Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Training & Nutrition
Reload this Page >

Do hills give you lower back pain?

Notices
Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

Do hills give you lower back pain?

Old 05-22-20, 03:18 AM
  #1  
eaglesandcycling
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
eaglesandcycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 78

Bikes: 2019 Trek Checkpoint ALR5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 49 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 10 Posts
Do hills give you lower back pain?

I've recently been riding a lot more than ever before, for about the last month or 2. I ride a gravel bike and am doing on average 4 rides a week from 40-80km a ride and usually with elevations from 300 to over 1000meters (i ride in both the woods and roads). I do notice though that my lower back tends to hurt when climbing. I'm 47 and in very good condition. If anyone has such issues, how have you dealt with this?
eaglesandcycling is offline  
Old 05-22-20, 06:08 AM
  #2  
Lemond1985
Sophomore Member
 
Lemond1985's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 2,547
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1543 Post(s)
Liked 911 Times in 559 Posts
Try standing up for a few pedal strokes.

I have had a lot of low back pain over 50 years of riding, and the best solution I have been able to come up with, is to alter my climbing style slightly, so that my back stays straight, while climbing in the saddle. What this does, is utilize the glutes, the largest muscle in the body, instead of the lower back, as happens when you fatigue and start riding with a rounded back.





I've found that when I'm really fatigued is when i need to work on this the most, because my natural tendency is to slouch when tired, and what this does is start using the lower back to pedal instead of the glutes. If the climb is long enough, I probably WILL fatigue and start slouching a bit. But i try to climb with a straight back as long as i can. Not only is it more efficient muscle-wise, I think I can get more air into the lugs as well.

You can use your lower back to pedal if you want, but I think it's very bad for the back and will probably result in pain and eventual misalignment, IMO. Try it out.
Lemond1985 is offline  
Likes For Lemond1985:
Old 05-22-20, 06:26 AM
  #3  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 24,862

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 103 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3721 Post(s)
Liked 845 Times in 589 Posts
I have not but while I was still going to the gym before the virus I was doing some yoga stretches specifically for my back due to a bad strain many years ago. I feel like they were beneficial. I should be doing them still, at home, but I stink at home exercise. you might try to dig up 5 or 6 of those & try them for a cpl weeks to see if they help. they were easy to find

Last edited by rumrunn6; 05-23-20 at 06:10 AM.
rumrunn6 is offline  
Old 05-22-20, 06:28 AM
  #4  
eaglesandcycling
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
eaglesandcycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 78

Bikes: 2019 Trek Checkpoint ALR5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 49 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Try standing up for a few pedal strokes.

I have had a lot of low back pain over 50 years of riding, and the best solution I have been able to come up with, is to alter my climbing style slightly, so that my back stays straight, while climbing in the saddle. What this does, is utilize the glutes, the largest muscle in the body, instead of the lower back, as happens when you fatigue and start riding with a rounded back.





I've found that when I'm really fatigued is when i need to work on this the most, because my natural tendency is to slouch when tired, and what this does is start using the lower back to pedal instead of the glutes. If the climb is long enough, I probably WILL fatigue and start slouching a bit. But i try to climb with a straight back as long as i can. Not only is it more efficient muscle-wise, I think I can get more air into the lugs as well.

You can use your lower back to pedal if you want, but I think it's very bad for the back and will probably result in pain and eventual misalignment, IMO. Try it out.
.......Nice! Thanks for the reply and input. I'll try standing more on climbs and just be more aware of my slouching when exhausted. Love the pic too!
eaglesandcycling is offline  
Old 05-22-20, 09:17 AM
  #5  
Iride01
Hits [ENTER] b4 thinking
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 4,671

Bikes: '20 Tarmac Disc Comp '91 Schwinn Paramount '78 Raleigh Competition GS

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1768 Post(s)
Liked 623 Times in 477 Posts
I don't know, my typical ride is up and down constant hills of 30, 40 and 50 feet, maybe an occasional 100 ft climb that's not steep.

For things like back pain, any time I get an inkling of such, I'll start doing exercises and things that strengthen my back muscles. But I do them off the bike.

Increasing your time on the bike significantly or increasing most any other exercise will almost always will bring up some issues. Sometimes it's just your body rebelling till it gets used to it, or other times something you might have to change like posture both in and out of the seat. Are you hunched over when you climb that hill with your back in a big tight curve? Straining in too big a gear?

Some do like to climb while standing, but I don't like to climb in high gears and my cadence while climbing is too fast to stand until I run out of gears and the grade gets over 10%. There are only a few places here to find that steep a climb and they are only briefly that steep. Maybe over in Vicksburg and Natchez, but not here.
Iride01 is online now  
Old 05-22-20, 10:58 AM
  #6  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 16,641

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 103 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2519 Post(s)
Liked 569 Times in 420 Posts
Uh, yup. IMO it's because your back needs strengthening. The posterior chain runs all the way up to our shoulder blades. I also try to hold my back straight on climbs and everywhere else. I tend to climb a lot on the tops to make that easier and to open my chest. To illustrate the posterior chain issue, the most successful single lift to work one's hams in the gym is the stiff legged deadlift. One can feel that all the way to the shoulder blades, hams, glutes, back. A fun quick thing one can do is to google "posterior chain" and choose Images.

So what I do is to try to strengthen my posterior chain in the gym. I used the back machine with heavy weights every visit, adjusting it so my knees are bent which works the glutes and hame, this kind of thing:

plus deadlifts, and other back work. Can't do that now, so I do floor work to the same end. Pushups, planks, side planks, twisting side planks. If you have anything handy for it, you can do kettle ball swings. A couple long sets of that will also make a difference. That's my strategy, just keep at it.
Standing for a bit does give your back a rest, though sooner or later the quads give out and no more standing. That only takes a couple thousand feet for me now, working on it.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 05-22-20, 12:56 PM
  #7  
Lemond1985
Sophomore Member
 
Lemond1985's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 2,547
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1543 Post(s)
Liked 911 Times in 559 Posts
I was thinking about this today while climbing, how everyone knows that "bad lifting" can hurt your back, where you use your back to lift instead of your legs. Climbing is much the same way, you can injure your back just as easily from poor posture on climbs, as you can as you can lifting something heavy the wrong way, especially if you use bad form repetitively while lifting.

I like planks for my back, combined with avoiding stretching or extreme twisting motions. IMO, the back should not be stretched. From my experience, discs and vertabrae can become loose and misaligned from stretching. It should stand tall and strong, like a tree trunk, and not be loose and flexible like a bag of bones.

Last edited by Lemond1985; 05-22-20 at 01:02 PM.
Lemond1985 is offline  
Old 05-22-20, 04:35 PM
  #8  
ZHVelo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Posts: 425
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 257 Post(s)
Liked 123 Times in 84 Posts
Try deadlifts and changing your sleeping (I am convinced that since I started sleeping with a pillow between my knees, my lower back issues have improved).

Also, go in a lower gear. Grinding uphill in a high gear definitely hits my lower back.
ZHVelo is offline  
Old 05-22-20, 04:43 PM
  #9  
Trakhak
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 2,215
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 613 Post(s)
Liked 259 Times in 176 Posts
Over the years, I've experienced the same thing, but for me it seems to be a consequence of being too eager about upping my mileage (and not taking enough rest days). Ease off on the mileage, take some rest days, and your back should be fine.
Trakhak is online now  
Old 05-22-20, 05:02 PM
  #10  
alo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 430
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 191 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 92 Times in 70 Posts
As others have said: Improve your posture. Keep your back straighter. That is pull your belly in. You can do this while cycling, and even at other times, such as while walking. In the beginning, you may have to make a conscious effort to do it. After some time, it may come more naturally. You will find you are using some different muscles, and need to build up the strength of them.

Also abdominal strengthening exercises. You can do these by lying on your back and raising your legs. You can look on the internet for other abdominal exercises.
alo is offline  
Old 05-22-20, 06:59 PM
  #11  
bruce19
Senior Member
 
bruce19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lebanon (Liberty Hill), CT
Posts: 7,394

Bikes: CAAD 12, MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1266 Post(s)
Liked 610 Times in 366 Posts
No. Unless you're asking if hills are a PITA. Then, yes.
bruce19 is offline  
Old 05-22-20, 08:51 PM
  #12  
CAT7RDR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Hacienda Hgts
Posts: 810

Bikes: 1999 Schwinn Peloton Ultegra 10, Kestrel RT-1000 Ultegra, Trek Marlin 6 Deore 29'er

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 273 Post(s)
Liked 481 Times in 280 Posts
By lower back pain do you mean spasms or just soreness from overuse? If it is spasms, you may want to consider seeing a DC for an adjustment. If normal soreness from exertion, Rest, Ice, Compression and Massage.
CAT7RDR is online now  
Old 05-22-20, 11:03 PM
  #13  
ooga-booga
lead on, macduff!
 
ooga-booga's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: san diego (uni/normal heights), california
Posts: 5,600

Bikes: 85 pinarello treviso steel, 88 nishiki olympic steel. 95 look kg 131 carbon, 11 trek madone 5.2 carbon

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 809 Post(s)
Liked 698 Times in 397 Posts
as a lower back pain casualty (bulging disc, sciatica, general discomfort. spasms), i find standing just to stand and count out
30 or 50 or 75 pedal revolution strokes every 5 mins or so helps on climbs over 3 miles.
ooga-booga is offline  
Old 05-23-20, 12:24 AM
  #14  
eaglesandcycling
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
eaglesandcycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 78

Bikes: 2019 Trek Checkpoint ALR5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 49 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
as a lower back pain casualty (bulging disc, sciatica, general discomfort. spasms), i find standing just to stand and count out
30 or 50 or 75 pedal revolution strokes every 5 mins or so helps on climbs over 3 miles.
great. thank you for the input! iíll try it
eaglesandcycling is offline  
Old 05-23-20, 12:25 AM
  #15  
eaglesandcycling
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
eaglesandcycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 78

Bikes: 2019 Trek Checkpoint ALR5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 49 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
By lower back pain do you mean spasms or just soreness from overuse? If it is spasms, you may want to consider seeing a DC for an adjustment. If normal soreness from exertion, Rest, Ice, Compression and Massage.
just soreness. i assume just overuse as iíve been riding so much more lately.
eaglesandcycling is offline  
Old 05-23-20, 12:28 AM
  #16  
eaglesandcycling
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
eaglesandcycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 78

Bikes: 2019 Trek Checkpoint ALR5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 49 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by alo View Post
As others have said: Improve your posture. Keep your back straighter. That is pull your belly in. You can do this while cycling, and even at other times, such as while walking. In the beginning, you may have to make a conscious effort to do it. After some time, it may come more naturally. You will find you are using some different muscles, and need to build up the strength of them.

Also abdominal strengthening exercises. You can do these by lying on your back and raising your legs. You can look on the internet for other abdominal exercises.

good ideas and thoughts. thanks. yah i do notice when climbing or even just riding flat (if i have the pain) if i suck in my stomach and strengthen my core in that moment, the pain subsides.
eaglesandcycling is offline  
Old 05-23-20, 12:32 AM
  #17  
eaglesandcycling
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
eaglesandcycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 78

Bikes: 2019 Trek Checkpoint ALR5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 49 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Over the years, I've experienced the same thing, but for me it seems to be a consequence of being too eager about upping my mileage (and not taking enough rest days). Ease off on the mileage, take some rest days, and your back should be fine.
yah. iíve been pretty bad about that honestly. i need to lay off slightly. i recently found Strava and have found so many amazing routes i wanna ride a ton clearly i need a break.
eaglesandcycling is offline  
Old 05-23-20, 12:34 AM
  #18  
eaglesandcycling
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
eaglesandcycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 78

Bikes: 2019 Trek Checkpoint ALR5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 49 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
Try deadlifts and changing your sleeping (I am convinced that since I started sleeping with a pillow between my knees, my lower back issues have improved).

Also, go in a lower gear. Grinding uphill in a high gear definitely hits my lower back.
good advice. thank you!
eaglesandcycling is offline  
Old 05-23-20, 12:37 AM
  #19  
eaglesandcycling
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
eaglesandcycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 78

Bikes: 2019 Trek Checkpoint ALR5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 49 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I have not but while I was still going to the gym before the virus I was doing some yoga stretches specifically for my back due to a bad strain many years ago. you might to dig up 5 or 6 of those & try them for a cpl weeks to see if they help. they were easy to find
great ideas. thx! iíll give a try
eaglesandcycling is offline  
Old 05-23-20, 02:07 AM
  #20  
eaglesandcycling
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
eaglesandcycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 78

Bikes: 2019 Trek Checkpoint ALR5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 49 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I don't know, my typical ride is up and down constant hills of 30, 40 and 50 feet, maybe an occasional 100 ft climb that's not steep.

For things like back pain, any time I get an inkling of such, I'll start doing exercises and things that strengthen my back muscles. But I do them off the bike.

Increasing your time on the bike significantly or increasing most any other exercise will almost always will bring up some issues. Sometimes it's just your body rebelling till it gets used to it, or other times something you might have to change like posture both in and out of the seat. Are you hunched over when you climb that hill with your back in a big tight curve? Straining in too big a gear?

Some do like to climb while standing, but I don't like to climb in high gears and my cadence while climbing is too fast to stand until I run out of gears and the grade gets over 10%. There are only a few places here to find that steep a climb and they are only briefly that steep. Maybe over in Vicksburg and Natchez, but not here.

yah, i must be slightly hunched over when climbing. I need to start standing a bit on climbs. it must be the increase of riding i've done that has caused this pain. hope i can sort it out soon..
eaglesandcycling is offline  
Old 05-23-20, 07:03 AM
  #21  
wolfchild
Senior Member
 
wolfchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
Posts: 6,377

Bikes: I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1912 Post(s)
Liked 611 Times in 331 Posts
Start doing some exercises which strengthen your core and posterior chain muscles.
wolfchild is offline  
Old 05-23-20, 07:57 AM
  #22  
Drew Eckhardt 
Senior Member
 
Drew Eckhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Mountain View, CA USA and Golden, CO USA
Posts: 6,224

Bikes: 97 Litespeed, 50-39-30x13-26 10 cogs, Campagnolo Ultrashift, retroreflective rims on SON28/PowerTap hubs

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 496 Post(s)
Liked 232 Times in 171 Posts
Originally Posted by carminepraha View Post
I've recently been riding a lot more than ever before, for about the last month or 2. I ride a gravel bike and am doing on average 4 rides a week from 40-80km a ride and usually with elevations from 300 to over 1000meters (i ride in both the woods and roads). I do notice though that my lower back tends to hurt when climbing. I'm 47 and in very good condition. If anyone has such issues, how have you dealt with this?
After I got my bike fit my muscles were sore climbing until I dropped my saddle 3mm.

That was the case with a moderate effort seated pedaling at just 150W and at least 60 RPM.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 05-24-20 at 03:21 PM.
Drew Eckhardt is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.