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What does a "neutral back and shoulder" position mean to you?

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What does a "neutral back and shoulder" position mean to you?

Old 02-17-15, 08:42 AM
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MoonJW
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What does a "neutral back and shoulder" position mean to you?

I'm an intermediate road rider, decent with the fundamentals of bike fit and fitness but far from my goals. I've been wondering about what a "neutral back and shoulder" position means to different people.

Do you consciously try to maintain a flat lower back throughout long rides, or do you tend to change up the location of your back's arc?

And, related, do you stretch your shoulders fore and aft, or do you try to maintain the same position? One position allows you to stretch out, and the other gives you more control on the bike and relaxes the shoulders and upper back.

Obviously there's no hard and fast rule, but my goal is endurance riding and longevity (as in age). I'm curious about how people's fit adapt within a long ride. I want to minimize stress and damage to my lower back.
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Old 02-17-15, 06:08 PM
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You should be between the 2 below.

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Old 02-17-15, 07:11 PM
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You should roll your pelvis forward and straighten your back. As you roll your pelvis forward, you'll feel your sit bones coming into firmer contact with the saddle. That's what you want. Don't hollow your back either, like the second image, but really no one does that. Your upper arms should make ~90° angle with your torso. Your arms and shoulders should be relaxed, not held in any position. Some riders pull their shoulders up around their ears. Don't do that.

On a long ride, one's position can deteriorate. Every now and again, I'll check my position and all its components. When pilots fly on instruments, they make a constant sweep of their gauges, checking them all in a certain order. That's what you do on a long ride. You constantly check every element of your position and technique.
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Old 02-18-15, 07:23 AM
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I'm not sure what "neutral back and shoulder" means, but I like to put my upper body into the yoga position tadasana, aka mountain pose (this can be Googled for a much better description than I can give). Straight back, shoulders/ears/hips aligned, pelvis rotated (folded in the groins) for no bend at the waist. It seems easier, and the chest stays open for breathing. It is midway between the two positions LGHT shows.
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Old 02-18-15, 08:53 AM
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Also, change positions from time to time. Don't try to freeze yourself into one position for a long time.
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Old 02-18-15, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Also, change positions from time to time. Don't try to freeze yourself into one position for a long time.
Ahh that's a good tip. I do it without even realizing it. I go from neutral, to the drops often. I also take my hands off the bars from time to time and just ride straight up. During that time I'll put my hands outward and pull them upward and forward almost like a tai chi move. I do this several times until my back feels stretched out and loose.

Be careful riding without your hands on the bars and doing stretches as any little pebble / rut in the road can cause your bars to turn and if your not good you can go down pretty quickly.
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