One of the most effective low impact ways to stay fit, get great cardio, center your mind while having fun is cycling. But just like any activities involving body movements, it is not free from the occurrence of injury and pain. Most cycling pain occurs due to poor bike fit or improper riding technique thus it is important to have your bicycle checked regularly, adjusted and proportioned to your body because it could prevent certain mishaps. When accidents and injuries happen, as a precautionary move, examine the level of pain of the person. It could just be a minor scratch or perhaps a broken bone, either the two it is still a protocol to have it checked.
Underlying circumstances may also allow an injured person to follow these simple strategies to take to help ease your cycling pain naturally, understand your problems, so you can avoid surgery, painkiller dependence and missing out on life. Some of these tips work over time, and others may work instantly.
Take the Challenge
Be Strong to Cycle Strong
It is so important to do FOCUSED core, hip, glute, quad and hamstring strengthening exercises. This will help protect and stabilize your joints. Start with some planks, squats, lunges and chicken wings today! (Check out our YouTube channel for great advice & exercises!)
Stretch & Roll it Out
You can only be as strong as you are flexible and have the range to move in. Being rounded forward while looking down or forward on your bike can make you prone to muscle cramps, pulls or numbness in your hands or legs. Avoid this by stretching and rolling out your back, legs and calves.
Try Pilates to help train your core while gaining the flexibility you need to keep you balanced, riding pain free and strong for years to come.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day, during and after your rides. Your joints, muscles and ligaments NEED it! This can help you avoid fatigue, muscle cramps and strains.
Increase Your Mileage.. Gradually!
Don’t let work, stress and training schedules cause you to “push it” or “make-up” for missed mileage before your body is strong enough and able to meet the demands. Listen to your body not to the clock, calendar or pressure from others to keep up on group rides!
Don’t Forget To Warm-up and Cool down
A 15 minute warm-up and cool down can flush out the lactic acid build up in your muscles, which causes them to be stiff and prone to injury. Your body will thank you!
Gains Are Made on Rest Days: Cross Training is Key!
Your muscles and joints need a break from the intensity and frequency of your rides, if you do higher impact rides and challenging coursework- this is even more important.
Try taking 1-2 days off to let your back, hips and knees recover. We recommend cross training and doing Pilates or swimming. To speed up recovery time and enhance your performance, regular manual therapy is CRITICAL! It helps to restore your body, prevent compensations and imbalances to become aches, pain, injuries and limit your ability to enjoy cycling for many more years to come.
We can only be as strong as our body and joints have the ability and range to smoothly move. Cycling requires the use of our big, dominant muscle flexors of the body. The rounded forward position on the bike is further compounded by our daily postures and activities, sitting, driving and sleeping that makes us prone to being really tight. Which is why abdominal, back and hip stabilizing exercises are so important to balance the compressive forces on our joints. The muscles of the abs and back I consider your “primary” core and the muscles of your hips and pelvis are your “secondary” core. When they work together and are balanced in strength and flexibility you will discover the KEY to health and a pain-free unrestricted life.
A low impact, controlled form of exercise that can support and promote proper posture and alignment of your spine, hips and pelvis like Pilates is the BEST! This is why we utilize this method with our patients and clients to prevent or find freedom from back and sciatica pain. It is critical to work with an expert instructor, which is why our Pilates Instructors are either trained by Movement Specialist and Physical Therapy Specialists.
Don’t Be Stopped by Numb Hands or Feet
The prolonged rounded forward position puts EXTREME pressure on the joints, discs and nerves of your neck and lower back. By shifting positions, stretching your neck and back, performing postural re-sets and gentle nerve stretches you can avoid numbness while in and out of the saddle. (We’ve got videos for you!)
Bike Fit & Form
You are unique and your bike should work for NOT against you. Get your bike fit and re-checked regularly, our bodies change over time and we need our bikes to work with us. It is also critical to identify and correct imbalances and compensations that may have developed with core, hip, leg and balance exercises.
Monitor High Impact Rides
The challenge of unpredictable course or climbs may be fun but it puts a lot of pressure and force on your back, knees and ankles. If mountain biking and long climbs are your preference it is critical your body can meet this demand and is allowed to recover appropriately.
Change It Up: Terrain and Mileage
Balance is the key. Too much of one thing is never good, so change up the length of your rides, climbing, downhill, high impact or mountain trails. Mix up your rides daily and weekly and make sure you are doing the necessary cross training, stretching and getting regular manual therapy to keep you pain and injury free!
The fastest and BEST way to SOLVE your cycling pain is to see a Movement Specialist that is an expert in this area. Movement Specialists are trained to assess movement patterns, postural dysfunction, joint restrictions, soft tissue restrictions and nerve restrictions that are contributing to your riding pain and keeping you from being active like you want.
They will be able to assess what is actually wrong, what are the options to fix it naturally, how long it will take to fix it and keep it from ever coming back again. Their customized plan and program will be designed to give you the relief you want quickly and get you back to the activities you love without fear or limitation.
Are you finding yourself worried about starting up cycling or spin class for the first time, have been told you have bad joints and shouldn’t cycle or maybe you have experienced cycling pain and injuries in the past? Or have you set a new training goal?
Most people deal with pain or discomfort during their lifetime. The problem is that most of them allow the problem to get WORSE before looking for a solution.
We hope this information has given your some ideas of HOW to ease riding the pain and AVOID making it any WORSE.
Our hope is that you feel empowered to make the decision to do something and know what to do next for your cycling pain.
If you are currently dealing with any aches, pains, not performing like you want or find yourself being held back, whether it is new or something nagging, we are more than happy to talk to you about your personal situation. We offer a FREE phone consultation so that you can be confident in taking the next step to relieve your cycling pain.
It only takes a few minutes for us to get an idea of what might be causing your current situation, frustration and worries. It’s a great way to get to know you better and for you to tell us more about what is going on, what you want to accomplish or perhaps avoid.
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