Back pain and suggested core workouts

Due to a change of bike (very aggressive position) I end up with low back and then upper back pain on and off the bike, i’ve been 6 months without riding. I have had sciatica symptoms. I have visited different doctors and all of them tell me is something muscular but they don’t give me a specific routine to relief pain and rehab, I had MRI and my spine is relatively okay. someone has experienced a similar situation, what routine strengthening and stretches so you recommend.
Thank you

Did you ask the doctors for a referral to a physical therapist (PT)? I’ve been to several PTs and the ones specializing in sports are excellent.

My chiro suggested I do squats (unweighted) and deadlifts (some weight) to build some strength in the lower back.

Every situation is unique but, I get this is a forum and perhaps you can learn from others with similar but, not the same problems. Before I detail my situation the number one recommendation is to find a Physiotherapist and give them the MRI/Film to study and develop a routine from that.

My back problems were ruptured L5S1 and L3L4. At the core of my disfunction was lack of core stabilization. My PT surmised that small muscles like the multifidus among others were not working/firing to stabilize my spine. Further, I was so unbalanced from a muscular standpoint top to bottom, side side and front to back, my spine was anything but stable under load while riding a bike.

I should disclose that once I ruptured the discs I foolishly started riding again once I felt “ok” enough to swing my leg over the top tube and reinjured the discs 3X in a span of maybe 3 months. I finally found a PT that explained what a complete idiot I was, what was going on and a path to fix it and spent the next year off the bike doing rehab. I probably could have started riding much much sooner but, I was resolved to never go back to the pain I experienced and wanted to make sure by becoming super core guy.

So for me, (I don’t recommend this as you need to have guidance from a pro) my routine looked something like this:

  • 15 minute easy cardio on a spin bike to warm up.
  • Stretches=hamstring, quads, calf, piriformis, glute med, glute max, adductor. Then:
  • Med-X machine which isolated strengthening the back specifically multifidus…eventually I moved on to back extensions.
  • Single leg presses on my back pressing a sled with resistance bands.
  • Single leg extensions that worked the glutes by pressing a sled backwards with bands.
  • Eventually I moved on and added a regular seated leg press machine.
  • Hamstrings.
  • Ad and abduction.
  • Calf.
  • Different variation of bridges.
  • Eventually different variation of plank.
  • Worked obliques with medicine balls.
  • Lots of stability exercises initially standing on the floor but moving to standing on foam to even half a ball where I’d raise one leg and bend down and touch my foot with my hand. Lots of different variations of these.
  • I did time standing single leg on foam or half ball bouncing weighted balls into a trampoline again for stability.
  • I did different variations of pulldowns for upper back.
  • Exercises for shoulders.

That’s what I recall off the top of my head…At the end we would ice and stim.

I didn’t do all this day one. I was very much in pain so we worked and evolved the routine as I gained mobility, strength and balance. The biggest thing I learned was the importance of true core stability and how important it is to keep opposing muscle “groups” balanced. As cyclist we are very much out of balance top to bottom, side to side and front to back.


They referred me to a few but I felt that I wasn’t improving much and they didn’t seem so qualified . (I live in Bogotá, Colombia so if anybody living here knows a good PT it would be excellent)

Thanks, that was very detailed I know every situation is unique but is useful to know what others did. I’m trying to find a good PT in my area but in the meantime I want to start advancing a bit on my spine stability and muscle imbalances

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I have a compressed disk from an old injury as a result of thousands of skydives and years of wake boarding & motocross. Every year I get a bout of pretty severe back pain from slipping & bulging of a particular disk. When it happens, I do lots of day hikes that have lots of climbing. A day pack with water and some food is all I stress my back with. It strengthens my hips and realigns my back. It’s great on my ankles and knees as well as my tendons and joints are doing something much different than just pedaling.

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I would look for PTs that specialize in football (soccer) or any other professional or semi-pro sports teams in Bogotá.

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I recommend reading the book “The Multifidus Solution”. Its written by a physical therapist and outlines the usual causes of back pain and the appropriate exercises. I followed these religiously after a disk rupture, and am pain free today.

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I had an injury a few years ago and since then suffering from lower back pain. It’s hard to give advice that can help because it’s very individual. In some case, it may help, or in other, it can make even worse. I tried massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, meditations, medical treatments, special exercises, and other stuff. I even bought almost all kinds of pillows to reduce back pain. I tried a lot, but the best one for me is a wedge-shaped pillow. It’s multifunctional, and I also use it around the house. I even travel with it! Now I can’t even say what exactly helped or maybe all together.

And I forgot to mention swimming

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Gradually build up this routine.

This is what has worked for me. Like TR, consistency is more important than volume at the start. Start with minimal reps/sets and build up over many weeks.

  1. Hamstring stretching
  2. Hip flexor stretching
  3. Glute medius activation
    • bridges
    • planks
    • push ups
  4. Cable rows (build up from 60% effort)
  5. Lat pull downs (build up from 60% effort)
  6. Quad Superman’s (Opposite arm and leg reach)

This is what has worked for me. Like TR, consistency is more important than volume at the start.


So, I realize that I am very late to this thread, but I would like to offer my completely unscientific opinion.

I will give the quickest background that I can. I am NOT a Dr. I have had horrible back issues. Most of these issues resulted in sciatic pain. In 2019 I had 3 back surgeries. It is an absurdly long story which I am happy to discuss with you directly if you have any questions but I can’t share much more online.

I tried every well known intervention including chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, PT, traction, and simple pain meds.

Everything fucked me up. I was fucked up until I met someone who practiced ROLFing. After several months of seeing this magician, he cured me. There were so many things I was doing during my regular life which caused me pain. And he found ALL OF THEM. He pushed me INTO MY BODY. Which I now believe is the secret to living a pain free life.

While core workouts I am sure may be helpful, I do think that learning how to properly align one’s body (and understand the misalignments which may exist) is the most important thing one can do. Please work on this and if you don’t understand what I am saying, please contact me. Unless you’ve had some sort of great trauma, you can fix your issure.