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Lately I have been train to stretch, few weeks ago i even cant touch my toe.

Before my stretch training, my roadbike feels good NO PAIN at all even for long ride. My position i bit upright, because i want to go lower for longer time i start doing stretch training.

After i quite flexibel, my roadbike started unconfortable. I got pain in neck shoulder and pressure in my hand worsen.

Do increasing flexibility affect bike fit?

While i can fix pain in lower body by change saddle clipless etc, i havent have luck with fixing my upper body (have change stem length, degree, lower or higher and still pain)

I want to go to bike fitter, but too bad there is no fitter near i live.

Also should i stop stretch, so that my body become stiff again and reduce pain.

Thanks.

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    Changing three parameters at once and then trying to pinpoint it on one of them is never a good idea. Sounds like you did stretching/flexibility training (which is no bad idea per se), tried to ride a more aggressive position and changed your fit on various (?) parameters. Experiment with one thing at a time, wait and see if it makes a difference. True for adjusting rear derailleurs and bike fitting. :)
    – DoNuT
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 6:38

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It sounds like the flexibility training might be working - for some bits. You're getting lower, which was your goal, so that's good. But if you deliberately ride more upright, is it more comfortable? Maybe you need to save the aggressive tucking for when it's really beneficial - for now.

If you're getting lower, you're changing the weight distribution, probably putting more weight on your hands and arms, hence the pain there. You've also got to put more effort into holding your head up, hence the neck/shoulder pain. As I experienced when I first got aerobars.

If you want to keep getting lower, you might need to work on some other areas, including strength training. You may also need to adjust other elements of the fit (like stem length and even saddle fore-aft position), and self-fitting is a very reasonable thing to do.

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    Agree completely. Flexibility isn't a panacea to get a more aggressive position on the bike. You need to develop the muscles that support that position. That means both taking it much slower than a few weeks and strength training, focusing on your core, neck, and shoulders.
    – Paul H
    Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 17:24
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    @PaulH And additionally developing an ergonomic posture. There's a tendency to hunch your shoulders to compensate, which compresses the nerves to your arms and hands. The OP needs to focus on pulling their shoulderblades down to avoid that happening; possibly other postural changes too, but that's probably the start.
    – Graham
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 12:10
  • @Graham I tend to find myself with hunched shoulders when I get (not very) low- trying to hold my back differently my thighs hit my ribs, and the layer of fat is pretty thin on both
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 12:45
  • @Graham great point about proper posture! (which requires developing even more tiny muscles a typical modern human with a computer and smart phone is neglectiving)
    – Paul H
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 14:38
  • @ChrisH Correct, right now i feel want to go lower and extend my stem. Seems funny but it feels my body want to srecht in bike now. In hood posision now my shoulder always become A frame, before it wasent like this
    – Heykal
    Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 12:13
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Our ability to get into our desired bike position depends on flexibility and on strength, particularly in stabilizer and core muscles. The pain you describe does suggest that you may lack strength, rather than flexibility. Moreover, you need to know which muscles to stretch or strengthen. For example, I had some intermittent knee pain. My fitter resolved it by lowering my saddle, which I'd raised too high, plus getting me stretches for my hamstrings and inner thigh muscles. So it may not be obvious what to stretch, or how to stretch that muscle.

Unfortunately, it's best to see an experienced bike fitter in person for this. If you had at least given us a picture of you on your bike, we might have been able to make some general comments, but this is often unreliable when it comes to the fine details. Ideally, your fitter probably wants to see you pedaling on the bike, under a meaningful load (like 70-80% of your threshold power).

In general, it can be good to do some compound strength movements. These can include push-ups, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, other kettlebell exercises, pull-ups if you can manage it. If you Google for "cycling stabilizer exercises" or similar, you will often find recommendations, e.g. this set from Trainer Road. These can help make you more resistant to pains like you described. Many of these can be self-taught if you have any strength training background, but if you don't, it's probably better to get a coach. Anyway, I believe that many pros do exercises like these in the gym.

Another general comment is that not all cyclists need to, or even should, aspire to a very low position on a drop bar bike. My torso angle is about 40-45 degrees when on the hoods, and I am able to go quite fast. More competitive cyclists frequently can have torso angles less than 40 degrees in the hoods, but this does require more flexibility, and this also isn't required for the general cycling public. The other thing is that competitive cyclists tend to be light, which means less weight to support with their hands, so they can be more aggressive with the same amount of physical function. Basically, unless your position is really upright, you may not need to get that much lower to achieve your athletic goals. This includes if you're interested in competing at the entry level.

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  • I would argue that you should be able to ride in all positions on your bike in the first place, geometry and core strength/flexibility being the two variables to play with. If you can only get away with riding upright in the hoods but a long descent in the drops gives you lower back pain, this calls for a change and means you can't fully use your bike. OP stated "road bike" and was striving to get lower, so there is some kind of performance aspect involved. He probably needs to see a fitter and then figure out what can be solved by exercise and what needs adjustment in his position....
    – DoNuT
    Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 11:01
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Likely your neck hurts because you're getting lower on the bike, and having to look up more to see the road ahead. If your helmet has a visor/brim/peak, consider removing it. If you wear a casket/cycling cap then flip the brim up to see forward better.

Similarly, your hands are feeling more pressure because you're leaning down/forward more so they are supporting more of your body weight. One fix here is to push harder on the pedals on each downstroke, transferring weight from hands. This also helps you go a little faster.

I had similar issues once when I fitted aerobars. The ride was a few minutes faster per hour, but I ached for days because of the lower position.

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    My neck hurts not from lower position, just usual in hood position it feels hurt, and my shoulder always want to go "A" frame. It's the same bike and same position, just me become more flexible.
    – Heykal
    Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 12:15
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Increased flexibility doesn't affect bike fit per se, but if you make use of it to change your position then obviously it does affect the fit.

Being more flexible means you can get into positions that require more strength to hold. If you don't have that strength, being more flexible allows you to hurt yourself more easily. I think the most likely problem is that you need to pair stretching with strength training. For example you mentioned toe touches: To pair this with strength, lie on your back with your whole body straight. Now lift your upper body (i.e. the exercise called crunches), but once you are up you continue forward with your upper body until you are over your legs and you try to touch your toes. Then you go back again until you lie on the floor. Repeat. This will feel harder than either normal crunches or normal toe stretches, that's normal and desired.

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It’s always a good idea to mark the original saddle position, cleat position etc. with a permanent marker so you know how much you’ve changed and you can go back to the original position.

Flexibility in itself shouldn’t cause any problem, unless you have hyper-flexibility/mobility (but even that shouldn’t cause issues on a bike, unless you e.g. accidentally bend your elbows the wrong way).

Don’t underestimate the effect of the saddle position on your hands and shoulders. Your legs should do a lot of load bearing and keep pressure off your hands if your back and core muscles are strong enough.

It could also be that you are not as flexible in the hips as you think, leading to excessive arching of the back which puts your neck and head in an awkward position.

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