5 tips to reduce low back pain while cycling

Cycling is a great exercise and activity. It can be fun yet challenging and it has many health benefits. Some of the benefits of cycling include:

  • Aerobic workout which helps increase cardiovascular fitness
  • Helps build muscles and increase bone mass/density
  • Non impact sport – puts less pressure on joints
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Can be done at any age
  • Low chances of getting injured
  • Fairly cheap activity
  • Forces you to get out of the house
  • Helps decrease stress
  • Can be used to commute to and from work; saves you money and helps protect the environment

Despite the multitude of benefits, cycling can lead to some injuries. One of the main injuries from cycling is low back pain. This is mostly due to improper positioning and usage, poor biomechanics, and weak muscles. The following 5 tips can help reduce developing low back pain from cycling.

Tip #1: Adjust your seat height properly to your specific height

  • With you heel resting on the down pedal, you should be able to fully extend your leg
  • With the ball of the foot on the pedal in riding position, your knee should be slightly flexed

Tip #2: Sit in the proper position on the seat and on the bike

  • With the pedals horizontally aligned, and the ball of your foot on the front pedal, your kneecap should be directly over the pedal spindle
  • The saddle should be set at a neutral angle

Tip #3: Place your feet properly on the pedals

  • Always ride with the ball of your foot over the centre of the pedal spindle, and toes facing forward

Tip #4: Keep your posture straight and correct

  • While riding, keep a neutral spine by bending forward at the hips and avoiding the “hunch” in your mid-back

Tip #5: Increase your core strength

  • Having well-conditioned abdominal and back muscles will help support your upper body while riding and will minimize excessive swaying

Information courtesy of Canadian Chiropractic Association

Please SHARE this article if you find it useful to help spread knowledge and understanding!

About the Author:

Dr. Khoshroo is a chiropractor, certified Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) practitioner, and Graston Technique provider. He focuses on sports injuries, motor vehicle accident & whiplash injuries, custom orthotics, kinesio taping, rehab exercises, and pregnancy pain. In addition, Dr. Khoshroo has been the treating chiropractor for the UBC men’s varsity soccer team.