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Ways to improve low flexibility for stiff dude on bike

Old 04-02-22, 01:48 AM
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bikeamateur70
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Ways to improve low flexibility for stiff dude on bike

I'm a man, 51 years, who is in pretty good shape. Started cycling a few years ago. With a long and cold winter where I live, I cycle a lot on Zwift indoors. Now is the time to get out and I am struggling with neck pain that comes after about an hour of cycling. I have always had poor posture: Tucked back and low flexibility. Trying to reach my toes I am just about 10 cm below the knee. I assume looking straight ahead on the road is putting a lot of weight from the head on my neck/shoulders/back. When riding indoors I am watching more downwards on my ipad / laptop and experience no issues, even on sessions up to 3 hours. Is there anyone who has found good youtube channels or online programs that focus on stretching or yoga which actually is effective for us middle-aged people with low mobility? Have checked out GMB Fitness but its rather expensive. Been thinking of yoga classes but living in an area without the only a few classes not fitting my daily routines. Thats why online programs are better for me. But most of the youtube stuff does not work for those very stiff.

I am also working on getting a new bike and a better bike fit, but want to do something about that is the root of all evil. Uploading a photo I shot in the app Myvelofit.

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Old 04-02-22, 01:54 AM
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Picture of bike position

This is a picture made made from Myvelofit illustrating my position
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Old 04-02-22, 02:36 AM
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I used to experience the same neck pain on my first long outdoor rides at this time of year every year. The solution: I now do shortish ourdoor rides for a couple of weeks, gradually increasing ride duration. After that, I can do four and five hour rides with no neck discomfort. No stretching or yoga needed. (Same deal with early season saddle discomfort. No, the saddles I rode last season doesn't suddenly need to be replaced. I just gradually ramp up the miles.)
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Old 04-02-22, 02:49 AM
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Disclaimer: my main reference is me, so I have no firm idea of how applicable itíll be to you.
Iíve ĒalwaysĒ had less-than-average mobility in my lower back. And a L5 disc rupture certainly didnít help.
Iíve done yoga and targeted stretches for YEARS. And while that has made me more comfortable WITHIN my range of motion, it really hasnít added much. Basically, I get more use of the limited range I has, but I canít bend, stretch or reach any more than when I started.

It took me some seasons of aches and frustration before I realized that the average fitting rules may not apply to someone who hasnít got average range of motion or basic posture.

Now I ride a frame thatís supposedly too small, have the bars level with the saddle, and I ĒneverĒ use the drops.
Thatís good enough to manage full-day rides with no more than tolerable aches and pains, and Iím content to settle for that.
What has helped with upper back/neck issues is swimming(crawl) and the pole work that comes with Nordic Skiing.
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Old 04-02-22, 06:34 AM
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Yoga works for me. Just search beginner yoga on Youtube and you will find plenty of examples. I gain a lot of flexibility after a week or 2 but I have to stretch EVERY day. I also prefer stretching after getting my muscles warmed up after a ride. I'm 54 years old.
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Old 04-02-22, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by bikeamateur70 View Post
This is a picture made made from Myvelofit illustrating my position
The kyphotic hump in the upper back is definitely not right. It looks painful, and is obviously increasing the amount of neck extension required for that head position. I would think anything you could do to flatten that out would help. I'm no expert, but I'd start with exercises which promote hip flexion, e.g., leg stretches, and which strengthen the glutes and lower back, e.g., deadlifts and lunges. You also look like you're compensating for more reach than you can handle by dropping your shoulders, so you might also try a shorter stem.
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Old 04-02-22, 07:42 AM
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It's not really focused on range of motion, but I've felt that the foundation workout helps stability and posture. It was recommended to me by a road cycling coach.

I don't do anything except the 12min youtube video:
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Old 04-02-22, 12:03 PM
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Riding into pain will not work. Don’t do it. First do no harm.

From the photo your self-description of being in decent shape seems reasonable. Which means it should be possible to get out of this hole. If you can ride three hours indoors you are not even close to a hopeless case. Staring down at a handlebar mounted digital display for three hours is not going to help that kyphosis. You could start by riding indoors looking up.

Except for the kyphosis riding position looks OK. Try (I mean try, it is a possibility , not a prescription) putting the saddle down a little. Less leg extension might give a little free play to lower back. And ride above the brake hoods or even on the tops. If riding with hands above the hoods is immediately and obviously successful/less painful then go ahead and get a shorter stem.

Drop bars mean hard work for the neck. Cyclists plain have big thick necks. If your neck doesn’t cooperate you are not riding. Or you ride with flat bars.

Problem with online workouts is you need a good hands-on evaluation first.

Chiropracty is an obvious route for a stiff back. It works when it works. In an area where yoga classes are scarce you probably have fewer choices. Basic recommendation for chiropractors, or any other body work, is you feel better first time or you move on. Rolfing would be good for your problems if any rolfers are nearby. Again, you either feel better after first session or keep your money in your pocket.

If there is a sports orthopedist in your area make an appointment. Sports orthopedics is a board certified specialty. They do no surgery and work with physical therapists. Doing no surgery means they volunteered to make far less money than surgeons. A good beginning basis for trust. If there is a sports orthopedist available this is one they will fix.
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Old 04-02-22, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
The kyphotic hump in the upper back is definitely not right. It looks painful, and is obviously increasing the amount of neck extension required for that head position. I would think anything you could do to flatten that out would help. I'm no expert, but I'd start with exercises which promote hip flexion, e.g., leg stretches, and which strengthen the glutes and lower back, e.g., deadlifts and lunges. You also look like you're compensating for more reach than you can handle by dropping your shoulders, so you might also try a shorter stem.
I had a hunch someone would mention this. Good spot. I could see something was "wrong" but didn't quite process it. I wonder if this issue is just bike-fit, or persists? In any case, it seems like the obvious target to address.
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Old 04-02-22, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by bikeamateur70 View Post
I'm a man, 51 years, who is in pretty good shape. Started cycling a few years ago. With a long and cold winter where I live, I cycle a lot on Zwift indoors. Now is the time to get out and I am struggling with neck pain that comes after about an hour of cycling. I have always had poor posture: Tucked back and low flexibility. Trying to reach my toes I am just about 10 cm below the knee. I assume looking straight ahead on the road is putting a lot of weight from the head on my neck/shoulders/back. When riding indoors I am watching more downwards on my ipad / laptop and experience no issues, even on sessions up to 3 hours. Is there anyone who has found good youtube channels or online programs that focus on stretching or yoga which actually is effective for us middle-aged people with low mobility? Have checked out GMB Fitness but its rather expensive. Been thinking of yoga classes but living in an area without the only a few classes not fitting my daily routines. Thats why online programs are better for me. But most of the youtube stuff does not work for those very stiff.
I am also working on getting a new bike and a better bike fit, but want to do something about that is the root of all evil. Uploading a photo I shot in the app Myvelofit.
I would encourage you to continue your search and work to improve your overall flexibility.
Numbers aside, the image of you on the bike is quite average/common. But what is better (if you truly do this while riding) is working towards some elbow bend (as you already are) and certainly keeping the habit to allow your shoulders to relax and drop.
Your hip angle dictates a lot of what will happen in the upper torso and the hip angle is often dictated by your legs, torso (core) and of course, your back.
Yoga is a good way to gain flexibility and strength in the core. But much of what is seen in video is quick 'flow hatha yoga', which often doesn't work well for those who are not already flexible enough to go thru this type of session. Beginner or Senior yoga is a better way to do yoga for many. Work into a pose, as far as proves comfortable, and slowly 'soften' into the pose over some time (seconds...)
Much better than bouncing from one pose to the next.
Key to yoga, is a balance of poses which complement the prior poses - something which a good yoga instructor holds as the 'core' of the pose grouping they have their pupils do.
No reason why one can't 'follow' a yoga session and just pause the video as one goes into each pose. There's no downside to taking 'longer' and working into a pose slowly.
There are also good stretching instructions on the web - again, work into them slowly, after some 'warming' of yourself and the muscles. Don't 'push' too hard/far. All this works over an extended time, months and further... !/2 year after starting some consistent practice of either yoga or stretching, you will notice a sizable difference, and I would say 'improvement'.
If you can find 'in-person' yoga or stretching, of the type I noted above - that would be best ! Make it all an important daily routine, and you'll certainly be better, down the road.
Ride On
Yuri
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Old 04-02-22, 05:38 PM
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I found yoga helpful for increasing flexibility some which helped, but what helped more was increasing core strength. Doing daily planks solved my bike pain issues.
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