Plagued by tight glutes and tight lower back muscles

jones.ian5@sky.com
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Plagued by tight glutes and tight lower back muscles

Postby jones.ian5@sky.com » 31 Mar 2019, 9:33pm

Can anyone offer any suggestions on why I get extremely tight glutial muscles and very tight muscles in the lumbar region of the lower back after any sort of cycling. I've been cycling for years and was just starting to build up my fitness again after Christmas when halfway through a ride and I got off the bike and could hardly walk because my back and glutes were so painful and tight.

I'm riding the same bike I've ridden for over ten years with no change in riding position. I used to do core strength exercises until this happened but its just too painful now with the lower back. I've seen an osteopath who can loosen it all up for me but one outing on the bike and I'm back to the square that is one. However the osteopath could not offer any suggestions as to why it happens.

My riding style hasn't changed. I aim to spin at around 60 to 90 rpm. I'm at my wits end as cycling is everything to me and I'm so cheesed off not being able to ride.

Any suggestions anyone might have will be very gratefully received.

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foxyrider
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Re: Plagued by tight glutes and tight lower back muscles

Postby foxyrider » 1 Apr 2019, 10:18am

Maybe it's time to get a bike fit and change your position, clearly something in your riding has changed.

My first thing would be to check saddle height and reach.
Convention? what's that then?
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Audax67
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Re: Plagued by tight glutes and tight lower back muscles

Postby Audax67 » 1 Apr 2019, 10:43am

Get a real bike fit at that. I rode the same bike for years and wrt position thought always that if I could do a 1000k Audax on it without dire consequences then it had to be right. Of course I always ignored the tendinitis in my right gluteus medius - "that's just me".

Then in 2015 I bought a new bike from a different LBS and the bloke there was all set up to fit bikes for the local racing club. He took an hour to measure me before ordering and two hours once the bike arrived, measuring everything including the tracking of my knees and how I distributed the weight on my feet. The tendinitis has never returned, and everything else is perfect.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Plagued by tight glutes and tight lower back muscles

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 1 Apr 2019, 10:52am

Hi,
I would see an NHS physiotherapist first.
They will quickly tell you whether it's a muscular problem or nerves Et cetera.
It's all too easy to blame the bike, I have done it myself with failing health.
Can't remember if you said what your age is?
Tight glutes, have you googled your symptoms?
Good luck.
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531colin
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Re: Plagued by tight glutes and tight lower back muscles

Postby 531colin » 1 Apr 2019, 5:40pm

Heres how it works.
As we get older, our body changes....OK, it deteriorates.
When you push down on the pedal, the "equal and opposite reaction" of Newtonian physics supports your torso, which is cantilevered out in front of the saddle. As you get older, you can't pedal so hard, or so hard for so long, so that leaves MORE weight to be supported. And, guess what, your core strength has deteriorated, and so has your arm/shoulder strength. So now you have a weaker core/arms/shoulder trying to support a greater proportion of your torso weight than when you were younger and pedalled harder, longer. This is a BAD THING.
So, as you age, your saddle needs to go backwards, because moving the saddle back takes weight off your arms. The saddle needs to go down as well, because moving it back moves it further away from the pedals just as surely as moving it up. It probably needs to go down anyway, because we get stiffer as we get older and its absolutely essential for your pedalling action to be smooth through the bottom. If you don't have enough bend in your knee at the bottom you will start rocking your hips and twisting your back to reach the bottom pedal.
Handlebars need to come closer to the saddle to reduce reach, and also up to reduce strain on your neck....which is also stiffer and weaker.
You might find it helpful to move your cleats back so your foot moves forward, as well.
As you get older, your body also doesn't respond well to a "challenge".....for example the challenge could be getting into a riding position that's less than comfortable. Did you do "core strength exercises" so that you were comfortable on the bike? If so, I suggest trying a riding position which doesn't require gym work in order to be tolerable.
Might be worth thinking about pelvic rotation as well....(apart from those rare individuals who ride with their back in extension) we bend forwards to the bars by a combination of back flexion and forward rotation of the pelvis. Pelvis rotation governs which part of the range of contraction of the Glutes we use pedalling. Check the saddle is level.
Sorry if anybody finds this all a bit depressing, but its reality, or at least its my reality. On the other hand, I'm 71 and still out riding, so I think that's a win.
Rate of deterioration does depend on which decade we are talking about; I suppose there are 30 year olds who think they should be able to keep up with their 20 year old self, but there are few 50 year olds trying to keep up with their 40 year old self. I have found the last 2 or 3 years a bit tough; if I was leading a ride and somebody got in front and took a wrong turning, I used to be able to chase them down, and now I can't. They have to work out their own salvation, which I suppose is poetic justice.

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foxyrider
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Re: Plagued by tight glutes and tight lower back muscles

Postby foxyrider » 1 Apr 2019, 6:37pm

531 makes some valid points but don't get too depressed, in my mid 50's i'm riding further and faster than I did at 40 and my head still thinks i'm 30 (who'd want to be 20 again? I was a crap if enthusiastic rider back then! :lol: ) Indeed I used to be in a state after 50 miles but I rarely do less than 60 on a ride these days with no discomfort even on the more racy set up on a couple of my bikes.
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

jones.ian5@sky.com
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Re: Plagued by tight glutes and tight lower back muscles

Postby jones.ian5@sky.com » 1 Apr 2019, 9:22pm

Gentlemen, I am indebted to you all for taking the time to post your advice. I’m 54 and try to maintain good core strength to protect my back. I will looking very a closely at bike fit, riding position, riding style and a visit to a physio. Thank you all.

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: Plagued by tight glutes and tight lower back muscles

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 2 Apr 2019, 7:42am

Seek the advice of a suitable medical professional.

If they believe riding is the cause, seek the advice of a qualified sports therapist.

Bike fits are all well and good, but the various systems, particularly the two most popular, contradict each other somewhat, and they can't both be correct. They're also not especially good at accommodation injury or atypical physical limitations. Been there and done that, and that's the order I would suggest.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.
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531colin
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Re: Plagued by tight glutes and tight lower back muscles

Postby 531colin » 3 Apr 2019, 3:08pm

foxyrider wrote:531 makes some valid points but don't get too depressed, in my mid 50's i'm riding further and faster than I did at 40 and my head still thinks i'm 30 (who'd want to be 20 again? I was a crap if enthusiastic rider back then! :lol: ) Indeed I used to be in a state after 50 miles but I rarely do less than 60 on a ride these days with no discomfort even on the more racy set up on a couple of my bikes.

I'm anything but depressed...as I say, at 71 I'm still getting out and I regard that as a win...I have had 2 brothers in law and one sister in law die on me, all younger than I am now.
If you are going like a train in your mid fifties, then good for you....I really mean that, good for you, long may you continue to do so, and confound all the naysayers......five years ago I could make Tan Hill and back in a day ride from Harrogate...about 125 miles and lots and lots of climbing....I'm not about to try it again, I'm afraid, but I think that's realistic, not depressed.....I can always park at Leyburn and do it!
However, the OP (54) isn't going like a train. In fact he is hardly going at all, and I think that calls for a realistic assesment of why he isn't going, and how he can get going again.
I'm with Lance to a certain extent with regard to "bike fits". I don't believe you can fit somebody by taking a body measurement and multiplying by a magic number to transfer their body dimension to a bike dimension....thats fitting the rider into some sort of "average" riding position, it isn't fitting the bike to the rider. (And whats the use of an "average"? Is it good for a 20 year old dancer, or a 60 year old ex rugby player with a lifetime of injuries?)
Take some time to look at my DIY bike fitting guide linked below....it says how I feel on the bike, as well as some rules of thumb.