If you are somebody who cycles either for leisure, fitness or sports, you might have noticed an ache on your back. Although cycling leg-based exercise, you work out several parts of your body.
In addition to the primary moving joins (hips, knees, and ankles), the upper body is also engaged and that involves your back.
How cycling might affect your back
When pedaling, the ascending leg requires the engagement of the hip flexor muscles to reduces the forcé on the ascending pedal. One of those hip flexor muscles is connected to the lumbar spine or the lower back.
In order to stabilize the hips, the obliques and quadratus lumborum or back muscle (the deepest abdominal muscle) on the side of the ascending leg need to engage to reduce hip titling and stabilize the lower back.
Luckily, the prime movers in the legs are strong and have great endurance. However, when the obliques and the back muscle start to fatigue, the smaller core muscles start to take a strain. If the situation persists, a muscle strain can occur, resulting in pain.
What can you do?
Make sure that your bike fits you properly
Don’t spend 30 seconds shopping for a bike; take your time and doublé check that is set up for your current range motion. If not, it might cause imbalance and discomfort.
Adjust the seat’s height
Make sure to adjust the height of the saddle to that with the heel of the foot so is just resting on the pedal in the fully down position. This way, when the ball of the foot so it’s on the center of the pedal, the knee is slightly flexed.
Position of the foot
The ball of the foot should always be over the center of the pedal spindle and the foot should be aligned with the direction of the cycle.
Seat forward-backward position
When the ball of the foot is resting on the center of the front pedals and the pedals are in a horizontal position, verify that the kneecap is vertically over the pedal spindle.