Lower back pain is very common among professional as well as recreational cyclists.
In this article, I will show you the best ways to strengthen your lower back. I’m also gonna help you understand if a peloton is good for back pain.
- Some peloton classes are good for back pain, as long as you’re mindful about how you use them.
- Doing stretching, foam rolling, and yoga workouts before and after cycling classes can help to reduce low back pain.
- One of the main reasons for low back pain and discomfort from cycling is incorrect bike setup. I’ve already covered that in my article peloton and back pain, which I recommend you read.
Best Peloton classes for back pain
There are several reasons why you may experience lower back pain. The incorrect posture we spend the most time in during the day, or the way we position ourselves during the exercise.
Gabriel Streisfeld, DPT from the Duke University Hospital, says that “the most common reason for lower back pain during cycling is weak core muscles that get fatigued, especially during longer rides”.
“The weak core can create an imbalance in the pelvis and muscle tension around the lumbar spine,” says Dr.Streisfeld.
The peloton offers several non-bike classes that help not only to burn calories but also strengthen the core and back muscles.
Here is the list.
1. Peloton Pilates
Pilates is by far the most comprehensive lower back rescue program. It offers over 40 classes that all target your deep and superficial core muscles.
- Peloton pilates is a series of low-impact exercise classes that helps to strengthen postural muscles around the spine.
- The classes implement over 50 different positions that range in difficulty from beginner to advanced.
Peloton pilates is good for back pain because it uses dozens of abdominal exercises that help to activate deep muscles that stabilize the pelvis and lumbar.
The difference between strength training classes and peloton pilates classes is that pilates incorporates slow but challenging moves.
Doing slow movements with low repetition will activate all those little muscles that are normally overlooked or inactive when doing regular sit-ups or crunches.
Pilates is widely used in physical therapy as a primary way to strengthen lower back muscles. In fact, studies have shown that pilates and physical therapy has a similar effect and there is little difference between them (Sarmento, et al. 2017).
2. Peloton Barre
Another way to strengthen the core and reduce lower back pain is by doing a peloton barre workout. Those sessions can be found in the strength training tab under the “barre” filter. Currently, there are over 40 barre classes.
In a nutshell.
- A peloton barre is a workout that incorporates elements of ballet training, dance conditioning, yoga, and pilates.
- It is a low-impact but high-volume training that strengthens the muscles in the hips, legs, and abdominal region.
In general, the peloton barre is good for back pain because it helps to work on all of the muscles around the lumbar spine area that support the lower back (rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, multifidus, erector spinae, and diaphragm).
What I like about barre is that you can really get a good workout without any weights or bands.
The exercises come from traditional ballet training, which requires quite a significant amount of balance, strength, and range of motion.
The class consists of doing a few exercises for the number of reps until muscle fatigue.
This helps to build muscle endurance, especially in those regions that we don’t primarily work on during cycling or running.
To be honest, I don’t do much barre on daily basis (my wife does a lot). Here in the video below you can learn more details from Emma and her review of Peloton barre.
3. Peloton Yoga Anywhere
I believe that peloton yoga anywhere is the number one back pain prevention treatment.
It not only does it help to relieve the pressure, but also helps to undo all the postural adaptations that we develop during the day.
In a nutshell.
- Peloton yoga anywhere is a series of short classes that are designed to mobilize the body on the go, without access to the yoga mat.
- You can do a variety of stretches in the office, at the airport, in the shopping mall, or even on the train. The class duration is between 5 to 20 minutes.
What is postural adaptation?
Postural adaptation is the way our body adapts to the position that we spend the most time in.
If you spend all day at work, behind your desk, or behind the car, the body will recognize this position as a pattern and keep the length-tension relationship of the muscles to match that position.
As a whole peloton yoga anywhere is good for back pain because it helps to restore range of motion by reducing postural adaptations.
Short 5 to 10 minutes stretches done multiple times in the day can prevent the body to adapt to those biomechanically inefficient positions.
In other words, it helps to deal with the problem before it becomes a real problem.
DeokJu Kim, Ph.D., a researcher from Cheongju University, says that “having a simple 5 minutes routine once every 60 minutes that mobilize the hips and shoulder can significantly reduce the risk of back pain, even for sedentary people”.
How does it work?
- Sitting all day leads to muscle tension, poor mechanical stability, and a limited range of motion.
- When you hop on the peloton bike, right off the start you get to be in an inefficient position.
- The hips get tight, quads get short and the lower back gets tense.
- Over time this creates back, hips, and knee pain.
Peloton yoga anywhere is a brilliant way to fight back against those muscle adaptations by restoring the optimal range of motion using the small dose-and-response method.
4. Peloton Yoga Slow Flow
If your goal is to reduce the back pain that is happening right now, the best option is to try peloton slow-flow yoga.
This class is designed for beginners and helps to relieve tension from the whole body. Here is a quick tutorial of what to expect from peloton’s slow flow.
In a nutshell.
- Slow flow yoga is a regular peloton yoga class with an emphasis on correct alignment.
- The duration of this class ranges from 20 to 60 minutes and it’s mostly targeted toward beginners or for people who aren’t flexible or strong enough to participate in power flow.
This class is good for back pain because it has a slow tempo that doesn’t require a constant transition from one posture to another.
It also allows for a much deeper stretch due to the longer time spend in one specific asana. The class is more designed to relax, rather than to increase flexibility.
Which is a big difference from most common yoga classes. Normally, the typical yoga class (Bikram yoga or Ashtanga yoga) is designed to work on your full capacity and improve your range of motion.
This is great for people who are pain-free and can push themselves.
However, for people who have some pain or discomfort, the yoga class should be more relaxing and gentle, rather than challenging.
5. Peloton Core Strength
Another class that can be done not only to lower back pain but also to further prevent it from happening again is peloton core strength.
Currently, there are over 900 core strength classes in the peloton app.
In a nutshell.
- Core strength is a series of peloton abs classes specifically designed to target the midsection and muscles supporting the abdominal region of the body.
- Classes vary in duration between 5 to 30 minutes and include a variety of exercises either with or without equipment.
As a whole, the peloton core strength is good for back pain because it helps to build the abdominal muscles of the spine.
It also helps to work on the posterior chain muscle groups like gluteal muscles and erector spinae, which both play a role in lumbar spine stability.
I like core strength because is a great workout that focuses purely on core muscles. There are not many full-body movements, which means this workout can be done at the end of your existing cycling or running routine.
However, I would not recommend this class if you have already some level of discomfort. This class is good to build muscle strength and endurance, not reducing acute pain.
If you do have currently pain in your lower back, I would suggest reading my “peloton for sciatica” article.
#6 Peloton Bootcamp Core
Bootcamp core is a combination of cardio together with an abdominal workout. This class can be found in the tread Bootcamp tab, under the “body focus” filter.
You can learn more details about this class from the peloton video below.
Bootcamp core is also included in my best peloton classes for weight loss, which I recommend you read.
In a nutshell.
- The peloton Bootcamp core is a combination of HIIT cardio together with abdominal strengthening exercises.
- This circuit training style workout helps to work on both aerobic fitness as well as resistance training.
The peloton Bootcamp core class is good for back pain because it allows working on the abdominal muscles, without muscle fatigue.
Doing 5 to 7 minutes of cardio between the strength exercises helps to reduce the accumulation of lactic acid.
When you work on just one specific exercise for a number of sets and reps you will reach muscle fatigue fast.
However, when you only focus on doing 3-4 exercises followed by a cardio run in between, this increases the peripheral circulation, helps to stimulate the lymphatic system, and eliminates lactate from the muscle (Scallan, et al. 2016).
I believe that peloton Bootcamp is one of the best ways not to increase body circulation, elevate metabolic rate and help to burn more calories.
7. Peloton Stretching
If you’re having any lower back issues, especially after the ride, doing peloton stretch classes can help to target some of those trigger points.
In a nutshell.
- Peloton stretching is a series of 5 to 20 minutes classes designed to stretch the whole body.
- This class is recommended to be done after your regular cycling or running routine and should not be done on its own without a warm-up.
As a whole, peloton stretching is good for back pain because it helps to reduce muscle tension and restore the optimal range of motion.
It also helps to reduce post-exercise muscle soreness DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) by improving muscle suppleness.
What I like about this class is that the stretches and very basic and can be done by everyone, regardless of how flexible you’re.
For better results, you can combine stretch classes with peloton foam rolling classes.
The difference between yoga and stretching is that stretching should be done at the end of the workout when the muscles are already warm.
In yoga, there is a dedicated warm-up routine called sun salutation, which allows yoga to be done on its own.
I think that one of the most overlooked reasons for lower back pain is the way we position ourselves during the day.
Especially if we spend most of the day in a sitting position.
Plus, people who are impatient and want to burn as many calories as possible, often overlook their posture during the ride.
I totally understand the desire to get fit, lose weight, and be skinny again. However, getting healthy, changing your lifestyle, and improving energy is not about doing as much as possible.
To learn more about how sitting can affect the rest of your body biomechanics (including the lower back) check out this video from Kelly Starrett, Ph.D., about sitting.
- Apart from core strengthening programs, the peloton has hundreds of classes available that help with back problems.
- Adding 3-4 classes per week to your peloton workout plan that help you to target your core muscles over time not only will reduce back problems, but also will prevent them from happening again.
- Workouts like pilates or core strength help to strengthen the core, while yoga and stretching allow to relieve tension and reduce muscle pain.