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Lower back pain - bike set up wrong or normal?

petemadocpetemadoc Posts: 2,667
edited October 2010 in Road beginners
I'm upping my ride distances slowly and now regularly do 50 miles at a time. Problem is after about 2 hours I get lower back pain and it makes things more difficult. My legs feel quite good and could definitely go further.

Is this something to do with the way my bikes is set up? Anyone have a solution or is it just part of distance cycling?


  • furragfurrag Posts: 481
    I recently bought a new bike with a more aggressive position. I had to flip the stem up for 2 weeks and combine that with stretching before the pain subsided on rides. I've flipped it back and through continuing the stretching I am now fine.

    Search Google for stretches (or use this, and perhaps think about combining that with a little core strengthening too?
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,173
    Saddle to high will cause your hips to rock - resulting in low back pain - a few mm adjustment can make a surprising amount of difference.

    +1 for the stretching. - especially the hamstrings - if these get tight they pull on your back and can give all sorts of problems
  • macondo01macondo01 Posts: 706
    edited October 2010
    It could be a weakness in your back, it could be set up, it could be conditioning (but you have been building up the miles).

    I would try stretches before and after riding but there's stuff you can do on the way like trying to get some flex or movement into your back while riding. I try and get some flex into my back by holding the tops and trying to get a wave into my lower back, or sitting up for a while, or when out of the saddle on the pedals getting some lateral movement (that snaking motion you can see in some riders spines). You can of course stop and stretch en route. For me problems happen when my back is static and a part of it is over working (my lower back).

    You could also try strengthening your Core muscles with pilates.

    On a positive note cycling has definitely helped my back to be pain free.
    "Let not the sands of time get in your lunch"

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  • danowatdanowat Posts: 2,877
    Tight hamstrings definately have an impact on lower back pain for me.

    So I'd agree with the above, streching (particularly hams) and core strength work.
  • SmirfSmirf Posts: 123
    Also stretch your glutes too. I find that muscle group along with hamstrings exacerbate my aches

    Stretching and work on the core muscles, as my physio keeps telling me!
    Parlee Altum - "summer"
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  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,475 Lives Here
    It's pretty standard.
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    I don't get it with distance

    I get it with hill climbing if I am not in top shape

    Core exercises definitely help
  • The only time in the past when I got back pain in my lower back was due to me moving the saddle up a little higher. Also, I got the pain was I was hill climbing thus using the core body muscles i.e. the lower back.
    Try lowering the saddle a touch and see if that improves or find some stretches and exercises to do to strengthen your core.
  • petemadocpetemadoc Posts: 2,667
    Thanks for all the advice.

    I'm going to try lowering the saddle a touch. I feel my pedal action was pretty smooth but when pushing a bit harder maybe I was rocking a bit. Will also try out some core exercises.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    FFS stretching your hamstrings to fix lower back pain is a WASTE OF TIME.

    You need to stretch out your hip flexors and combine that with glute activation exercises to sort out the root cause of your inflexibility.

    That way your glute will be taking more of the load rather than your back.

    However, generally the best advice you will receive on here is that we cannot diagnose the cause without seeing you in motion on the bike, and most of us do not have the relevant qualifications to diagnose you even if we did see you. Go and see a good sports physio with experience of cycling/get a proper bike fit and have a professional sort out your problems.
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