Throughout a cycling journey, many indoor cyclists experience wrist pain during their regular rides or classes. However, you should know, while cycling wrist pain may be common, it’s not normal. In fact, pain, tightness, or tingling in your fingers, arms, or wrists during cycling is a sign you’re placing excessive pressure on the ulnar and/or median nerve in your hands. The good news is, cycling wrist pain in almost all cases can be resolved. Try the following adjustments to set yourself up in the safest position while cycling and to reduce pressure through your wrists so you can cycle pain-free!
1. Proper Bike Set Up
First and foremost, it’s so important to have your bike set up properly for your body, as an improper setup is the most common cause of wrist pain in cyclists and a host of other injuries as well. Follow along with this cycle bike setup guide for your best fit.
In general, be sure to have your seat set high enough, with just a slight bend in the knee at the bottom of each pedal rotation. From here, sit all the way back on your seat, practicing good posture throughout your ride.
2. Wrists Straight, Not Flexed
From the proper body position, you can then shift your focus to your wrist positioning. Your wrists should be straight when gripping the handlebar, meaning from a side view, there should be a straight line from your knuckles to your elbow. They should not be flexed or bent as this could place extra pressure on the wrists.
3. Slight Bend in Elbows
Straightening out your arms when cycling will invite added pressure into your shoulder and neck area and can increase pressure in the wrists, forcing you to bend or compensate to position your hands on the handlebars. Alleviate pressure by keeping elbows slightly bent just like you would when going in for a handshake.
4. Loose, Relaxed Grip
It’s easy to feel tense when you’re going ham on a climb or heavy on the resistance, but a death grip on the handlebars will only lead to pain and tightness later. Engage your core, letting your abdominal muscles support your upper body instead of the handlebars while pushing with power through each pedal stroke. The handlebars are just there for balance, and if you’re feeling pain or numbness in your hands or wrists while cycling, odds are your grip is too tight, and you need to shift your weight back into the core and lower body.
5. Mix Up Your Grip as Needed
Finally, the ergonomic grips are there for your benefit. Feel free to switch up your grip at any time to alleviate that pressure on the wrists. Grab the pulse grips or come down to your elbows to give your wrists a little break. Mixing up your grip can help get you through when the going gets tough, and it’s a quick way to gain relief in the middle of an intense workout!
We hope you find these tips helpful if you experience regular finger, hand, or wrist pain while cycling. If you’ve tried these tips and are still experiencing pain, always be sure to consult a professional on your cycle bike fit and visit your doctor if wrist pain persists.