Cycling Tips for Healthy Arms and Hands

Published - Jul 17, 2019

By Kari McCaffery, OTR/L, CHT

It’s that time of year again!  The Tour de France is upon us for the month of July.  While we are getting excited to watch the coverage, many of us find ourselves compelled to get out on our road bikes as well.  In preparation, we want to give you a few tips to ensure a safe ride for your arms and hands.

Rotate, Rotate, Rotate!

Make sure to rotate between all three of your positions on your road bike including the tops, hoods and drops.  This will assist in sharing the load between various musculature in your upper body.

Stretching it Out

When at a stop sign, stop and stretch it out.  To target the upper extremity, work on forearm stretches and pectoralis stretches to alleviate muscles that have been working for a prolonged period of time.   

Getting the Gear

Having the correct gear to protect your nerves is crucial.  We often find that we feel “road noise” while out cycling.  Unfortunately, this creates a vibration to our nerves and may result in numbness or tingling in the hands.  In order to best protect our nerves, cycling gloves provide a cushion to both the median and ulnar nerves that cross our wrist.  This will prevent any unwanted symptoms in our hands. 

Lessen the Load

When cycling, we should avoid placing significant pressure into our hands and wrists while placed on the handle bars by using “light hands.”  In order to best do this, there are two areas to consider.  First, make sure to consistently work your core to help support your body.  Second, make sure you are using a correctly sized bike and have a proper bike fit. This can be provided by a professional bike fitter at a local cycling shop or even at our very own IRG – Highlands location

These tips are a great way to get out on your bikes, all while protecting your arms and hands.