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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 07-17-11, 07:29 AM   #1
goldfinch 
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muscle knots and tension

Back in my working years I spent hours leaned over a desk and had a high stress job. I frequently would get a knotted muscle below my left shoulder near the shoulder blade and a "tight" neck. I also would get tension headaches frequently. I would do light neck "exercises" (slowly turn head to right, then to left, then look down. Very slowly) to try to keep my neck and shoulders relaxed but it often was a losing battle.

Then I retired and the problem about disappeared. Now I am finding that the same area knots up in my upper back and my shoulder s get hard as rock when I ride by bke. Not always, but sometimes. It can be extremely painful and keep me awake at night. I have been fitted to the bike and I am trying to watch my bike posture. I think that I have two issues. One is inadvertently tensing up. The other is lack of core strength, given that I am coming from a place of no fitness only months ago. Any suggestions for relaxing and strengthening? I live mostly in a motorhome on the road a lot so I can't join a gym or carry around any significant equipment.

Last edited by goldfinch; 07-23-11 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 07-17-11, 01:28 PM   #2
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You can do exercises like Push Ups, Pull Ups, Sit Ups, Planks, Super Mans, and Wall Squats as a basic exercise routine. You can also do stretches after your ride to help alleviate tension.

Its possible what is happening is going to be a recurring problem. I get a muscle spasm every now and then in the same area where I pulled a muscle years ago while working. While exercise has helped, every now and then it still recurs. In those instances I use Ice, heat, and light stretches and it goes away.
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Old 07-17-11, 04:17 PM   #3
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Thanks. I had to look up the planks. I'll work on these. I can't even do a push up though.
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Old 07-18-11, 04:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
Thanks. I had to look up the planks. I'll work on these. I can't even do a push up though.
With any exercise start where you are comfortable at. I will sometimes do kneeling push ups (girl push ups) instead of the standard ones (I'm a male). I've done assisted chin ups before being able to accomplish one unassisted.

If you see someone advocating 5 sets of 10 reps maybe what you need is start with are 3 sets of 5 reps. There are a lot of things on line where you can learn to modify certain exercises to make them work better for you.
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Old 07-19-11, 12:50 AM   #5
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Core exercises.

A stronger core has really helped me, I can think of little else that made such a big difference in my ride comfort.

The Google can find hundreds of good core exercises out there. I also really liked using a balance ball with some exercises, helped me specifically with all those muscles in your torso needed to maintain balance and posture.

Then, relax on the bike. No need to be tense, just remember to relax.

Relax your arms, and make sure you are bending your arms/elbows. Locking your elbows out straight is a recipe for soreness.

Move your hands around the bars to change your back posture. Getting into the drops for a little bit occasionally helps me stretch out my back, riding on the tops occasionally gives my back a little rest.

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Old 07-19-11, 05:58 AM   #6
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Yesterday I did the plank a couple of times for maybe 5 seconds each. Today my gut hurts. I managed a very few of the modified pushups. I also have some stretches to help. Yesterday I didn't bike and I probably won't do much today.
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Old 07-19-11, 07:40 AM   #7
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Stretching, exercise, and massage. I mean go to a massage therapist. I realize you are traveling, but pretty much anywhere has legitimate licensed massage therapists. You can tell them to concentrate on your upper back/neck/shoulder area if need be.

You may also want to see a doctor. I've had a stiff neck for years. Then I was diagnosed with shoulder arthritis two years ago. Then, a month and a half ago things got bad. Horrible pain and little ability to ride. I have an issue with inflamed cervical discs and bone spurs. Things are better now (chiropractor, massage, cervical epidural). I still spend a lot of time stretching everything out.

The stretching and exercise could also be a bit time consuming, but you said you were retired, right?
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Old 07-23-11, 09:05 AM   #8
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I have a doctor's appointment for another matter on the 29th so I am going to ask about this. It dawned on me that the problem might be related to something else entirely, though it is a long shot. I have been taking Mirapex for about two months and muscle spasm is a potential side effect. I am going to stop the Mirapex for a few days and see if it makes a difference. There are alternatives to Mirapex so I am actually almost hoping that the problem stems from that drug. I also have morning nausea occasionally which certainly is a Mirapex side effect.

I read your posts about your issues--painful! I really hope I do not have a structural problem.
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Old 07-23-11, 09:25 AM   #9
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http://pilates.about.com/od/pilatesm...Knee-Folds.htm is a better way to start. Planks are kinda intense to start with.Pay attention to the neutral spine instructions. Basicly keeping your back flat to the mat. Don't arch the back when raising leg. It's tougher than it sounds.
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Old 07-23-11, 10:56 AM   #10
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Jethro, I've dropped the planks for a few days because of the pain I am having. I also found the knee folds you mentioned and have been doing these.
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