Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Today's common question was, "my back hurts, is that normal?"  We are on week 3 of building on-the-bike strength; which means big gears, low cadence.  We have done work on our own, pulling partners up hills, and today did 20 repeats of a small hill in different gears, standing and seated.  So why are the lower backs sore?

Well, if you are seated and climbing, or pedalling at a low cadence in a big gear, it would be an indication that you are not using your glutes or proper pedalling technique.  Since you don't know how to activate your glutes you move your shoulders and body instead, pulling your back in the process.  Or, you use your hamstrings longer then needed, which pulls on the lower back.  Here is a diagram illustrating which muscles need to be used when:

Today we did more standing stuff, so if your core and/or upper body are weak, then you'll recruit your back muscles when they are not needed.  Or, if you are resisting a movement, or struggling with the technique, then you'll be moving inefficiently, and ineffectively, which can lead to soreness and injury.  Your core will be engaged, your body should be relaxed, and it's the synchronicity of the body and bike that move you up the hill fluidly.  Here's a pretty good example of how the body stays in one spot, the bike rocks, using your bike to maximize forward movement.

So what can you do to prevent back pain?  
Step 1: Get a proper bike fit done, and keep going back to the fitter until all fine tuning is done.
Step 2:  Work on correct muscle activation for the full pedal stroke.
Step 3: Build core strength and stability.  Here are some suggestions of exercises to do.

Ride on, ride straight, ride strong.

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