Often I hear cyclists complain about having a sore neck while riding. Having a sore neck or tight upper trapezius muscles will not only make you uncomfortable for long rides but also limit your power while cycling. Here are a few tips to check your form while riding to help correct these problem areas:
- Keep Your Saddle Flat. Make sure your saddle is flat with no forward tilt. This will bring your pelvis back slightly and keep the weight off your arms either on the pads or brake hoods; thus reducing neck pain!
- Adjust Your Aerobars. Slide your aero pads back just a few millimeters. Quite often closing the angle at your elbow, brings the fulcrum or—your elbow—under your shoulders resulting in less weight forward and less neck pain. Additionally, make sure the pads are flat not pointing downwards.
- Keep Your Neck Neutral. Draw your chin in to make a little double chin and elongate your backside neck extensors. This is a closer to a neck neutral position and keeps your spine and neck aligned. Quite often neck pain is heightened by having your shoulders rounded and your neck hyperextended. This increases the stress in the upper shoulders, neck and back.
- Squeeze Your Shoulder Blades. Lightly squeeze your shoulder blades to flatten your back while applying #3 above. This will reduce the rounded shoulders that can pinch your neck. A light tension in the mid back allows the shoulder blade lie flat and not in a winged position.
- Change Your Eyewear. Try different sunglasses. No kidding! Looking up and out while cocking your head a few degrees to one side can tweak your neck. A bigger glasses or lenses often help.
Fine-tuning your form and position on the bike with these minor adjustments can make a big impact on your comfort-level and power while riding. With a few small modifications you’ll be pain free and ready for your high intensity or long training rides.