Dr. Stuart McGill, an expert in spinal biomechanics and author of Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance, points to long hours in the saddle as a significant risk factor for the development of low back problems. This flexed position of the spine, exacerbated by the triathlete/desk jockey’s all-too-common long day of sitting at a computer or in a car, can weaken and injure the spinal disks.
McGill’s prevention advice starts with breaking up long periods of sitting. Additionally he recommends that those with back pain should be cautious about early-morning rides, when the fully hydrated disks are at their most vulnerable stage, and instead spend that time in the pool. Also, those returning to training after a back injury should reintroduce cycling slowly and use a less aggressive aerobar position.