How To Prevent Back Pain Related To Cycling

If you are about to get into outdoor cycling, you should expect to feel sore in your lower back. You may think of cycling as a leg exercise, but it also uses your upper body. Before you start cycling, you should know how to avoid back pain so that you can be consistent with your outings.

Buy the Right Size Bike

The wrong size bike is a leading cause of back pain among cyclists. Don't select a bike based on price. The bike should be customized to fit your body because a bike that is too big will cause you to hunch forward.

Take your time, and set up a test drive. If you already have a low back condition, choose a reclining bike.

Check the saddle. The saddle height is based on the length of your legs. Rest the ball of the foot in the center of the pedal. Your knee should bend slightly at about a 15- to 20-degree angle when the pedal touches the ground. Ensure you don't have to extend the leg, which could cause back pain.

If the handlebars are adjustable, adjust the handlebars until you get a comfortable position.

Use Proper Form

Hold the back straight, but not completely straight such as when you are sitting in a chair. Keep it flat and supported with squared shoulders. Change the body angle occasionally to avoid muscle fatigue, and lower and lift the head to reduce neck strain.

The arms should be bent slightly at about a ten-degree angle to help the body absorb some impact. Padded cycling gloves helps to absorb shock.

Bend the legs at a 90-degree angle at the top of each pedal movement, or when the pedal is furthest from the ground. If possible, get someone to observe your posture. Some bike shops will set up a camera to test fit.

Improve Your Core Muscle Strength

Strengthening core muscles reduces the risk of back pain from outdoor cycling.

The bridge exercise works the core muscles. Lay on a mat or soft surface with your knees bent, arms folded on chest, and feet flat. Lift the hips off the floor, and hold for thirty seconds, then lower. Aim for five to ten repetitions daily.

Do the plank exercise. Get on all fours, keeping your hands below the shoulders. Straighten the legs behind you to place body weight on both hands and toes. Don't let the back sag, and maintain this position for about 30 seconds. Be sure to do some stretches after exercising to improve your flexibility. 

The possibility of back pain shouldn't keep you from enjoying outdoor cycling. Check out if you have a back condition or you develop a pain in the back that doesn't go away.