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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 05-01-14, 08:58 AM   #1
Crucialitis
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Feeling like a beast, but...

Hello everybody!

Today is my first commute of the year, second year commuting. My ride is ~20 miles each way, and even though it's the first day I can already feel my lower back fussing. Is there a particular exercise y'all do to help ease pain and toughen up?
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Old 05-01-14, 09:02 AM   #2
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20 miles... good luck with that... Stretching..
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Old 05-01-14, 09:11 AM   #3
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I don't know about an exercise but I've found that consciously straightening my back by tilting the hips more forward relieves that pain when it crops up. After a good layoff I suspect that I'd be curving my back at first, which starts to be an issue for me after about an hour. Since you've done it before, I'm guessing that after you limber up and get your form back you'll be ok.
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Old 05-01-14, 09:50 AM   #4
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I'd heard that mimicking the "Asian crouch" (not being racist, just an observation of people who are comfortable sitting on their haunches), even if you have to hold onto something to keep balance, is good for the back, it does me good (I need to hold something for balance). Sit in that position for about 30 seconds, especially after the ride, and your back will stretch out.

I know from my limited weight lifting experience that if you work too hard too early, you tend to develop bad form in the effort to complete the workout and this probably applies to cycling too; if you go on long rides too early, you can mess up your form in the effort to complete the distance, your muscles may not be strong enough. If you're commuting the shortest route, you don't have much choice about distance but it makes it that much more important that you concentrate on form while riding. @wphamilton said it best about form. Core strengthening exercises (core includes lower back as well as abs) also will help.
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Old 05-01-14, 10:19 AM   #5
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You're not wearing a backpack are you? If so, that could be the cause of your back pain if commuting 20 miles each way.
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Old 05-01-14, 10:21 AM   #6
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I do yoga to alleviate soreness. For lower back pain, backbends are particularly useful. Just be mindful of your limits, and always warm up and loosen your muscles by going through a few cat/cows and forward folds.

Here are a few backbends:
Yoga Journal - Poses: Backbend Poses

For beginners, I would recommend cow, upward-facing dog, bridge, camel, and lord of the dance.
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Old 05-01-14, 10:40 AM   #7
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casio04330 - Yeah... That's probably it. I woke up and excitedly jumped on with no kind of warm-up.

wphamilton - Heh, that ends up as the pose I'm awkwardly striking about 10mi in.

jrickards - I had to google this, I thought it was the pose spiderman lands in. I have little doubt after these replies that no stretching/warmup is the main contributor. Pain in the body without stretching is sort of new to me.

tarwheel - ...yeah, I am :\ Mostly clothes, tools, and a lock.

schiiism - This is going to be an interesting spectacle for my wife tonight.
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Old 05-01-14, 11:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crucialitis View Post
Hello everybody!

Today is my first commute of the year, second year commuting. My ride is ~20 miles each way, and even though it's the first day I can already feel my lower back fussing. Is there a particular exercise y'all do to help ease pain and toughen up?
I ride the same, 40 miles RT. Sit-ups help me a lot. Rest between sets. Be sure the flatten your back (including lower) onto the floor. I do four sets of 25 reps. Deep knee bends. I do a set of 25 and then a set of 50. Stand and touch toes. Couple sets of 25.

Everybody is different. Learn what works for you personally.
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Old 05-01-14, 11:29 AM   #9
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I do yoga to alleviate soreness. For lower back pain, backbends are particularly useful. Just be mindful of your limits, and always warm up and loosen your muscles by going through a few cat/cows and forward folds.

Here are a few backbends:
Yoga Journal - Poses: Backbend Poses

For beginners, I would recommend cow, upward-facing dog, bridge, camel, and lord of the dance.
+1. Yoga will also tune your senses. Focus on different parts of your body and essentially, ask them how they're feeling that day? What do they need that day?
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Old 05-01-14, 11:35 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I don't know about an exercise but I've found that consciously straightening my back by tilting the hips more forward relieves that pain when it crops up. After a good layoff I suspect that I'd be curving my back at first, which starts to be an issue for me after about an hour. Since you've done it before, I'm guessing that after you limber up and get your form back you'll be ok.
+1. I have a pretty sensitive lower back. Regardless of what I do, I'm probably going to end up injuring myself once a year or so and nurse myself back to health for a couple weeks (I've yet to injure it by riding my bicycle though).

But I also deliberately try to straighten my back. I remember a lesson I read from Lance Armstrong that recommended dropping your belly towards your knees. I find that a good way to think about it. When my back starts feeling tension or pain I remind myself to do that and it immediately feels better.
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Old 05-01-14, 11:48 AM   #11
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You always should to do a pre ride warm up
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Old 05-01-14, 01:25 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Crucialitis View Post
Is there a particular exercise y'all do to help ease pain and toughen up?
Sort of. I ride my bike year round. Going from 0 to 40 miles/day is a huge change. You may want to ease into it by doing a few training rides. Stretching can help too, but I find it takes a couple months of regular stretching before I really feel the benefits of it.
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Old 05-01-14, 05:24 PM   #13
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I do yoga to alleviate soreness.
I'm doing the same commute 19.8 miles with a guaranteed headwind in the afternoon.

I use the cobra position pose > Cobra Pose | Yoga Poses | Yoga Journal
alternated with downward dog > Downward-Facing Dog | Yoga Poses | Yoga Journal
This one is more for the hip flexors Pigeon position is AWESOME > Proper Pigeon Pose | Yoga Practice | Yoga Journal

stretching is fun
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Old 05-01-14, 05:30 PM   #14
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You always should to do a pre ride warm up
Some studies show you are just as likely to hurt yourself stretching cold muscles than just doing the activity. I stretch afterwards.

Stretching Is Dangerous!: Don't Stretch For Better Health
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Old 05-01-14, 05:34 PM   #15
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stretching is fun
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Hows that for consistency? Internet for the WIN
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Old 05-01-14, 05:44 PM   #16
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Weak core/abs is the No.1 cause of lower back pains and problems. You need to start doing some strength training. For me personally I do weight lifting and various types of bodyweight exercises to keep my body strong and fit.
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Old 05-01-14, 06:13 PM   #17
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Some studies show you are just as likely to hurt yourself stretching cold muscles than just doing the activity. I stretch afterwards.

Stretching Is Dangerous!: Don't Stretch For Better Health
just like weight lifting, if one does it with a modicum of sense, you will not hurt yourself stretching...
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Old 05-01-14, 07:00 PM   #18
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Take a BC Powder right before you leave. Trust me on this.
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Old 05-01-14, 07:11 PM   #19
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Cycling can tighten your hip flexors, here is a stretch to help with that.
Hip Flexors Stretch: Cycling Stretches | Bicycling Magazine
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Old 05-01-14, 07:12 PM   #20
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exercises??? that's what's caused the problem in the first place.
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Old 05-02-14, 05:37 AM   #21
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I think anybody who hasn't been riding for awhile would be sore if they suddenly began riding 40 miles per day, especially if they are riding hard, and carrying a load. I'd say be careful not to overdue it and injure yourself. Definitely stretch, ride easy for a few weeks and take lots of days off.
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Old 05-02-14, 06:03 AM   #22
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Perhaps “stretching” is the wrong word here. I think what you might want to consider is “flexibility”, which obviously can be the result of careful proper stretching. You may also want to check on core strengthening exercise. A week core can put too much load on one’s back. Finally, it’s always worth double checking positioning and fit. As we age from year to year our bodies do change, and what fit last year may not work at some point in the future.
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Old 05-02-14, 07:26 AM   #23
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I feel like a lucky one. I never stretch or anything & never any issues. Proper hydration will allow toxins & such to flush out properly, i find that deep breathing can aid in this (helps your lymph system circulate). If tissues cannot do their thing properly they will give you a sign in the form of pain, swelling etc.

Just try to loosen your torso up, ... twists, toe touches etc...

Hope things improve!

- Andy
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Old 05-02-14, 07:46 AM   #24
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google lower back + stretching or exercises, find a routine that you think you will like

The one exercise I think helps me the most is laying on my back knees bent and pulling one knee to my chest. There are variations. It may not be as helpful to others. It is not the only one I do. My routine for the back takes about 15 min. But if I do my routine 4-5 days per week it keeps the pain under control.
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Old 05-02-14, 08:24 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paramount1973 View Post
Cycling can tighten your hip flexors, here is a stretch to help with that.
Hip Flexors Stretch: Cycling Stretches | Bicycling Magazine
interestingly enough, I was suffering from tight hip flexors and these stretches did very little for me...
I had to figure out a new stretch that I really haven't seen anywhere online...
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