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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    1,715

    Question neck exercises & stretches

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    I'm looking for some tips on exercises and stretches to help with the neck (& uppper back) fatigue we get from holding our heads up on road bikes.

    My old sports med doc gave me the suggestion of single dumb bell bent lat rows for strengthening this area. Which I do. But, I confess, since the summer hit, my weight training inside at the gym went by the way-side for more time outside riding.

    However... I think part of this new found fatigue is from further distances rides (50+mi), and my new roadie is a bit more aero (bars 1.5"s below saddle--old set up about even--but whole bike was too big = hard to say), and riding more in the drops for varying reasons.

    I have tried varying my position to the tops for a break / stretch. But, it just feels so wrong and un-natural being more upright. I think my bike fits well with exception of a slightly shorter stem maybe (like 1cm we're talking, vs. overhaul).

    I think mainly I need to get stronger?

    TYIA
    Miranda

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Virginia's Blue Ridge
    Posts
    500
    Miranda......

    You might be interested in this book: The Anatomy of Stretching, by Brad Walker. (http://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Stretc.../dp/1556435967)

    I'm incredibly tight from the neck down from too much time at the computer for work, plus cycling. I do yoga, but decided recently that I really wanted to learn more about stretching---particularly stretches that target neck, shoulder and back pain. So far, I'm finding Walker's book to be a huge help, in part because the detailed drawings highlight which muscles are getting stretched. There's probably a lot of similar info for free on the Internet, but I like having it all between two covers and well-illustrated. Walker even tells you which stretches are most useful for which sports.

    Good luck! I'll be interested to hear what some of our veteran TE'ers have to suggest to help you out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    1,715
    Quote Originally Posted by KathiCville View Post
    Miranda......

    You might be interested in this book: The Anatomy of Stretching, by Brad Walker. (http://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Stretc.../dp/1556435967)

    I'm incredibly tight from the neck down from too much time at the computer for work, plus cycling. I do yoga, but decided recently that I really wanted to learn more about stretching---particularly stretches that target neck, shoulder and back pain. So far, I'm finding Walker's book to be a huge help, in part because the detailed drawings highlight which muscles are getting stretched. There's probably a lot of similar info for free on the Internet, but I like having it all between two covers and well-illustrated. Walker even tells you which stretches are most useful for which sports.

    Good luck! I'll be interested to hear what some of our veteran TE'ers have to suggest to help you out.
    Thx for that great link! I'm all game on adding to my "bike related book library".

    I know during the winter, Terry had some vid featured on their web site: yoga for roadies... that some TE peeps talked about.

    I *think* the muscle that runs horizontal across the upper back below the neck is the trapezius... that does the main job of holding our heads up while cycling. Mine is not tired all the way down the center of my back. It's right at the tops. Like right where someone would give you a good shoulder with both hands standing behind your back.

    I'm sure I've lost some strength from ditching my weight routine. But, any new exercises to help would be welcome as well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    2,210
    Quote Originally Posted by Miranda View Post
    I *think* the muscle that runs horizontal across the upper back below the neck is the trapezius... that does the main job of holding our heads up while cycling. Mine is not tired all the way down the center of my back. It's right at the tops. Like right where someone would give you a good shoulder with both hands standing behind your back.
    Sounds right. When I have pain there, my massage guy also ends up releasing related groups of muscles - biceps, triceps, the 'erector' muscles down the middle of my back, hamstrings, hip flexors, core muscles, diaphragm. It sounds like a lot but sometimes it's those other groups that are causing the group you're having trouble with to work harder than normal and feel stressed.

    My chiropractor had me do some neck strengtheners. Sit up straight. First, place your right hand on your right cheek, palm facing out (fingers toward your ears). Push gently against your hand, but not to the point you are shaking (don't turn your head or let it drop). Next, do it on the left side. Next, place your hands on your forehead (fingertips up, palms down, above your eyes) and press forward (again, not to the point you're shaking). Last, place your hands behind your head, fingertips interlaced, and push backward.

    Another neck stretch/strengthener he gave me was to lie down on a rolled towel under my neck, and tuck my chin to my chest. Another chin tuck, place your arms behind you in a V (sort of like a yoga chest expansion), tuck your chin toward your neck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    Here's a youtube link to a pretty good exercise to strengthen and align the neck and shoulder girdle.

    The eagle arms position is a great stretch for the upper traps and levator scap.

    Hope that helps.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wahine View Post
    Here's a youtube link to a pretty good exercise to strengthen and align the neck and shoulder girdle.

    The eagle arms position is a great stretch for the upper traps and levator scap.

    Hope that helps.
    For certain, I plan to try the eagle arms position. I'm noticing my neck and upper back hunching forward a tad. I see it in photos. Thx so much!
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    1,715
    Just wanted to post back in my thread here to say... thx the replies! Nice info. Omg, I don't know what the deal is, but my right side is definately tighter than my left. Hmmm... maybe because I'm right handed and it's the 'dominate side'. Anyrate, both need a stretch. And strenthening exerecise posted is chalellenging to do it (& for a reason). Appreciate the help.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Wowee, glad Catrin revived this thread.

    Two more my myofascial therapist gave me:

    * Put your hand on a wall, fingers pointing up, elbow straight at shoulder level (but not locked). Turn your feet until you feel a good stretch in chest and forearm, then turn your head away from the side being stretched.

    * Anchor your sternum by crossing your hands on your chest. Rotate your neck to one side and slightly extend it. Jut your chin out as far as you can, then slowly open and close your mouth (pretend you're a fish, she described it).
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

 

 

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