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Old 08-02-2022, 02:05 PM
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Back Soreness

So thought I would pulse the collective here.. I will say it sucks being off the bike for ~10 yrs and then coming back with all of your preconceived notions of how your fitness, etc should be..

Up front, I will say I realize I need to ride more and gain more core strength..

Having said that, I had an observation that led to a "am I doing it right?" question..

At 5'9" with a true 31" inseam, I have short legs for my height.. most traditional saddle height formulas have me around a 68cm saddle height. When I have my saddle at 68cm, I will typically get soreness in my lower back, right above/at where I bend forward. If I lower my saddle height, the pain goes away..

so that's good you say, the pain is gone! well, at that saddle height I have, what I assume, is too much knee bend at the bottom of my pedal stroke..

could I just have a wonky body mechanics thing going on? Do I just need to ride more and gain core strength and eventually raise my saddle back to ~68cm?

The other weird thing is I tend to have to push my saddle pretty far back on the rails (with a set-back post) to get to a point where I don't get numbness in my hands.. again, I realize some of that is core strength..

Thoughts?
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Last edited by fourflys; 08-02-2022 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 08-02-2022, 02:17 PM
Turkle Turkle is offline
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Here's been my experience, with saddle and back:

Saddle too low: lower back hurts, quads activate too much, not enough glutes and hamstrings firing during pedal stroke

Saddle too far back: middle and sides of back hurts, possibility of obliques hurting right under the armpits from pedaling motion

Saddle too far forward: feeling of falling forward onto the handlebars due to lack of support from saddle over the pedals, neck and upper back pain

Saddle too high: too much leg extension causes rocking motion, this one is really obvious

So for me, back issues have been because I'm too far back or too low. Recently I went out for a ride and my back was bothering me. I whipped out the multitool and raised the seat 1 cm or so. All issues stopped and had a great ride.

Good luck!
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Old 08-02-2022, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turkle View Post
Here's been my experience, with saddle and back:

Saddle too low: lower back hurts, quads activate too much, not enough glutes and hamstrings firing during pedal stroke

Saddle too far back: middle and sides of back hurts, possibility of obliques hurting right under the armpits from pedaling motion

Saddle too far forward: feeling of falling forward onto the handlebars due to lack of support from saddle over the pedals, neck and upper back pain

Saddle too high: too much leg extension causes rocking motion, this one is really obvious

So for me, back issues have been because I'm too far back or too low. Recently I went out for a ride and my back was bothering me. I whipped out the multitool and raised the seat 1 cm or so. All issues stopped and had a great ride.

Good luck!
interesting.. thanks!
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Old 08-03-2022, 10:42 AM
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there's gotta be some other thoughts on this as well?!
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Old 08-03-2022, 04:16 PM
mcallen mcallen is offline
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I can't help too much with fit (see my recent post), but I'll just say that it's hard to go wrong with building core stability. After my back injury, I started doing daily core stability work (McGill's Big 3, planks, bracing, and Foundation training), and stopped doing "gym bro" core strength for abs like sit ups and Russian twists.
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Old 08-03-2022, 04:57 PM
Peter P. Peter P. is offline
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Originally Posted by fourflys View Post
The other weird thing is I tend to have to push my saddle pretty far back on the rails (with a set-back post) to get to a point where I don't get numbness in my hands.. again, I realize some of that is core strength..

Thoughts?
I say it's your saddle setback. Your hip angle is too closed.

This was my problem for over 20 years.

Once I slid my saddle forward from full rear to roughly mid-span, all that pain was gone.

Adjusting your saddle fore/aft to treat hand numbness is wrong. Raise your stem, get a higher rise stem, get a frame with a taller stack height.
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Old 08-03-2022, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Peter P. View Post
I say it's your saddle setback. Your hip angle is too closed.

This was my problem for over 20 years.

Once I slid my saddle forward from full rear to roughly mid-span, all that pain was gone.

Adjusting your saddle fore/aft to treat hand numbness is wrong. Raise your stem, get a higher rise stem, get a frame with a taller stack height.
that would make sense as I know my saddle should normally be roughly in the middle of the rails on a properly sized bike..
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Old 08-04-2022, 12:47 PM
derosa_guy derosa_guy is offline
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My recommendation...do 2 weeks of basic core exercises and stretching before messing around with your position. Everytime my back starts to bother me when I ride, I realize I've been slacking off on my core. Couple of mornings of exercises and I'm good to go.
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Old 08-05-2022, 08:02 AM
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Mr B Mr B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcallen View Post
I can't help too much with fit (see my recent post), but I'll just say that it's hard to go wrong with building core stability. After my back injury, I started doing daily core stability work (McGill's Big 3, planks, bracing, and Foundation training), and stopped doing "gym bro" core strength for abs like sit ups and Russian twists.
^This, plus consider riding with your pelvis rotated forward more (if you can) to alleviate the load on your lumbar, lift your chest and protect your spine. This might cause you to go on a journey to find a new favourite saddle (as it did for me), and perhaps use a longer stem.
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Old 08-05-2022, 12:43 PM
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^This, plus consider riding with your pelvis rotated forward more (if you can) to alleviate the load on your lumbar, lift your chest and protect your spine. This might cause you to go on a journey to find a new favourite saddle (as it did for me), and perhaps use a longer stem.
I totally plan to start working on the core for sure, and your other points above are well taken.

Thanks!
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Old 08-05-2022, 06:04 PM
Peter P. Peter P. is offline
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I totally plan to start working on the core for sure, and your other points above are well taken.

Thanks!
Report back and tell us if any advice worked.
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Old 09-03-2022, 09:00 PM
jc031699 jc031699 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter P. View Post
I say it's your saddle setback. Your hip angle is too closed.

This was my problem for over 20 years.

Once I slid my saddle forward from full rear to roughly mid-span, all that pain was gone.

Adjusting your saddle fore/aft to treat hand numbness is wrong. Raise your stem, get a higher rise stem, get a frame with a taller stack height.
Totally agree with this. I have a carbon ritchey outback breakaway that has a notoriously low stack. I had max spacers and a 80mm stem (low trail), consistent low back pain and neck pain. I went to a +17deg 90mm stem, same spacers, and suddenly found that my butt wanted to be 1cm forward on the seat. Moved my seat forward, neck pain and low back pain gone.

It was eye opening to see that increasing bar height made me move my butt forward.
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Old 09-17-2022, 05:07 AM
callmeishmael callmeishmael is offline
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Happened to mention back pain to a bike fitter when my wife got fit last week (her problems are saddle and knee issues).

He said that while it's complex, everyone is different, etc etc in terms of fit, for back pain you're generally looking at at least 1 of the following:

1. Too much reach (#1 culprit, especially when combined with #3 below)
2. Too much setback (related to #1, but can on its own cause a hip angle which is too acute to allow proper pelvic rotation and the lumbar spine makes up the slack)
3. Saddle which won't allow proper pelvic rotation (so lumbar spine does the same as #2).
4. Saddle too high (causes rocking and again, won't allow pelvic rotation - the body will always instinctively move away from pain/pressure).

So with all the caveats above, starting with the saddle, and possibly knocking 10mm off the reach, wouldn't be a bad place to start. And building core strength can't hurt.

Slightly OT, but his view was that if you got someone on the right saddle, at the right height, with roughly the right setback, you usually had quite a lot of wiggle room at the front end of the bike, which I thought was interesting. And a saddle up to 15mm low wasn't in his view a disaster, provided you didn't have hip impingement.

A rider with long legs for their height, with one longer than the other, who is heavy has and an impinged hip, is apparently the nightmare fitting scenario

Last edited by callmeishmael; 09-17-2022 at 05:12 AM.
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  #14  
Old 09-17-2022, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by callmeishmael View Post
A rider with long legs for their height, with one longer than the other, who is heavy has and an impinged hip, is apparently the nightmare fitting scenario
well, I have short legs for my height, I think roughly the same length, I could stand to lose some pounds, and no idea on the hip.. so, who knows?
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Old 09-20-2022, 01:35 PM
Old School Old School is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jc031699 View Post
Totally agree with this. I have a carbon ritchey outback breakaway that has a notoriously low stack. I had max spacers and a 80mm stem (low trail), consistent low back pain and neck pain. I went to a +17deg 90mm stem, same spacers, and suddenly found that my butt wanted to be 1cm forward on the seat. Moved my seat forward, neck pain and low back pain gone.

It was eye opening to see that increasing bar height made me move my butt forward.
Bingo. In my neighborhood, when your back hurts, we pull over and move the seat forward 10mm then and there.
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