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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 06-18-09, 12:23 AM   #1
valencia
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Wrist pain and tired arms

Hey, heavy rider here...

On longer rides my arms are giving me more fatigue than anything else - as well as wrist pain and numbness. My bike is basically a mt. bike geometry. I've since put riser bars on it, but that didn't help much. I have ergo grips and padded gloves. What I'm wandering is; how much does core strength have to do with how much weight ends up on the arms? Does back and ab strength (or weakness) play a factor? I would imagine it does to some degree, but thought I'd see what others think on this... Thanks. (my bike seems to be a good fit)
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Old 06-18-09, 01:04 AM   #2
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All I can tell you is that for me, strengthening my back and abs has helped me tremendously. Virtually all my gym workouts and weightlifting sessions are structured with about 50% core, 50% whatever I want to work on that day. In the last two weeks alone, my shoulder, neck and wrist pain has dropped, and my numbness I got in my left hand is 99% gone. All because I'm holding more of my weight up with my core, I think.

Besides: it can't hurt right? Stronger back means...at the very least a stronger back!
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Old 06-18-09, 02:38 AM   #3
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There are misconceptions about core stability. The Transabdominal muscle works as a corset to brace the soft poorly supported abdominal region. It does not normally get used in postural work to more than about 40% of its maxium capicity. Therefore training of the core needs to work on endurance and facilitation,rather than strength. It seems reasonable that if your core is tiring you will seek another way of off-loading, but short intensive training of the core muscles might not improve your situation necessarily.

If you are getting wrist pain and numbness then it is likely that the nerves are irritated.

I would seek advise from a physiotherapist to get advised of whether the local neural tissues in the arm need either resting or stretching, or whether the problem is more global ( ie poor core stability as you mentioned).
Core stability work may help.
You could try more endurance core stability work and pay close attention to you general and bike posture, but a professional could assess you properly and focus you towards the real problem. ie it could be that you need to stretch the median nerve,this is easy to rehab, but needs to be done correctly.

all the best anyway.

Last edited by bhkyte; 06-18-09 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 06-18-09, 02:09 PM   #4
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Is your saddle level or pointing downwards at the nose? Some people put their saddles up too high, which creates pain in delicate areas. They then point the nose downward instead of lowering the whole thing, which means they are sliding forwards onto the bars and putting more weight than they need to on the arms and wrists.
Riding with stiff straight arms is another culprit. You want a little bend in your elbow to soak up road shock. If your top tube and/or stem are too long, that can force a straight, rigid arm.
Change positions frequently when riding. Drop bars were designed with this in mind. If you don't want drop bars, lift one hand off at a time and stretch out from time to time.
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Old 06-18-09, 05:57 PM   #5
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+1 Drop bars.
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Old 06-18-09, 07:28 PM   #6
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I'm a pretty big o boy 345+ when i started riding (but dropping) i had a mountain bike and had numb hands and sore arms. when i lost the mountain bike and bought the road bike i had more positions to put my numb hands and sore arms. i have been doing some core exercise and with the riding i have dropped 35 pounds since January. the weight loss and exercise seem to be working. it is getting easier to ride and i am having longer intervals between numbness. also the core exercises have built me the sexiest set of abs i have ever seen. if only i didn't have this keg in front everyone else could see. lol there are several books on core exercises and you tube has several videos. good luck.
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Old 06-18-09, 07:37 PM   #7
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also the core exercises have built me the sexiest set of abs i have ever seen. if only i didn't have this keg in front everyone else could see.
My trainer told me I have a great six pack. I'm just keeping it in the fridge for now.
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Old 06-18-09, 08:20 PM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions, guys. My seat is level and my top tube is not too long. I have a long torso. But with this bar, I have only one hand position. My arms are bent... but then they get tired so I straighten them sometimes... I am constantly shaking my hands off. I guess the bottom line is my torso is very heavy and as I lose weight and strengthen my core (erector muscles), I'll have less issues. Thanks!
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Old 06-18-09, 08:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valencia View Post
Hey, heavy rider here...

On longer rides my arms are giving me more fatigue than anything else - as well as wrist pain and numbness. My bike is basically a mt. bike geometry. I've since put riser bars on it, but that didn't help much. I have ergo grips and padded gloves. What I'm wandering is; how much does core strength have to do with how much weight ends up on the arms? Does back and ab strength (or weakness) play a factor? I would imagine it does to some degree, but thought I'd see what others think on this... Thanks. (my bike seems to be a good fit)
Cycling should be a source of pleasure, not pain (unless you deliberately afflict yourself through hard pedaling). You could try riding a bike that's better suited to the human body.
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Old 06-19-09, 03:08 AM   #10
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I have said this before on these forums. Pain and discomfort is not always about bike fit or bike choice. It is only one aspect out of several.

ie posture,muscle activation,biomechanics,training type and so on. The complement of other exercise activities is important (ie if you stuff pillows for a living and then ride a road bike you are more likely to anterior translate the shoulder joint out of alinement).

Pin and needles, and numbness are usually neurological in origin. Your nerves or nerve routes are likely to be compromised in some way. Advise about posture when on the bike is fine ,but I would recommend you get it checked out by a physio to find the exact nature of your complaint.

It may be that altering your bike relieves your syptoms, but it is also likely that the physio could find a nerve stretch that is comprmised in your wrist/elbow/shoulder/neck. These are called "upper limb tension tests" for the medial,ular,and radial nerves.

Gentle strething should directely address these,but expert knowledge and judgement is required not to "stir it up more".

I think the small outlay now would be better than months with carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms in the worest case scenario .

The advise to keep changing hand postions is sound, and you already wear good quality glove and use bar tape I seem to remember.

I am not trying to alarm you ,but I believe prevention is better than cure. This may be an early warning sign, it may be a steady controllable symptom that can be controlled by the other suggestions made.

Again all the best.
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