Stitch? — BikeRadar
Road cycling forum
Training, fitness and health
edited July 2010
Training, fitness and health
On a couple of rides recently i've started to get a stitch in my gut(right hand side).
What causes it? And how do i stop getting one?
When you feel a stitch coming try taking in a very deep breath and hold it for a good few seconds, breathe out and repeat 4/5 times. Works for me.
When I feel a stitch coming on I get off my bike straight away, have a sit down and have a cup of tea and a slice of cake. Works a treat but a pain when you're racing.
I get a stitch if I've eaten too much before my time trial or not left enough time for it to "go down" I now tend not to eat too much or too close to race time.
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i get this sometimes and i just usually back off the pace for a few miles and it goes away, unless i,m on for a good time then i,ll just take the pain especially if its only a 10-15 mile ride as its only ever a temporary thing.
I posted this reply on another thread, this is my solution...read on...
I had exactly the same problem. I was quite concerned as I considered myself fairly fit. I raced mountain bikes at expert level for 13 years, then stopped racing but carried on riding. For the past 12 months I have been training properly again to start racing on the road, and I started getting stitch occasionally which had never happened before. I only get it in maybe one in every 7 or 8 rides, and generally when giving it some onions uphilll.
There seemed to be no real pattern to it, I varied the time that I ate before riding, used plain water or energy drinks etc, I couldn't replicate it. Isotonic drinks had no positive or negaitive effect for me.
As I couldn't prevent it, I started to look for ways to deal with it. I think it may have been on this forum that I found the best advice. Having read a lot around the subject, there seems to be no real certainty about the causes of stitch, but this is the solution that works for me every time.
When I feel it coming on or it suddenly appears, I take a very, very deep breath and exhale hard through my mouth, forcing every last drop of air out of the bottom of my lungs, repeat this 3 times. hey presto, no more stitch!
I have now perfected this technique so that as soon as I feel it coming on I carry this process out (sometimes one deep breath and hard exhale does it), and it prevents it coming on any further. I have also started to make sure my breathing is very even and deep when working hard on the bike, as this definitely helps with preventing it coming on at all. I have actually found that concentrating on my breathing, making sure I breath deeply and evenly is the biggest preventative factor.
Now that I am racing more I find it only generally comes on when I am in the last couple of miles and the pace is very fast. I have bought a powerbreathe in an attempt to strengthen my abdominal muscles. It is defintely helping, but I still don't really know the cause of my stitch.
I get this too. I think that in my case it's caused by shallow breathing and/or being tense during big/sustained efforts- stitch is usually explained as a cramping of the diaphragm.
As posted above, practice deep breathing and if stitch occurs do 'belly breathing' - push the stomach out as you breathe (deeply) in. Also, stretch that part of you body whilst rolling - arch your back whilst leaning leftwards. But certainly pay attention to your breathing pattern and gradually this'll become second nature.
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