Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

TheReality
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Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby TheReality » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:11 pm

Hi All,

I’ve been riding for about 3 months now and I am finding on longer rides (3hrs+) I am getting sore shoulders/arms, I also often finding my pinkie fingers going numb. Another thing I have noticed is I find myself shifting back on my seat a lot, then naturally moving forward. Would these symptoms be indicative of reach be too far? Would it be worth getting my hands on a shorter stem (I think I can borrow one of the partners bike).

I know I can go get another bike fit, but id like to try free options first.

Thanks
Ty
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Arbuckle23
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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby Arbuckle23 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:40 pm

I find that happening when I get too straight armed and because of that the hands and shoulders carry too much weight.
Despite the handle I am no longer a "fatty" and the weight is not much nowadays.
It happens unconsciously and I need to tell myself to flex the elbows and let my core do more work.

TheReality
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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby TheReality » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:44 pm

Arbuckle23 wrote:I find that happening when I get too straight armed and because of that the hands and shoulders carry too much weight..


hmm, i think i do keep my arms straight a lot. I would not say im a fatty but do need to lose weight. 180cm/87kg unless it turns in to muscle by ideal weight would be about 78kg. Physio likes to tell me my core is weak haha.
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RonK
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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby RonK » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:07 pm

TheReality wrote:Physio likes to tell me my core is weak haha.

Numbness of the pinky and ring finger is known as cyclists palsy and is caused by compression of the ulnar nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel in your wrist. This could be due to your bar tape or gloves not cushioning enough, or to excessive pressure due to poor bike fit.

He is probably right, your core may not be strong enough to support your upper body. However this may also be a symptom of poor bit fit - if the saddle is too far forward there is not enough leverage against the pedal to support your upper body. The test is to take your hands off the bars and see if you can hold yourself up with your legs while also pedalling.

So it can be a combination of many fit and fitness parameters.
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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby westab » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:46 pm

^^^^ +1 to what Ronk said.

There are lots of things it could be - core strength improvement would help.

Also if you are going to change your bike setup to overcome any issue yourself - record where things were change one record new position and ride. Don't do what I have done and change multiple things (like seat position and stem length) have slight improvement and then not know which item gave the improvement or if it was both.

Good luck mate
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fat and old
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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby fat and old » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:56 pm

Apart from fit...how long have you been doing the 3hr rides? You say you've only been riding 3 months total? How often? Fair chance your body is still adapting. My bike is spot on for comfort, can ride all day with no soreness or stiffness. Until I get lazy and fat again. Take 3 or 4 weeks off, and it's a process to get used to it again. Sore for a week, week and a half, then it kicks in....and I feel great. Even my different knicks feel "different" until I lose a few (or more :lol: ) kg's. I even have a "fat" saddle that comes out at a certain point.

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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby TheReality » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:05 pm

fat and old wrote:Apart from fit...how long have you been doing the 3hr rides? You say you've only been riding 3 months total? How often? Fair chance your body is still adapting. My bike is spot on for comfort, can ride all day with no soreness or stiffness. Until I get lazy and fat again. Take 3 or 4 weeks off, and it's a process to get used to it again. Sore for a week, week and a half, then it kicks in....and I feel great. Even my different knicks feel "different" until I lose a few (or more :lol: ) kg's. I even have a "fat" saddle that comes out at a certain point.


I try to ride twice during the week about 30ks each, then on the weekend I will normally either do a mtb ride or road both being at least 3 hrs. I have been doing 3hr weekend rides since i started riding pretty much, and have only done a few over that 4-5hrs.
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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby Duck! » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:18 pm

Arbuckle23 wrote:I find that happening when I get too straight armed and because of that the hands and shoulders carry too much weight.

It's not so much a straight-armed posture placing too much weight on the hands & arms, it's more that you're not allowing the elbows to act as shock absorbers and smooth out the road bumps.

RonK wrote:
TheReality wrote:Physio likes to tell me my core is weak haha.

Numbness of the pinky and ring finger is known as cyclists palsy and is caused by compression of the ulnar nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel in your wrist. This could be due to your bar tape or gloves not cushioning enough, or to excessive pressure due to poor bike fit.
It can also be you're locking yourself into one hand position, concentrating the pressure in one point. Move your hands around on the bars every so often so you're resting on different areas for a while. Try to use the meaty part at the base of your thumb rather than the hollow that intersects the centre of your wrist (touch the tips of your thumb & pinky together, you'll clearly see the hollow I'm referring to), which is where the nerves are least protected.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby g-boaf » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:23 pm

TheReality wrote:
Arbuckle23 wrote:I find that happening when I get too straight armed and because of that the hands and shoulders carry too much weight..


hmm, i think i do keep my arms straight a lot. I would not say im a fatty but do need to lose weight. 180cm/87kg unless it turns in to muscle by ideal weight would be about 78kg. Physio likes to tell me my core is weak haha.


I think your physio has a point. It's a mix of the correct bike fit and the core doing its job.

If you can ride with relaxed arms that makes it a hell of a lot easier and more comfortable, and to do that your core needs to support your body weight. But it also will help you with stability too.

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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby trailgumby » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:31 am

Strength training can help, especially where you involve the core in complex movement exercises rather than isolation exercises.

Some tips you might find useful here: http://www.simplycyclingtraining.com/st ... -it-right/

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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby Thoglette » Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:42 pm

g-boaf wrote:I think your physio has a point. It's a mix of the correct bike fit and the core doing its job.

Case in point: moving my bars back by 1cm made a big difference to me (on a 34km commute) in terms of neck/shoulder strain by the end of the week.

Now the problem is that I've had some time off riding and my current ride is much shorter (11km) and I'm catching myself holding my arms straight :evil:
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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby sammutd88 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:30 pm

In relation to the numb finger, I also experienced this early on until I found the correct gloves and hood position on the bar. For me a straight transition from bar to hood and very lightly padded gloves worked best, rather than heavily padded gloves.

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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby BJL » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:38 pm

I get some numbness in my hands on long rides. I put it down to having too much padding in the gloves and in the wrong places. I reluctantly had to say goodbye to my old worn out gloves as my newer pair (same brand and model mind you), causes numbness as they haven't worn in yet.

For your core, the one thing I remember hearing from someone (and don't quote me on this), was that your core is something that cycling won't improve, but improving your core will improve your cycling. So my core is something I work on in the gym in the hope that my cycling may become better, or at least a little less painful.

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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby baabaa » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:22 pm

Hmmm, don't know if it helps as it gets a bit techy but consider the rise of the stem not so much the length.
This bloke is The Sage of Stems.... http://www.soulcraftbikes.com/stems.php and he gives a pretty good explanation.
That said, not sure I would be in a hurry to change bits quickly. Was pretty sure it was Mr Ballantine (richards bicyle book) who suggests not to squeeze your bars when you ride but just rest them enough to guide your direction but position them in a region on your bars so you can brake quickly if needed.....takes time and lots of kms on the road to work out what works for you.
Also, could be my own bike riding weirdness but I am tall and lanky so use wide bars (46 cm in dropbars) but on longer rides than 100ks a day I prefer to use 25.4 mm bars as it stops me from gripping tight when tired. I have big hands and really do notice that 31.8 mm bars need to be held in different manner to 26.0 and the 25.4mm. Even off road on a mtn bike for more than 100 k rides and races I now just use drop bars as I found flat and riser bar grips did odd things to my hands.

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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby kenwstr » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:59 pm

trailgumby wrote:Strength training can help, especially where you involve the core in complex movement exercises rather than isolation exercises.

Some tips you might find useful here: http://www.simplycyclingtraining.com/st ... -it-right/



I dragged my old slalom kayak out to the local dam a few times in past weeks and that has made a huge difference.
It's actually a pretty good whole body exercise but I knew that already, just been procrastinating.

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Kronos
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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby Kronos » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:03 pm

TheReality wrote:Hi All,

I’ve been riding for about 3 months now and I am finding on longer rides (3hrs+) I am getting sore shoulders/arms, I also often finding my pinkie fingers going numb. Another thing I have noticed is I find myself shifting back on my seat a lot, then naturally moving forward. Would these symptoms be indicative of reach be too far? Would it be worth getting my hands on a shorter stem (I think I can borrow one of the partners bike).

I know I can go get another bike fit, but id like to try free options first.

Thanks
Ty


It sounds like you've got a few things on, particular possibilities are bars that are too wide for your body causing your shoulder blades to splay inwards (sore shoulders) or a stem that is not short enough causing your shoulders to splay forward (reaching also causing sore shoulders and arms). You need to get a proper bike fit. Either get someone you know to do a bike fit or visit your friendly local bike store and talk to a professional about it. The comments about cyclists palsy are also correct, relax your hands a bit. It's not easy as a newbie but you may be gripping your bars too tightly, or alternatively you may not have enough padding between your hands and the bars... wear gloves and get better grip tape/foam if you need to.

As to core and arm strength, I can't see why a grown adult would not have enough core strength but anyway, if you don't have it, its a bit of a farce. Start doing more core strength exercises. Planking, etc... Start doing core strength excercises every day. It's not an excuse not to have core strength and it will help with your posture, and reach on a bike also.

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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby trailgumby » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:45 pm

Kronos wrote:I can't see why a grown adult would not have enough core strength but anyway, if you don't have it, its a bit of a farce.

Most office jobs involve sitting on your butt for extended periods of time in front of a computer screen - a disaster for core strength.

The rest of your advice is good. Although I would go to a specialist bike fitter rather than a store employee who has done a one day course.

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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby Duck! » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:13 pm

baabaa wrote:Also, could be my own bike riding weirdness but I am tall and lanky so use wide bars (46 cm in dropbars) but on longer rides than 100ks a day I prefer to use 25.4 mm bars as it stops me from gripping tight when tired. I have big hands and really do notice that 31.8 mm bars need to be held in different manner to 26.0 and the 25.4mm.

I think that's just you being weird, because the grip area of the bars is pretty much the same diameter regardless of the clamp area diameter. The smaller diameter through the clamp area will allow the bar to flex a bit more, that's all.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby baabaa » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:46 pm

I guess, but yes I agree in regard to the diameter and I should have worded that better but it is a weird thing that that very same make, type, bend and width do feel different with a change in clamp size. The flex is it and I guess that is why people seek out nittos who still make 25.4 and 26.0 clamp bars.
Noting that someone above stated that wide bars are wrong, I do like how Rivendell relate to this...
Product Details
The drop bar that riders who already like drops will go nuts over, and the one that'll win over riders who think drop bars are uncomfortable, or something. In all likelihood the Noodle Bar will be the most comfortable drop bar you'll ever set grubby paws on. The top flat portion sweeps back toward you slightly, bringing the bar closer, and the drops (lower portion) flare out four degrees. But the main thing is the ramp the portion of the bar immediately behind where the brake lever fits. The ramp matters because you put your hands there a lot, and if it's too steep, the support isn't there and your hands slide forward and down. On most bars the ramp is about 24-to-32-degrees, but on the Noodle Bar, it's a much flatter 15 degrees. When you tilt the bar back properly, so that the ends point downward about 10-degrees, that already flattish 15-degree ramp becomes 5-degrees, so even if your hands are slathered in butter, they won't slide down off of that. This has become our most popular drop bar, and some folks grumble that now they have to get one on all of their bikes. If you're debating between two sizes, consider that a wider bar offers more leverage, so you can more easily hold the bike as your legs (which are much stronger than your arms) push on the pedals and tilt the bike. We don't go along with the idea of getting handlebars as wide as your shoulders. Most people do better with wider bars. THE PHOTO SHOWS A GOOD WAY TO SET UP THE NOODLE (or any other) HANDLEBAR. Rotate them up to flatten the ramp, set the end of the brake lever a bit higher than the bottom of the bar, and you're all set. All of our drop bars are measured the same way: Center of the curve to center of the curve. The normal way is center of the end to center of the end. We measure center of the curve to center of the curve because our drops have a slight flare below the curve, and measuring the ends would give a false impression of the width you'd actually feel. It's not complicated: If you're a small woman, order a 41; medium woman or small guy, get a 44; average guy, get the 46; big strong guy, the 48. 26.0mm stem clamp diameter, 95mm reach, 140mm drop. Stem not included. The prices for the 46cm and 48cm are higher than the 41cm and 44cm since it costs extra to make the wider ones stronger (heat treated). Requires brake levers with a 23.8mm brake clamp diameter. Nitto calls this bar Model 177.

https://www.rivbike.com/products/nitto-noodle-handlebar

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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby Kronos » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:55 am

trailgumby wrote:
Kronos wrote:I can't see why a grown adult would not have enough core strength but anyway, if you don't have it, its a bit of a farce.

Most office jobs involve sitting on your butt for extended periods of time in front of a computer screen - a disaster for core strength.

The rest of your advice is good. Although I would go to a specialist bike fitter rather than a store employee who has done a one day course.


Yeah, that's fairly obvious (although I should have said otherwise) you should go to the most qualified professional you can find. I used to have a lack of core and upper body strength when I was pudgy myself, then I went to the gym and gained some. I used to weigh 100kg at the princely height of 178cm, while some people might not approve I did low impact cardio (cycling twice a day) for 3months 5 days a week for 1 hour and my weigh evaporated all the way down to 75kg. Most of your problems with those issues relating to your core will go away if you even do body weight work every day on top (even simple planking). You don't need a lot of it, you just need to be able to stop your core from drooping.

Traditional bike fitment and human bio-mechanics will tell you that when you try to grab two objects (generally the points near where your hoods are, or either side of them on the flats) you will splay your shoulder blades backwards in order to grasp the bars. In general modern bikes have handlebars that are far wider than traditional bikes. This can and often does affect riders. You might not think that 4 to 8cm extra width wouldn't make much of a difference but it does, particularly when I go from my traditional steel bike to my modern aluminum bike.

There is also a better virtue to narrower bars in that they have a faster turning circle than wider bars do. The marketing trend towards wider bars is not really beneficial to anybody. Once you get used to bars to suit your body you will wonder what it was you were ever doing riding anything else. Narrower bars also reduce your frontal drag area and make you more aero. Standard 42 to 48cm bars can be swapped for ones down below 40 if your body suits. Moreover pro track riders have been riding narrower bars for ages. Look at guys like Sir Chris Hoy for a laugh. Anyway... perhaps this will help:

https://spokeydokeyblog.com/2015/03/03/ ... bar-width/

Keep in mind that someone elses 38 might be your 42. There is a limit to bar width just as there is to frame size.

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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby g-boaf » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:47 am

You should have the width of bars that is the correct fit. It's no use having massively wide handlebars if you end up riding arms out, it'll feel like crap as well. Same as you wouldn't want to have too narrow bars that have you riding arms inward.

Mostly we see bikes with 42cm bars as that tends to be just what the shop built them with, like a standard I guess. I ride with 38 or 40cm bars. My core strength isn't the best.

Kronos wrote:Moreover pro track riders have been riding narrower bars for ages. Look at guys like Sir Chris Hoy for a laugh. Anyway... perhaps this will help:


They are on smooth velodromes doing shorter races. Different thing to road riders who might be doing 100-200km every day for 7 days in a row. If the bike fits well, you'll ride it better.

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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby Kronos » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:26 pm

Its a particular point of interest really that a guy like Chris Hoy has ridden bar widths down to 26cm :shock: When you have bars that naturally fit your body you wont have to worry about things like tucking your elbows (it will happen automatically). The biomechanics of your body will tell an informed bike fitter (if not yourself) exactly what sized bars that you will need. This trend towards riding bigger frames and wider handlebars than you need or vice versa really is something I am personally disagreeable with which is why I generally advocate towards traditional geometry.

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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby DavidS » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:49 pm

I've always had a lot of trouble with this. I get very sore shoulders on long rides. Trying to deal with this by improving my posture while riding but finding it difficult.

I do like to be stretched out on the bike as it helps my back but have to avoid this.

The funny thing is I see cyclists riding along with straight arms and not great posture all the time. I'd be surprised if a lot of cyclists aren't getting sore shoulders on long rides.

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Kronos
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Re: Sore shoulders on long(ish) rides

Postby Kronos » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:49 pm

Getting good posture on your bike is about having a well fitting bike. A part of having classic rather than compact geometry is having your body stretched out properly. Once you've got a good fit and you don't have your arms locked, etc any type of soreness you will have will go away simply by riding your bike and getting used to it.

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