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Sore back muscles from riding motorcycle

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by bettyblue, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. Hey there,
    Newbie here, so bear with me.

    Having started riding in January and in increasing frequency and duration in the past few weeks, I started developing tight back, shoulders and forearm muscles. My massage therapist (sports rehab, don't get ideas) told me that these could be due from motorcycling: braking, using the throttle and clutch. I suppose it didn't help that I dropped the bike a couple of nights ago and had to lift up the bike on my own. My therapist told me to stretch the muscles using tennis ball - roll the back on top of a tennis ball.

    FYI, I am a girl and probably not too used to controlling a machine double my weight. I am just wondering if people encounter the same issue and whether these gradually will go away after the muscles develop?

    P.S. I'm going for my P plate test tomorrow, wish me luck :)


  2. Yeah - Try doing some back strengthening exercises, they should help!
    How did you pick up your motorcycle - were you facing towards it or away from it? You should always pick a motorcycle up with your back facing to it, using your legs to walk backwards, lifting your bike up surprisingly easily. Take hold of the grip further away from you, and something like pillion grab handles or similar object towards the rear of the motorcycle. Put your feet on the ground far away from your and the bike, and just walk backwards. You'll save yourself much effort and muscle ache doing it this way!
    Oh yeah, and good luck for your test :)
  3. I ride a cruiser so it's a different seating position and I can't really comment. Good luck for the test tomorrow!
  4. #4 Mahoney, Apr 22, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
    Get way forward into the tank and use your legs and your lower core muscles to hang on to the bike, your arms should be relaxed, which will take the weight off your back. If you can't flap your elbows like you're doing the "chicken dance" throught corners then you're too stiff!

    It will transfer the soreness onto your abs and thighs until you get used to it, simple stretches and warm up exercises will help.

    Watch this clip, and if you still think controlling a moving motorcycle has anything to do with weight, watch it again!

  5. I encountered a bit of soreness around the lower back and upper body the first few weeks into riding. The pain slowly went away but not completely. On longer rides the pain would come back. I noticed I was a bit stiff on the bars and was told so by some other riders. For a few months after that I did what Mahoney mentioned, do the chicken flap of the arms while riding, that made sure that my legs were holding me on the bike while keeping the arms/hands/upper body loose on the handle bars.

    It is also good to be lose on the handle bars in case you run into pot holes or the front end does a wobble. The less input you put on the handle bars, the easier it is for the bike to stabilize itself.
  6. So you are saying that you've had this problem of late and not just since dropping the bike? Aside from the good advice given, two points strike me:

    1.It takes time to develop the muscles used in riding. And like any sport riding does put stress on certain muscles that will as a result give you hassle. I really shouldn't have a kickstart due to my bad neck and hips and the chronic problems with hips that hit males in my family as they age - but what can you do?

    2.Hopefully the above is the case. But it might also be that the style of bike you've bought is wrong for you physically. Some people are pretty dogmatic about this and will tell you a certain riding position is it and a bit - some for the sports position, others for the cruiser position - but that's not true (well there is truth in the claim that the sit up and beg position that's was traditional to bikes for a long time is pretty damn ergonomically good). If the problem doesn't go away if might be that the position of your style of bike, or at least the extremity of the position required by your particular bike, is wrong for you. See what happens in the longer term. Change it if it is, as not only will you have physical problems but worse...you'll find yourself less and less desirous of riding! Whenever I ride a proper bent over sports bike it kills me, it's not fun.
  7. You will acclimatise to it. You are using muscles that don't normally cop that much work.
    Hence the pain.
    Yup for stretching. Specially before your ride !!! you will find you can go longer and not as sore if you do some stretching first.
    Your posture will be better on the bike and you will feel more in control.
  8. A lot of it is about being bike fit. Gym can help if you strengthen your back and abs. You might have too much weight on your arms?
  9. core strength, work on it.
    wrists, forearms >http://www.powerballs.com/

    as said allready. get up to the tank, use your thighs, relax upper body and grip.
    takes time, you"ll get there.
  10. yup, size could definitely be the issue. the current r6 that i ride allows be to fully straighten my back and my neck while still not putting a lot of pressure on my arms.. the gsxr 750 was too long and too low, so used to give me sore muscles.

    oh yeah, good luck for the test.. you wont need it as its simple..
  11. As others have suggested you are using muscles you haven't used before and in ways you haven't used them before. You will get more used to it over time and the more you do it the more those muscles will develop.

    However if your shoulders and forearms are sore you may be hanging onto the bars too tightly - a common newbie mistake.

    The bars are NOT handles to hold you on the bike. They are for you to provide steering inputs to the bike. And if you are grabbing them too tightly you will be providing inputs when you don't want to and not when you do want to. Your grip on the bars should be light - little more than getly resting your hands on them Relax your grip and you may ease some of the muscle aches.

    If you need to hold yourself on (and except in spirited riding or under hard braking, most times you don't) use your knees to grip the tank. BTW these are a different set of muscles so once you start doing this your legs may start to ache for a while too.
  12. Best wishes for the test.

    And yes, riding can cause all sorts of aches and pains, even when you do it often. Bad roads cause a surprising amount of muscle pain as our bodies cope with being bounced around. Grip with your knees, develop your trunk muscles (sit ups and the like) and stay loose with your upper body so you don't have a "death grip" on the controls or let your arms stiffen, denying you flexibility when steering.

  13. Picking up a bike, while likely under a fair injection of adrenaline, will do this to you
  14. Sometimes adjusting the handlebars or adding a riser can make a lot of difference to your rider comfort .All the other advice regarding posture ,relaxing arms and kneegripping the tank as well as getting used to the bike will ensurse comfortable and enjoyable riding
  15. Depends what you ride. Sports bike riders can get this really easily when they are not using proper technique - gripping the bike with knees, carrying almost all weight on the pegs, etc. Not to say that this is any less painful at first, but for sport bikes you generally shouldn't be carrying any weight in your arms.

    And, like just about anything else, the more you do it, the better you get at it. It will take time for your muscles to develop. Bumpy roads don't help either.

    As said, make sure you're not using the "death grip" either - try shaking your elbows side to side while holding the handlebars. When you do, take note if your arms relaxed or not. Seriously, try it.

    Good luck with your test!
  16. Went for my first long ride yesterday since finishing the Kat - have been off the road for a while and this morning have the same aches and muscle twinges. I think you'll find after you've ridden for a while that your muscles will build up and it won't hurt any more.
    Also have to emphasize the importance of keeping that relaxed grip.

    P.S. how did your licence test go?