count Bottle: Health & Personal Care

    If interested - WR304 did some research on Wobenzym in link below (dated 3-17-2013)

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  24. #24
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    I posted previously in this thread saying that hamstring stretches have helped me out a lot (and in reality the routine I do also includes a variety of lower body stretches and core strengthening). This routine has stemmed from physio done in December after a major back problem. So when I say core, I don't mean working on a 6-pack.

    Anyway, this year my back has been so much better, but occasionally I would still get minor issues. About two weeks ago, I picked up a set of Mavic carbon shoes. 3of4 of races since, I have not even noticed my back. The only one I did was the one without a proper warm-up and mid warm-up stretch (and it was cold and rainy).

    I presume this is related, the stiffness of the sole has to be engaging all the muscle systems lined up in a more positive fashion. I also moved my seat slightly forward to put myself in a more aggressive position ( maybe 1 cm).

    So just for reference, what has worked for me (and I can say, in previous years, there have been races where i was so sore I couldn't generate power).

    - Core; take elements from pilates/yoga and make a small routine that you will actually do. I spend lots of time altering between downward dog and childs pose. Learn how to engage the core associated with your lower back.

    - stretch after/during this routine. Lots of hamstrings, quads, hip flexers, gluts.

    - Stretch the night before a race, and morning of. Even if only a few minutes.

    - Warm up 15 minutes, stretch for 5 minutes, warm up 10 minutes further.

    - Carbon sole'd shoes appear to help, as is more aggressive (forward, set-up)

  25. #25
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    I'm re-reading this thread; I did a 2hour+ race on very rooty terrain with a hardtail a week and a half ago, I'm still a little sore in the sides of my back. The last half hour was becoming painful, -I'll be stepping up my 'core' exercises.

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