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  1. #1
    Senior Member djkenny's Avatar
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    Sore Neck, Back, Shoulders...the bike, or strength training?

    I have been having problems with my back, neck, and shoulders. I know I have been on a kick to get a more upright set up bike for my typical 7 mile commute, and I will continue the search, but I began to wonder about whether or not I need to look into strength training for road cycling?

    I have a late 90's Hybrid GT bike that rides great, but I tend to think the forward bend is causing me issues.

    Thoughts?

    I have read that strengthening the core (and that is not just the stomach most of us relate to) including the muscles around our spine?

    Does anyone have an exercise regimen they would like to share to strengthen key areas?

    Stuff you can do with resistance bands, free weights, stretching, core work exercises, etc that may not require a gym membership?

    Thanks,
    djkenny

  2. #2
    Senior Member madhouse's Avatar
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    Buy a recumbent... All your woes will go away.

  3. #3
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    how often do you ride, and how long have you been riding, and is this new pain, or recurring chronic pain?

    I had the same type of pain problems when I started riding. Then after a few months it magically disappeared.

  4. #4
    The Haberdasher BroadSTPhilly's Avatar
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    Here is a guy coming along asking a perfectly normal question and you recommend a recumbent? That's like somebody coming onto a board and asking how to uninstall a program in windows XP and you recommending that they run Linux.
    How long has the pain been persisting? I had some initial pain on a my road bike that just went away in time. Here are some exercises you can do. http://www.howtobefit.com/cycling-core-strength.htm There is a better site for these on these boards somewhere if you run a search.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy View Post
    pancake theoretical physics is a good new direction for this thread.

  5. #5
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're putting too much weight on your hands/arms, and not enough on your behind and feet. There's a few things you can try doing to alleviate the issues:

    - Move your seat forward. This will effectively shorten the 'cockpit' of the bike and put you more upright. It will also move you further over the pedals and put more weight bearing on your feet. Just be sure that you're not too far forward, such that your position hurts your knees or your hamstrings. (moving forward takes force off the quads and moves it to the hamstrings.)

    - Shorten your stem. Same thing as above, without the detriment of changing your position over the pedals.

    - Raise your stem. You'll be more upright, but still "stretched out" as far as you were, since you're not shortening any measurements.

    If you're positioned well on your bike, you shouldn't feel that you're "pushing" or propping yourself up on your arms.

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    When I got back in the saddle after a loooooonnnng hiatus, I found that I'd be really tight and sore in my deltoids and neck after riding. I soon realized that I was riding REALLY tight in my neck and shoulders for some reason. Now, every couple of minutes, I make it a point to consciously relax and shake out my shoulders and take a couple of deep breaths. I haven't expereienced the soreness since.

  7. #7
    Senior Member sharkey00's Avatar
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    http://www.fitstep.com/Library/Exerc...rbell-rows.htm

    http://exercise.about.com/od/abs/ss/abexercises_10.htm

    I think bike fit is a large component but above are a few bike specific exercises.

  8. #8
    Senior Member djkenny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madhouse View Post
    Buy a recumbent... All your woes will go away.
    Are bent bikes pretty easy to put on the front bus rack? I combine bus and bike most of the week.

  9. #9
    No Sidewalks. capolover's Avatar
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    How tall are you and what size tube top are you riding?
    Is your seat in the right place and level?
    How are your grips?

  10. #10
    BF's Level 12 Wizard SingingSabre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by novacommuter View Post
    When I got back in the saddle after a loooooonnnng hiatus, I found that I'd be really tight and sore in my deltoids and neck after riding. I soon realized that I was riding REALLY tight in my neck and shoulders for some reason. Now, every couple of minutes, I make it a point to consciously relax and shake out my shoulders and take a couple of deep breaths. I haven't expereienced the soreness since.
    Aside from Clifton's post, I think this is the best advice you'll get here.

    Also try getting a massage... That should help your shoulders and neck out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bklyn
    Obviously, the guy's like a 12th level white wizard or something. His mere presence is a danger to mortals.

  11. #11
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    You don't give your age...
    I would get with an orthopedic doc and then a physical therapist for the hot setup on strength and flexibility.

    Luck,
    Jeff - still fat

  12. #12
    It's faster than the bus Catgrrl70's Avatar
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    I had that problem when I was riding a bike that was too small for me. The positioning was all wrong. Got a bike that fit and it was alllll better, no more pain. Just my experience.

  13. #13
    Senior Member charly17201's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BroadSTPhilly View Post
    Here is a guy coming along asking a perfectly normal question and you recommend a recumbent? That's like somebody coming onto a board and asking how to uninstall a program in windows XP and you recommending that they run Linux.
    How long has the pain been persisting? I had some initial pain on a my road bike that just went away in time. Here are some exercises you can do. http://www.howtobefit.com/cycling-core-strength.htm There is a better site for these on these boards somewhere if you run a search.
    Hey! I resemble that remark.

    I do agree though, that if this is something new, you may have issues with strength/muscles that need to be addressed.

    Now, if like me, the pain problems have been growing and it isn't a strength issue and you look in to other causes and there isn't anything wrong with your riding positions and musculature and it is something else (like age in my case).... check in to a recumbent.

    About the only thing I ride anymore is my bent. But, I'd gotten to where I couldn't ride because of neck and shoulder pain..... what can I say - old(er) and just can't hang on the DF anymore. But, riding a 'bent has brought the joy and pleasure of riding back to me.

    And advising one to run Linux over MicroSoft anything IS good advice.
    Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm.

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  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    For some rider / position combinations the discomfort won't tolerably go away and you need to change your position.

    From personal example, I started riding road bikes 6 years ago and it has been a good journey but the bent over position has always resulted in discomfort for me in the upper back, even though all the other roadies seem to be able to do 200 km rides in that position, after 50 km my body is aching. I am relatively underdeveloped in my upper body and have a long neck which is the major cause.
    Thing is I'm very tall and I could never find a bike where I could have the handlebars level with the seat.
    Anyway to cut a long story short, I have just recently (yesterday) bought a 25" hybrid (trek is the only one that make that large size) and have finally got that elusive handlebar and seat uniformity that has made riding much more enjoyable.
    I still keep my road bike (a fixed gear actually) because for short fast rides its exhilirating and one day I'll find a compatible riser stem that doesn't cost the world, but to get to uni every day I will ride my much more comfortable and relaxing Trek 7.2fx.

    I heartily recommend getting a second hybrid bike for your 7 mile commute. 7 miles is such a short distance that you don't need to race and if you arrive in comfort, it is much more preferable to arriving a few minutes early.

  15. #15
    Senior Member kk4df's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djkenny View Post
    I have been having problems with my back, neck, and shoulders.
    I had many of those problems when my bike was too small and the handlebars too low and the seat too low and bars too close. Basically, bike fit is all important for your comfort. There are several good fit calculators online, like the one at http://www.coloradocyclist.com/bikefit/. I would either go by a bike shop or try one of the online fit calculators (or both) to see if you're on the right size bike.

    Once you're on the right size bike, how you adjust the seat can do some amazing things for comfort, along with making small changes to the length of the stem. You might be surprised how much impact raising the seat just a bit can make.

    Walter

  16. #16
    apocryphal sobriquet J.C. Koto's Avatar
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    For core strength, push-ups, pull-ups, deadlifts and front-squats. Very simple, and you can do a 2 day per week regimen with push-ups/squats one day and pull-ups/deadlifts the other. All you need is a barbell, and somewhere to do the pull-ups. Core strength guaranteed in 6 weeks or your money back!! (limited time only, tax not included..)

    Regular squats would be a little better than the front ones, but you'd *need* a cage or rack which can be expensive.

  17. #17
    An Army of Fred harleyfrog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.C. Koto View Post
    For core strength, push-ups, pull-ups, deadlifts and front-squats. Very simple, and you can do a 2 day per week regimen with push-ups/squats one day and pull-ups/deadlifts the other. All you need is a barbell, and somewhere to do the pull-ups. Core strength guaranteed in 6 weeks or your money back!! (limited time only, tax not included..)

    Regular squats would be a little better than the front ones, but you'd *need* a cage or rack which can be expensive.
    +1, but I would also add some yoga and pilates exercises to that. Sure, they look easy, but they really give you a workout.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member djkenny's Avatar
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    The exercises sound like a winner...also seeing if the LBS can evaluate my bike and my fit. Maybe my bike is not the right size kkrdf?

    JCKOTO, there is a pull up bar at the park on the way home on my commute. How many? Seems I can do the other exercises mentioned at home with my free weights and a carpet on the hard floor.

    Size and age wise, fat biker?
    I am 35 years old, 5'8 & 175 lbs (just jumped on the scale). I think this is average?
    Granted... I had a massive 3 plates of pasta with marinara a couple hrs ago so that might account for some of the poundage tonight. I have ridden about 14 miles today two and from work so I *think* I burnt the din din.

    harleyfrog, I hav a yoga location just a few blocks away in my area. I think this Saturday I will try a class.

    It looks like, depending on the day of the week and time of the day...hatha flow, yoga for your back, and kundallini. Also Piyo workout Yoga?
    Last edited by djkenny; 07-28-08 at 02:06 AM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member djkenny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingingSabre View Post
    Aside from Clifton's post, I think this is the best advice you'll get here.

    Also try getting a massage... That should help your shoulders and neck out.
    Oh, how I would *love* a deep tissue massage. One time I was the practice patient for someone in school and I swear the massage had me soooooo relaxed that I just crashed on the couch asleep seconds after ward in the home I was at.

    I have taken Clifton's advice. I now notice how at the stop lights I can feel shoulders strained at the stops. I am doing light kneck stretches and relaxing my shoulders.

  20. #20
    Senior Member djkenny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fat biker View Post
    You don't give your age...
    I would get with an orthopedic doc and then a physical therapist for the hot setup on strength and flexibility.

    Luck,
    Jeff - still fat
    I have a scholiosis that was effected after a car accident over 10 years ago. It is better now than ever, and the bike riding has been a massive part on making me feel better to. I am nto overweight, but I know I could use some core work, no doubt. Kneck, back, and upper body strengthening wouldnt hurt either.

  21. #21
    Senior Member djkenny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by capolover View Post
    How tall are you and what size tube top are you riding?
    Is your seat in the right place and level?
    How are your grips?
    I will have to find out in regards to the top tube...but I am 5'8 and the GT's frame is 17"

  22. #22
    BF's Level 12 Wizard SingingSabre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djkenny View Post
    Oh, how I would *love* a deep tissue massage. One time I was the practice patient for someone in school and I swear the massage had me soooooo relaxed that I just crashed on the couch asleep seconds after ward in the home I was at.

    I have taken Clifton's advice. I now notice how at the stop lights I can feel shoulders strained at the stops. I am doing light kneck stretches and relaxing my shoulders.
    Good start!

    What I do when I feel my shoulders hunching up is hike them up as far as I can for 5 seconds, then pull them down. It helps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bklyn
    Obviously, the guy's like a 12th level white wizard or something. His mere presence is a danger to mortals.

  23. #23
    Senior Member djkenny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bizzz111 View Post
    how often do you ride, and how long have you been riding, and is this new pain, or recurring chronic pain?

    I had the same type of pain problems when I started riding. Then after a few months it magically disappeared.
    I ride on average 3-5 days per week at 14 or so miles per given day on my bike.

    I have been doing this for a year, and slightly less frequently over a year ago.

    Sometimes I wonder if it is my pillows, my bed, my laptop use, or the bike causing this problem...or just the old injury.

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