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Riding Posture, Aches & Pains

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Riding Posture, Aches & Pains

Old 08-10-14, 04:05 PM
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Riding Posture, Aches & Pains

Hands going numb during rides. Where should I start with adjustments? Lower seat or higher stem? I do use gloves and I hv a road bike.

Last edited by 8figgas; 08-10-14 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 08-10-14, 04:09 PM
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Do you use riding gloves? That can help. How about ergon grips - they can help too. Also, what kind of surfaces are you riding on? If I ride on smooth pavement, my hands are fine. But when I ride on gravel or rough pavement, my hands get sore.
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Old 08-10-14, 04:15 PM
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Gloves yes(Bontrager basic), road bike only
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Old 08-10-14, 06:34 PM
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you should adjust your seat to be the proper height for your legs, not your hands. If you move your seat back, you will probably have less weight on your hands, but most people seem to like doing that KOPS (knee over pedal spindle) method.

You can try doing some core exercises, I know everybody loves doing that but it definitely helps. You can try getting nicer gloves - I seem to have numb hand problems from time to time and have tried a bunch of different things, including new bars, new gloves and new bartape and some gel inserts under the tape. I usually only have a problem with two specific fingers going numb, so I got gloves with a gap where your ulnar nerve goes through the wrist bones and it seemed to help a little (Specialized BG gloves). I also got some gel to wrap under my bars, and that may have helped but I forgot to include it when I put new bars on my bike a year ago, ha ha. My current bars have a sort of flat, faux-aero profile for the flats (they're aluminum zipp service course SSR bars, I like the profile and the flattish top section seems to be a skosh more comfortable on the flats)

You can certainly RAISE your bars too, which may require a different stem, but then that may do awful things to your keister on your saddle. It's a balancing act, like everything.

The last thing that will help is just getting more time in the saddle. Your body will acclimate. I periodically sit up and ride no handed to get rid of numbness -for me it goes away immediately when I take my hands off the bars. If your numbness persists you may have other issues that need to be addressed. Pedaling harder will also alleviate the pressure on your hands but there's obviously a limit to how much you can do in that regard.
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Old 08-10-14, 06:41 PM
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You can't sensibly adjust the height of your saddle, that's dictated by leg length. You may be able to raise the bars by using spacers or a more steeply-angled stem. But first, I'd experiment with adjusting the saddle fore and aft. Unlike Trojan Horse, my first try would be moving the saddle forward a touch - just a few millimeters - to shorten the reach.
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Old 08-10-14, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by 8figgas
Hands going numb during rides. Where should I start with adjustments? Lower seat or higher stem? I do use gloves and I hv a road bike.
Can you give us some more information to help get an idea of what to suggest?

1) What type of bike do you ride?

2) In what way are your hands going numb? Numb as in the whole hand falls asleep, but after rides they feel okay after a while? Or numb as in your thumb, index and middle finger are falling asleep and you feel tingling in that part of the hand after rides? Or numb as in your ring finger and pinky are falling asleep and tingle after rides?
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Old 08-10-14, 06:51 PM
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I ride a CAAD8 105, stem 31.8 8. Hands go tingly, I can shake them out for about 5 sec while riding and there good for a bit.
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Old 08-10-14, 06:57 PM
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Before you go out and start adjusting your bike and buying new parts, read this old thread. Specifically, this post where the hand position on the bars and the parts of your hands is addressed. Basically, the idea is to go and do a pushup and pay attention to the part of your hand that is carrying the weight (heel of the hand) and use this and the outside part of your hand to carry the weight.

Basically, if you have your hand positioned incorrectly on the bar to the point where it puts pressure on the nerves in your hands, it won't really matter what you do to the bike. There are some great pictures that illustrate this in this post.

And the good news is that you can test this out on your very next ride.

I've been doing good mileage for the last 10 years and this has been a recurring problem for me for the last 30 years when I was doing 1000 miles a month. After finding this, it's been one big forehead palm slap for me since. If I get nothing else out of these forums, this made it all worth it.

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Old 08-10-14, 07:17 PM
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Numb hands and too much weight on the hands has been ongoing problems for me, too. I'm think I'm getting closer to fixing it without a dreaded trip to the LBS for a fitting. (Other things I'd rather spend money on right now.) The latest episode has me (1) sliding the seat all the way back, (2) tilting the nose of my Selle An-Atomica NSX as far down as the (3) Thomson "Elite" setback seat post will allow forward (!), (4) raising the saddle a bit more than I am comfortable with but can still pedal fast without bouncing, and (5) removing all the spacers down to the brake hanger to lower the handlebars. It's a bit too early to tell, and I may have the wrong seat post and saddle (as they are maxed out rearward and nose down), but today I was surprised that the hand weight is significantly less this way. The thread that JonhnJ80 mentioned was very helpful, too. (Now only the outside of my palms get red.)
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Old 08-10-14, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by 8figgas
I ride a CAAD8 105, stem 31.8 8. Hands go tingly, I can shake them out for about 5 sec while riding and there good for a bit.
So you aren't developing any isolated numbness (i.e. thumb and first two finger or ring and pinkie finger specific) and tingliness that lasts after you get off the bike?

How is your hip flexibility? Do you have trouble keeping your hips rotated far enough forward that you can keep a back straight, arms bent riding position? Or, do you find your back is curved like you're hunching over the bars?
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Old 08-10-14, 08:13 PM
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I "think" my riding position as far as my back is concerned, is ok. My arms seem to be straight, shouldn't they hv a noticeable bend? My pedal stroke is comfortable, no bouncing. My problem is simply the falling asleep feeling in my hands.
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Old 08-10-14, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 8figgas
I "think" my riding position as far as my back is concerned, is ok. My arms seem to be straight, shouldn't they hv a noticeable bend? My pedal stroke is comfortable, no bouncing. My problem is simply the falling asleep feeling in my hands.
Your arms are straight, as opposed to being bent at the elbow? This is likely the source of your numbness issue. By having your arms straight you are forcing your hands to carry much more of your upper body weight than they should. Your elbows should be bent and your core muscles should be carrying some of that weight.

If you have to have your arms straight to reach the bars, your stem may be too long, if your arms have to be straight because you cant lean your upper body low enough to keep your elbows bent, your stem is probably too low.
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Old 08-10-14, 08:36 PM
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My LBS moved my seat back and shortened my stem. This cantilevered my upper body putting my weight on the saddle where it belongs. Without this cantilever effect I was constantly shaking out my hands to make the numbness go away. It's tricky and this is one of the many areas where a Pro fit pays off.
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Old 08-11-14, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bbeasley
My LBS moved my seat back and shortened my stem. This cantilevered my upper body putting my weight on the saddle where it belongs. Without this cantilever effect I was constantly shaking out my hands to make the numbness go away. It's tricky and this is one of the many areas where a Pro fit pays off.
It's also worth it to note that it can be just tiny changes that have a big impact. For example, I recently moved my seat forward less than 10mm after I had changed my stem from a 100mm 7 degree rise to a 100mm 17 degree rise. Both had a *major* impact on a neck issue I was struggling with. This probably moved my stem about 5mm or so vertically (<1/4") and it had the major effect of allowing me to raise my head more completely, which flattened my back and allowed me to quit hunching my shoulders.

I think that getting a good fit by a good bike fitter - documenting that in measurements so it can be replicated, and then taking only small changes from there (one at a time) and noting the changes. This allow you to get back to that fit as a starting point and start over if you screw something up.

Anytime you are getting to the full end of the adjustment range is probably a decent sign you're off on the wrong track or that the bike is incorrectly sized (a good fitter can see that immediately - so that's easy). Note too that it can take a long time for you to adapt to the new changes. It doesn't happen immediately.

The article on the hand numbness pretty much solved that issue for me. I spent several rides just concentrating on developing the muscle memory to do this automatically.

J.
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Old 08-11-14, 11:59 AM
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Are you using clipless pedals? Many times people are not using their glutes and hamstrings during a ride which in turn puts a great deal of pressure on your shoulders, neck and upper back leading to hand numbness. A simple solution may be to just relax your shoulders, stick your chest out, relax your arms, and rotate your pelvis.
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Old 08-11-14, 04:48 PM
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I use clip ins. I seem to think its the arm straightness. All this input is excellent for me and I'm sure other out there...
Originally Posted by thrllskr
Are you using clipless pedals? Many times people are not using their glutes and hamstrings during a ride which in turn puts a great deal of pressure on your shoulders, neck and upper back leading to hand numbness. A simple solution may be to just relax your shoulders, stick your chest out, relax your arms, and rotate your pelvis.
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Old 08-14-14, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by 8figgas
Hands going numb during rides. Where should I start with adjustments? Lower seat or higher stem? I do use gloves and I hv a road bike.
I just had the same problem. My hands were numb and after giving it much thought - I lowered my seat a little less than 1/8 of an inch (3/32 to be exact) and after a 35 mile ride last night - NO PROBLEMS....

Good luck

Prior to that my hands were fine, but my seat was giving me problems. I tilted the seat down slightly and it tilted my weight onto my hands.
I think my current settings are good as gold right now. I made these changes over 2 weeks of riding.

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Old 08-14-14, 09:49 AM
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I tilted my bars back very slightly. I will try that, then move to lowering seat if the problem persist. thnx
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Old 08-14-14, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by 8figgas
I use clip ins. I seem to think its the arm straightness. All this input is excellent for me and I'm sure other out there..
How much weight are you putting on your hands? A lot? None?

While everybody seems to think that having too much weight on your hands is the primary issue which triggers numbness, I've actually found that placement of the shift+brake levers has more to do with it for me. For me, the biggest thing that helps avoid numbness is to keep my wrist in a "neutral" position. You may need to move the levers up or down on the handlebar or rotate them in/out to get the best position. I tend to rotate my levers ever so slightly toward the center of the handlebar. That helps to keep my wrist and forearm in line, which seems to fix any numbness problems I've had...
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Old 08-14-14, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by sstorkel
How much weight are you putting on your hands? A lot? None?

While everybody seems to think that having too much weight on your hands is the primary issue which triggers numbness, I've actually found that placement of the shift+brake levers has more to do with it for me. For me, the biggest thing that helps avoid numbness is to keep my wrist in a "neutral" position. You may need to move the levers up or down on the handlebar or rotate them in/out to get the best position. I tend to rotate my levers ever so slightly toward the center of the handlebar. That helps to keep my wrist and forearm in line, which seems to fix any numbness problems I've had...
I think this positioning so that the bones in your arms are lined up with where the pressure is per the link I posted earlier is the key. And, if I'm understanding what you are saying, that's exactly what you've done. Getting the hand position right - in other words so that the load on your hands is on the right spot is the key. I really don't think most people have too much weight on their hands, they just have their hands improperly positioned. This is the easiest and most important change to make first. When that is done, then start with the tweaking the bike but in that order.

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Old 08-14-14, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54
You can't sensibly adjust the height of your saddle, that's dictated by leg length. You may be able to raise the bars by using spacers or a more steeply-angled stem. But first, I'd experiment with adjusting the saddle fore and aft. Unlike Trojan Horse, my first try would be moving the saddle forward a touch - just a few millimeters - to shorten the reach.
Flipping the stem so it was angled up then moving the seat forward a little took care of my numb hand syndrome.
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Old 08-17-14, 03:06 PM
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At this point I have moved the seat, raised the seat, tilted the bars etc... Everything now is back to its original fitting. I now went with a 11mm stem from the stock 10mm. I'm gonna go about 15mi tonight. So we'll see....
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Old 08-17-14, 05:28 PM
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I have been dealing with this for years. I figured I was doomed to always have tingling fingers. This week I tried holding my hand in different positions. I tried simulating what the ergot grips would do and then I moved my hand in near the center of the bars. I have hi-ride mountain bars so there isn't much in the middle. But I found that if I draped my hands over the brakes, it took longer for my hands to start tingling. I need to have my brakes/shifts moved towards the center and the grips moved as well. This is on my to-do list for my LBS.
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Old 08-17-14, 05:35 PM
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Do you ride on the hoods, sitting up? Do you get onto the drops occasionally? Altering your position on the bike during your ride might help your arm circulation out and get pressure off the nerves in your palm. Tingling is one of two things, circulation or nerve induced. Both are caused by pressure.
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Old 08-17-14, 06:09 PM
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My ideal spot are the hoods. When my hands are on the top portion of the bars, I don't seem to get maximum leg effort.
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