Lower back/Core muscles

phal44 Posts: 240
After any ride where I try to push myself I generally have quite sore lower back and lower core muscles. I guess they're not that sore really but definitely feel very tight but legs feel fine in comparison :|

I do try to stretch after the ride but it never seems to help as much as I wish it would!

Is there a guide somewhere on all the necessary stretches/exercises that can be done to help with mountain biking? It's been around 2 years I guess since I started riding again and the last year has been more. My legs and cardio are definitely getting better/stronger etc but back/core doesn't seem to be improving at the same rate it seems!

I'm a fairly big guy at 6'5 and 17stone ish so I guess my core has to work pretty hard to keep my body straight when my legs have to push me up steep hills! Just wondering if I'm missing anything I guess!


  • danlikesbikes
    danlikesbikes Posts: 3,898
    For what its worth I do the plank which if you don't know is similar to a pushup but you are down on your elbows/forearms as opposed to being up on your hands.

    The simple version is you hold your core tight and hold the position without lowering or arching your back. But there are loads of more advanced versions including switching over to each side and also a pike type move using an exercise ball (though I have a space hopper at home that gets used) or a foam roller.

    I know a couple uber fit people in my gym and asked them and they pointed me this way as I can do the exercise in the gym or at home & it engages the core muscles through the whole trunk of your body.

    Plus is your a tech-head there are loads of apps that you can download such as mens health etc are all good.
    Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.
  • Hi.
    I would be very carefull what excersises you do mate. I have just had a operation on my lower back after suffering 4 years of back trouble. Iam having physio once a week to build my core muscles back up, now the excersises I have been given are really easy compared to excersises for other parts of the body the reason being your core muscles are a specialist set of muscles that do one job only and thats to support your lower back.

    The best advice I personally can give you is to try Pilates ( yes I know its for old folk) but the moves you do in Pilates will strengthen your core muscles. Have a look for APPI (australian physio and pilates institute) website. These are top notch instructors all over the country doing coarses.

    Hope this helps.
  • nozzac
    nozzac Posts: 408
    Funnily enough I found pilates to irritate my sciatica a lot but I understand it can help some people.

    This article outlines the 3 major exercises recommended by Prof S.McGill: http://www.halfsquare.net/shetler_071505.php - I rate this guy because he is one of the few scientists and clinicians to actually produce primary research to back up his theories. He has measured spine loading and muscle activations etc etc to formulate theories and then tested them clinically on mostly sports people with serious back problems.

    I've read his clinical textbooks and the subject turns out to be pretty complicated because just strengthening a muscle will not help. The important thing in the lower back is stability under load and this involves lots of muscles working together all at the same time. If you think of a biceps curl - it's meant to exercise your biceps muscle but in fact in order to do this simple, single-joint exercise you need help from the muscles in your forearrm, shoulder, back, abs and legs if you're standing. All of them are working together to provide just the right amount of tension. Now think about your spine which has lots of bones and joints and it gets very complex.

    The answer, according to current research, appears to be keeping the lower back stable and stiff by practicing just that - static holds in a variety of positions rather than things like situps and curls which just train the abs to contract repeatedly - not a very useful skill and the action creates large compressive and shearing forces on the joints which can damage them.

    As a rule you don't want to be stretching your lower back at all unless you have good reason to believe you need to e.g. a physio telling you to. If you have back problems then the NHS will provide a physio for free. If it's just a bit of soreness then some stability exercises might help.

    As a long term back sufferer fed up with competing advice and getting scammed by chiropractors etc I've spend years reading most of the available, serious literature on the subject and found what works for me. I know that it can be quite specific between people so what works for you might be different.