Lower back fatigue when standing- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Lower back fatigue when standing

    I find I stand a lot more when I ride single speed in the hilly terrain here in WV. My lower back gets really tight and fatigued and I don't know if it has to do with my bike set-up, technique or just my relative newness to SSing (6th ride today). I am a weight lifter and have a strong core but maybe those muscles don't have the endurance yet? I could use some technique pointers. I tend to stand and mash a lot while simultaniously pulling the handlbars up and across. On the harder climbs this tends to feel like a deadlift-pull-up combo. Do you guys pull really hard with your upperbodies or do you mostly use your hips for power?

  2. #2
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    On the hard climbs I use my whole body, pulling up hard with my hands/upper body muscles as I push down hard with my legs.

    It may be that your setup is at fault, something like a too bent back when mashing hard ...etc... a pic from the side as you climb hard would be very revealing, imo.

    More info needed...


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  3. #3
    ravingbikefiend
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    If it's just your 6th ride on an SS then it could have a lot to do with conditioning...

    I have always been a stand up and mash it kind of rider and when I took my fairhful Trek and turned her into an SS I found that I was experiencing more fatigue in my lower back and this had to be due to doing even more standing.

    Riding in a standing position requires the use of your upper body as well as your lower body and with higher gearing the deadlift pullup is that much harder... I run a 32:16 on my SS so it's a good workout.
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  4. #4
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    Interesting thoughts.
    I rode the Maah Daah Hey trail (4 days of clean rolling single track-go if you can) spring of 05. Rode it on the SS and it was the perfect bike for most of the terrain. However- I never had any back problems until that trip. Not sure what I did to it, haven't had a doc check it but, whatever happened, it's not a good thing. Now... well it's like my knees. Some days great, some days not so.
    Since then I've made the gearing on the SS easier and have focused more on my spin. If you've only been on a few SS rides so far this will sound odd but- learn to climb sitting as much as possible. Stand only when needed. I find my back thanks me and I'm climbing faster. There's a local guy around here (you know the type, mutant fast and people listen when he talks bikes) who said that SS climbing is more...skeletal. Didn't understand what he meant for a few years but it makes sense now.
    My advice
    - don't push too big a gear (your ego will heal faster than your back or knees)
    -spin spin spin
    -when standing try to avoid doing the hunched monkey thing when cranking with the bars. Keep the back straight like you would for heavy lifting.
    Do everything you can to protect your back. An injured back might lead to a recumbent. Yes it's a bike but... no paperboy saved their summer bucks for one.
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  5. #5
    Nat
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    On really hard climbs I use my upper body a lot...even my facial muscles think they can make the bike go sometimes.

    It's interesting that you thought of the dead-lift analogy, since I've always thought of lifting heavy suitcases, when you want to be upright with a straight back rather than hunched foward at the waist. I therefore have my bars set up an inch higher than my saddle rather than a few inches below it like the "usual" xc setup.

    For what it's worth my lumbar muscles used to very fatigued when I first started but it's not much of an issue now.

  6. #6
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    Do sit - ups. I had the same thing, started doing regular sit-ups/crunches and it went away. Apparently my back muscles were working double time since my abs were soft and wussy.

  7. #7
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    Same for me when I started... work through it... take a break if it gets bad... it will go away soon. You're using back muscles in ways you never have before. As others have said, focus on keeping your back straight when standing.

  8. #8
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    You'll learn to climb in the saddle the longer you ride SS. I avoid coming out of the seat when ever possible. Oh, and I'm riding in Pisgah so it's not like I'm riding flat **** either! But yeah, you're still really new to the SS thing and even w/ a strong core you're working muscles you didn't even know existed - trust me I did a ton of off season core work and I still get a sore back. Best thing is to avoid the mash fest you can get into and learn to pedal while seated more. You'll be surprised at the **** you can climb if you focus enough. Don't get me wrong sometimes you just have to stand up and mash it, but if you can limit that you'll be able to do longer rides too.

    I never thought I'd want to do 50 mile trail rides on a single, but now it's my only bike...

  9. #9
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by plume
    Best thing is to avoid the mash fest you can get into and learn to pedal while seated more. You'll be surprised at the **** you can climb if you focus enough.
    Although if you force yourself to stay seated and mash rather than standing up, I think you might be asking for knee problems.

    Jon, people will tell you to spin or mash your SS, but the thing about a one-speed bike is that sometimes you don't get a choice. On a gearie you can choose an easy spinning gear or a high mashing gear but on a SS you get whatever happens to be on your bike at the moment. The terrain (and your fitness) will dictate whether you spin or mash. On any given ride I do both.

  10. #10
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    I go along with the fact that you have not rode much. I did not have any problems with my back last year, but I have not been off road much this season and when I do ride, my back wears out real fast. One reason is because I am on a lot of steep climbs. If I was on a more flowing trail I would not have as much of an issue.

    Watch out for the seated climbs, you knees will be in bad shape if you over push it. Yes, climb seated as much as you can, but there is a point where you would be better off standing. This point will change the more you ride.

    Also make sure your hammy's are stretched out good. They can be a cause for a lot of back pain when they tighten up.

  11. #11
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    I find the handlebar height is very important when you are standing and climbing, try setting the height and postition such that when you are standing on a climb (not on a flat), you are faily upright, minimal bend in your lower back. Basically a postision that you would naturally be in when joggin up stairs. Most gearie bike are set up with the bars a bit lower. A good width on the bar helps too. With me, I know that my bars are too low when I start getting lower back pains on long standing climbs.

  12. #12
    JAK
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    Abdomen must be strenghtened...

    Quote Originally Posted by WVJon75
    I find I stand a lot more when I ride single speed in the hilly terrain here in WV. My lower back gets really tight and fatigued and I don't know if it has to do with my bike set-up, technique or just my relative newness to SSing (6th ride today). I am a weight lifter and have a strong core but maybe those muscles don't have the endurance yet? I could use some technique pointers. I tend to stand and mash a lot while simultaniously pulling the handlbars up and across. On the harder climbs this tends to feel like a deadlift-pull-up combo. Do you guys pull really hard with your upperbodies or do you mostly use your hips for power?
    Like others have said above...I frikkin hate sit-ups, so I hang and do knee lifts, you can mix it up and engage your obliques as well. One at a time with a twist is a good one. Hanging also works your forearms, shoulders and upper back which are quite helpful for standing and moshing...for technique, think about rolling your pelvis forward, this position is used in Tai Chi to protect the spine and to establish a low center. Be calm and breathe. Hunching over will also use unnecessary muscles and add to overall fatigue and the lactic acid bath. I like to think "practice makes permanent" I almost always will look to technique and stay within its bounds to minimize effort and ride better and stronger another day...
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  13. #13
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    Try stretching your hamstrings out. Most of my back issues are related to tight hamstrings.
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  14. #14
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    I'd work on the abs, also. You said you have a strong core, but keep working on it and it can only get stronger, and how can that be bad?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainman
    It may be that your setup is at fault, something like a too bent back when mashing hard ...etc... a pic from the side as you climb hard would be very revealing, imo.

    More info needed...


    R.
    This is what I was thinking. My SS setup is very long, much longer than my other bikes to allow me to stretch out when I climb standing.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVJon75
    I find I stand a lot more when I ride single speed in the hilly terrain here in WV. My lower back gets really tight and fatigued and I don't know if it has to do with my bike set-up, technique or just my relative newness to SSing (6th ride today). I am a weight lifter and have a strong core but maybe those muscles don't have the endurance yet? I could use some technique pointers. I tend to stand and mash a lot while simultaniously pulling the handlbars up and across. On the harder climbs this tends to feel like a deadlift-pull-up combo. Do you guys pull really hard with your upperbodies or do you mostly use your hips for power?
    You need to use your whole body whether you are pedaling in or out of the saddle. If you can feel the force concentrated at a single point your are doing it wrong. Relax and pedal from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. Not that different than proper free weight lifting technique.
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