One way to understand physical pain is to use a predictive signal from your brain alerting you to an area of weakness that could be damaged. And that could be the reason you feel a dull ache in your lower back that builds and builds over a long period of pedaling.
If you find yourself standing on the pedals and arching your back at the top of a long climb, you may have a weak core and lower back or a lack of muscular endurance in this area. And that the pain you feel is your brain screaming at you to be careful.
Build core strength
Unless we specifically train it, we usually don’t have very good core strength. This is especially true when our jobs require us to spend a lot of time sitting with our lower backs and abdominal stabilizers disengaged. When we are weak in this area, our trunk is not sufficiently prepared when we ask it to perform on the bike and we feel pain as a result.
When leaning forward on the handlebars, although you support some of your weight with your upper body, the majority is stabilized with your lower back and abs. And over time, this can take its toll on an unconditioned core.
If you’ve been forced to take a long time to ride, you may have found that your lower back strength is the first to go and the first few rides are uncomfortable to say the least. But the good news is that the core reacts quickly to training and can be strengthened in a short time so that you no longer feel discomfort in this area.
Yoga is not just about using candles, chanting and effortlessly putting both feet behind your head. It can also be an awesome strength practice, as you’ll know if you’ve ever attended an advanced ashtanga or vinyasa yoga class.
But in fact, for your purposes, you don’t even have to be that good. My personal yoga philosophy is based on the 80/20 principle. What 20% of inputs do you need to focus on to get 80% of the results? And in my experience, when it comes to building a strong core, those three poses are your 20%.
Your 3 yoga postures that strengthen the trunk
Three of the most effective poses for building muscular endurance in the core are the plank, side plank, and grasshopper. And here is your challenge: complete the following sequence once a day for 14 days.
1. Plank—3 sets of 1 minute with 30 seconds of rest between each set. (You can do this pose on your forearms if you prefer.)
2. side plank—3 sets alternating 30 seconds on each side. (You can also do this pose on your forearms.)
3. locust—3 sets of 1 minute with 30 seconds of rest between each set.
And don’t worry. It’s totally fine if you can’t finish all the time at the start. As long as you stick with it and trust the process, you’ll get really good really fast.
Stay pain free this season
We cannot expect our bodies to deliver indefinitely without giving them proper training and recovery. Especially when we spend so much of our time sitting, traveling, and getting insufficiently nourished from a movement standpoint.
You can, however, consider incorporating yoga as a therapeutic tool to target areas of recurring pain, release deep-seated tension, and improve your range of motion so you can ride pain and injury-free for several consecutive months. . Know that you can keep pace with your friends, beat your rivals, and continue to ride harder and faster, despite age and injuries.
Let me know how you find these poses and what other aches, pains and mobility issues you would like my help with. And discover my new Yoga for mountain bikers course for a complete program to keep you fit, strong and flexible throughout the season.