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Pls Critique My Bike Fit - Shoulders are hurtin

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Pls Critique My Bike Fit - Shoulders are hurtin

Old 06-25-20, 09:26 PM
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hexron
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Pls Critique My Bike Fit - Shoulders are hurtin

About a year and half ago I went to a well respected bike fitter. He resolved all the complaints I had in my lower body (knees, ankles) but his fit introduced new pains in my upper body: namely my shoulders and hands. I feel like there's too much weight on my hands and that I'm kind of "scrunched in" - like there's too much force being pushed into my shoulders. On any type of ride where I can't constantly move my hands to different positions they fall asleep.

I have about 10 different stems I've tried and now that there's a pandemic I'd rather just figure this out on my own rather than going back for another fit. I'm not sure if I need a stem that will stretch me out or not.

As you can see on the attached image - he had me a bit more upright. His reasoning was that my hams and posterior chain in general were so tight. Right now that's a 90mm +7 stem. I've tried all different types of stem lengths and have been generally trying out stems that are around the same length only with a 0/negative rise and moving them up and down the fork. But I keep coming back to this position because it seems like the least impactful on my shoulders. I just cannot get to a point where I'm not thinking about and constantly adjusting position.

I'm thinking at this point it's got to be about core right? Is there anything here that stands out for anyone? Any advice appreciated!


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Old 06-25-20, 09:41 PM
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Are the shoulders getting any exercise? You have to work out the whole body. I sleep on my side and the shoulder joint supports the upper part of the body. I do arm circles 2 or 3 times a day. Otherwise, I wake up with sore shoulders. If your core is strong enough, you should be able to take your hands off the bar and and maintain the same position.
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Old 06-25-20, 10:26 PM
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How long of rides, & how hard are you working?

Pushing on the pedals is a lot of what keeps weight off the hands.

Not much room to get more upright or shorten reach, so that leaves

beach cruiser, or hit the gym.
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Old 06-25-20, 11:30 PM
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It's mostly core and upper body work. I've neglected mine the past month and it shows after about 20 miles or so. My neck and shoulders feel tight. I have permanent neck, back and shoulder injuries from car wrecks and being hit by cars on my bike, so if I neglect my full body workouts those old aches and pains resume.

I don't go to a gym or use weights, other than water jugs at home. I rarely use stretch bands. Just body weight exercises and stretching. Even if I don't feel like doing 30-50 pushups, etc., I'll try to do 10 semi-pushups off the countertop and/or door frame, along with full range of motion exercise every day just to keep a little looser.

Most YouTube tutorials for physical therapy and basic exercises are way too long, taking 15-30 minutes to say what could be done in 3-5 minutes. Check the Bowflex channel for some good 2-3 minute exercises that require little or no equipment. They don't try to sell Bowflex gear on every video. They're succinct.
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Old 06-26-20, 02:44 AM
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Looking at your upper back I'd say you do need core work.

Can't quite tell because of your shirt, but it looks like your shoulders are slightly hunched upward? (arms/shoulders need to relax).

Core work would push your spine forward and your position at the bars lower and perhaps a little longer (stem swap).

Would find your body weight better balanced between fore-aft when riding, thus reduced shoulder pain.
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Old 06-26-20, 06:34 AM
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The fit looks like a short reach and very little saddle to bar drop. If you have too much weight on your hands, try moving the saddle back. If you have a zero setback post, try a 25mm setback model. With the right weight balance, you can be comfortable with a 10cm saddle to drop. I use that much - no spacers and a -17 stem and I'm 67 years old. One of my regular rides is 3.5 hours with about 3000 feet of climbing to the half way point. The ride down from the peak in Estes Park is a lot easier than getting there

If I don't remember to do my neck strengthening exercises, I can get pain between my shoulder blades. It comes from holding my head up for that long.
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Old 06-26-20, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post

Not much room to get more upright or shorten reach, so that leaves

beach cruiser, or hit the gym.
+1

Might have to HTFU.
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Old 06-26-20, 07:12 AM
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That's already a very upright position. From the pic it seems you have joined many of us in the advanced age/belly fat gain/muscle loss group. Work on core and upper body strength helped my shoulder pain. If you are taking statins, sometimes they can cause weird muscle pain that sneaks up on you.
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Old 06-26-20, 07:48 AM
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Anybody else think the seat is a touch too high? OP is almost fully extended and still needs to point his foot down at the bottom of the stroke. A cm lower and OP could settle a bit more into the saddle, maybe take some pressure off the arms.
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Old 06-26-20, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by 55murray View Post
Anybody else think the seat is a touch too high? OP is almost fully extended and still needs to point his foot down at the bottom of the stroke. A cm lower and OP could settle a bit more into the saddle, maybe take some pressure off the arms.
The OP's toes aren't pointing down, and his leg extension is just about perfect. Many people use the "heel high" position.
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Old 06-26-20, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by hexron View Post
About a year and half ago I went to a well respected bike fitter. He resolved all the complaints I had in my lower body (knees, ankles) but his fit introduced new pains in my upper body: namely my shoulders and hands. I feel like there's too much weight on my hands and that I'm kind of "scrunched in" - like there's too much force being pushed into my shoulders. On any type of ride where I can't constantly move my hands to different positions they fall asleep.

I have about 10 different stems I've tried and now that there's a pandemic I'd rather just figure this out on my own rather than going back for another fit. I'm not sure if I need a stem that will stretch me out or not.

As you can see on the attached image - he had me a bit more upright. His reasoning was that my hams and posterior chain in general were so tight. Right now that's a 90mm +7 stem. I've tried all different types of stem lengths and have been generally trying out stems that are around the same length only with a 0/negative rise and moving them up and down the fork. But I keep coming back to this position because it seems like the least impactful on my shoulders. I just cannot get to a point where I'm not thinking about and constantly adjusting position.

I'm thinking at this point it's got to be about core right? Is there anything here that stands out for anyone? Any advice appreciated!


I'd say the fitter was correct about the tightness in your ham, posterior chain, etc. It's all connected. Put a straight edge on the pic running from your hips upward along the lighter gray strip ion your shorts. That is telling. You have to get the muscles/connective tissue from the Achilles up to where your neck connects loosened up. You have to hinge at the hips, not some area in the back. If you have access to online stretching programs, find one and use it. Maybe a yoga program.

Back to hinging at the hips. If you want to know how that feels, here you go. Find yourself something to sit on where your upper legs are parallel to the floor. Your knees and hips are at 90 degree angles. Your lower legs and torso are vertical. Your upper arms are also parallel to the floor and your lower arms are vertical with your torso. Now, hinge at the hips and lower your upper body keeping your back/spine straight. Think of yourself as a stickman and hinge at the connection of the torso stick and the legs. Also hinge at the elbows and lower your arms onto the handlebars. If you can't do that you need to work on the body until you can.

Last edited by seypat; 06-26-20 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 06-26-20, 08:49 AM
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I'm sure I'll get a lot of flak from many here, but your seat looks too far back. Too much rise on stem. Stem to short.

The more aero my position, the less weight I actually have on my shoulders because my waist can only bend so far. A forward saddle position balances me on the BB better when putting out power.

Stiff arms for the entire ride will make sore shoulders and numb hands. Do you ever use the drops?
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Old 06-26-20, 08:57 AM
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Put your saddle all they way back. That will take all the weight off your arms and hands. You will probably have to lower the saddle to compensate for moving the saddle back.
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Old 06-26-20, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by 55murray View Post
Anybody else think the seat is a touch too high? OP is almost fully extended and still needs to point his foot down at the bottom of the stroke. A cm lower and OP could settle a bit more into the saddle, maybe take some pressure off the arms.
I think it's a bit high.
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Old 06-26-20, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
Put your saddle all they way back. That will take all the weight off your arms and hands. You will probably have to lower the saddle to compensate for moving the saddle back.
But that introduces a change to the lower body which would make one area worse to fix another.
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Old 06-26-20, 10:03 AM
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The best advice at this point is for the OP to work on his core and his flexibility. Improve that and the fit and shoulder problems could disappear.
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Old 06-26-20, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
so that leaves

beach cruiser, or hit the gym.
Right! This is ironic because I have been hitting the gym off and on for more than a decade (although it may not look it lol) - although it's pretty apparent not doing enough core stuff. After that fit - when I started getting shoulder pain - I thought it was because I was doing bench or OHP wrong - but then I realized it was the biking which is making my shoulders hurt. Since the pandemic I've just been doing bodyweight stuff, some P90x for abs/core - and realizing it's my core that's super weak. I can hang with a lot of home workout stuff - but when it comes to core - I'm always left behind.
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Old 06-26-20, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
The fit looks like a short reach and very little saddle to bar drop. If you have too much weight on your hands, try moving the saddle back. If you have a zero setback post, try a 25mm setback model. With the right weight balance, you can be comfortable with a 10cm saddle to drop. I use that much - no spacers and a -17 stem and I'm 67 years old. One of my regular rides is 3.5 hours with about 3000 feet of climbing to the half way point. The ride down from the peak in Estes Park is a lot easier than getting there.
Thanks. Yes, the fitter had me get a Thompson SetBack seatpost which I think is 16mm and it's all the way back, but I'll look for a 25mm. I don't want to mess too much with the saddle fore and aft because ankles, knees and back feel better than before the fit for sure.
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Old 06-26-20, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
That's already a very upright position. From the pic it seems you have joined many of us in the advanced age/belly fat gain/muscle loss group.
True - but also thanks for the motivation to hit the (home) gym!!
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Old 06-26-20, 10:52 AM
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Now that I look at the picture again, are your bars higher than the saddle? I'd work on getting rid of the huge stack of spacers.
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Old 06-26-20, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
But that introduces a change to the lower body which would make one area worse to fix another.
So the op can try it, if it doesn't work, he can go back to the original settings,
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Old 06-26-20, 11:20 AM
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Is it anything other than just core muscles not used to working? Cycling itself is a great way to train core endurance and strength if lacking - but most people have the back strength to squat and touch the ground, so it's really a matter of time to fatigue.
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Old 06-26-20, 04:32 PM
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Recently, I noticed my shoulders feeling like they were carrying too much of the weight. And felt like too much pressure on my hands. I had been riding my saddle in the same position for over a year. I decided to try to raise the front up a notch, better, then another notch-even better. Seems I found the spot where it works best for me. Why I needed the change, don't know-I've got a decent core and upper body strength. BTW-the saddle is no longer level, but slightly pointed up. Worked for me, easily reversible if it doesn't work.
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Old 06-26-20, 05:47 PM
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Watch some pro cycling video footage to get an idea of leg extension.
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Old 06-26-20, 06:06 PM
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raised the nose of saddle up a few degrees

after trying everything else when my hands were aching. i was blown away how this small change changed my balance of weight on the bike. i can't explain it but it worked really well.

Originally Posted by freeranger View Post
Recently, I noticed my shoulders feeling like they were carrying too much of the weight. And felt like too much pressure on my hands. I had been riding my saddle in the same position for over a year. I decided to try to raise the front up a notch, better, then another notch-even better. Seems I found the spot where it works best for me. Why I needed the change, don't know-I've got a decent core and upper body strength. BTW-the saddle is no longer level, but slightly pointed up. Worked for me, easily reversible if it doesn't work.
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