When riding, I have found myself in a posture where my shoulders are raised (like a shrug). I assume this is a bad posture. When I notice it, I correct myself. However, sometime later I might find myself in this position again.

What can I do to correct this, besides just trying not to do it?

Is it a bike setup problem? Can I do any exercises off the bike to improve this.

  • 1
    Do you work at a desk job?
    – Batman
    Sep 16, 2016 at 2:03
  • Yes at a desk job.
    – WW01
    Sep 16, 2016 at 2:55
  • 1
    Fixing your posture at your desk may help. See for example Esther Gokhale's book or other books on posture.
    – Batman
    Sep 16, 2016 at 3:22
  • @Batman I wonder what percentage of our members work at a desk job? My guess >90%
    – andy256
    Sep 16, 2016 at 9:05
  • 1
    Have you started riding recently?
    – rclocher3
    Sep 16, 2016 at 20:06

4 Answers 4


In my experience it may be a lack of core strength. So you end up leaning on your arms more, to try and lighten the load on your mid-torso muscles and lower back.

Try moving around more at work, a standing desk might help. Some stretches throughout your work day and before riding too.

If you don't wear cycling pants, consider getting some. They offer support around the waist which I found helpful.


I have had this problem a few times, and found it was due to my stress.

After thinking about it, I decided if the stress was cycling related, or external to cycling.

When I decided the stress was external to cycling, I made an effort to focus completely on the ride, and on longer rides. I was ignoring the destination and any cares that may be there.

At one point I decided that the numbers on my bike computer were causing stress. I was struggling to maintain the average speed I'd targeted, or my cadence had dropped below X, or ... you get the idea. I solved this by taking the bike computer off the bike, just riding by feel.

In another case, I had been increasing my training load, which is also a stress. My shoulders are hunched right now, thinking about it. My solution was to back off the training a little, and enjoy it more.

Hope that helps.

  • I'm definately not stressed about my cycling, I tend to zone out. I'm not worried about my speed or time.
    – WW01
    Sep 16, 2016 at 2:56
  • Yeah, I can only tell you about my own experience. In my case it was always a stress of some sort or another.
    – andy256
    Sep 16, 2016 at 3:37

While in bed before sleeping do neck exercises.

  1. Lying on your back on a pillow bring your chin to near your chest and hold for 3 seconds and then lie it back down. Do 3 sets of 10.

  2. Lying on your back on a pillow raise head slightly and turn it from side to side so cheek is flush with pillow each side. Do 3 sets of 10.

  3. Do combinations of 1 and 2. Bring chin to chest then go from side to side without a break.

Do this for a few months. It will strengthen your neck and make it easy to hold your head up while cycling. You're shrugging because you're having a hard time keeping your head up. The head up looking straight ahead position is good for breathing also. You'll be able to maintain a high pace for longer.


Although you didn't mention any pain, I have found myself in this position and on long rides I think it contributes to neck/shoulder pain.

Roadcycling.com says:

Handlebars should be shoulder width apart (measured from acromion to acromion across the anterior chest) and comfortable. Handlebars that are too wide may cause excessive trapezius and rhomboid strain leading to muscle spasm and pain.

So you can try putting your hands closer to the centre of the bars when it's safe to do so, or getting slightly narrower bars.

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