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There are lots of questions here about back-pain, but generally about cycling in general and cycling on flat surfaces. I am after more practical tips on avoiding back pain when cycling up hills - with gradients between 10 to 22% (moderate to steep!). Any suggestions? I heard regular core stretching and exercises helps with this considerably.

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There are so many factors involved that can lead to back pain that I would be suspicious of anyone providing the answer.

Some factors that can affect

Your current bike fit.

  • Body angle: is your current fit very aggressive or more relaxed?
  • Is you seat set back appropriate or too far back?
  • Is your saddle height correct for your level of flexibility?

Your Technique

  • How do you position yourself on your bike when climbing (e.g., do you use the tops of the bars or do you get in the drops)?
  • Do you spin or do you mash gears

Your current bike setup

  • What gearing do you currently have
  • Is this gearing sufficiently low enough for climbs

Other personal factors

  • Have you injured your back before
  • What is your hamstring flexibility
  • What is your mid and lower back flexibility
  • What is your hip flexors flexibility
  • The list goes on

Summary

After addressing all of these issues I would then start looking at factors such as core strength, functional weaknesses and associated exercises.

In short, narrowing down the cause of back pain is often can be difficult. I would suggest finding a someone who specializes in both physio and bike fitting. They exist and will likely be your best bet at tracking down the cause and finding a solution.

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In the past, I've found that riding in the drops could help with back pain on long climbs, especially out of the saddle. Dunno if it works for you, but it's easy to try.

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