Why Do My Arms Hurt After Cycling?-Here Is The Science Behind

Correcting Both Leg & Arm Position

Why do my arms hurt after cycling?” is a common query in the cycling community. Find the answer and tips for getting over this symptom in our article below.



Cycling has been known as a low-impact form of exercise with lots of benefits for health and mind. This knowledge makes it a popular workout for all ages.

Regardless of this, cycling sometimes brings several pains and aches, leading to the question, “Why do my arms hurt after cycling?”. Following this article, you will see the scientific explanations for this phenomenon. Some useful tips for better cycling also appear for your application.

Riders keep asking Why Do My Arms Hurt After Cycling

Riders keep asking Why Do My Arms Hurt After Cycling

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Why Do My Arms Hurt After Cycling?

Why do my arms hurt after cycling? Well, there are several reasons for it.

Muscle Aches

In reality, there is more than one response to the inquiry of today's article. Among them, the most frequent option is tired muscles.

When you ride your bike, you must hold your handlebars for a long time. The tighter you hold them; the more muscle fibers are used to control the bike. This leads to an increase in tension at the forearms, causing muscle fatigue.

Besides, during your biking, your upper body weight is shifted forward. This makes your arms heavy, increases the pressure, and thus, raises the chances of suffering from forearm pain.

Remember that the fascia surrounding muscles is not elastic. Therefore, when the stress is too high, it is extremely tight and makes your arms hurt. Especially if you are new to biking, your chances of getting this symptom will be stronger.

Handlebar Palsy

The inflammation of the ulnar nerve from the forearm to the wrist (handlebar palsy, also called ulnar neuropathy) is one of the common issues in cycling.

When biking, your wrists are extended for long hours, causing the compression of the wrist’s nerves. In addition, the shock happening to your nerves due to uneven terrain is another reason for this disease.

Upon catching this injury, you may face acute pain, itch, weakness, or numbness in the outer forearms and hands. Furthermore, tingling and numbness can also happen at the ring and little fingers, as the ulnar nerve controls their sensation.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is an overuse injury whose symptoms are tingling, numbness, burning in the hand palm, wrist pain, and arm pain.

These symptoms come from the compression of the median nerves at the wrist. They come from putting too much weight on your wrist when cycling.

Though this injury does not happen regularly, it could cause deep hurt to your arms. The irritation of such median nerves can also affect your ability to shift gears.

So does cycling do anything for your arms? Yes, it does. Your arms have to support your bodyweight when riding drop handlebars. When it comes to off-road cycling, the toning effect is even greater.

Arm checking

Arm checking

What Muscles Should Be Sore After Cycling?

Besides arm muscles, below are the others that can easily get pains and aches after cycling.


Your calf muscles are the part most focused during your bike ride. They work continuously during cycling; thus, they are vulnerable to tenderness and irritation. The chance of getting this muscle soreness is higher in the case of overtraining.


The thigh muscles are also the elements that work heavily when you cycle. They, especially the quadriceps (a group of four thigh muscles), help the knee bend and produce power for you to ride the bike.

However, your exercise can make such body muscles tight and stiff. Sometimes, it can also cause deep aches at the kneecap due to the imbalance between the thigh muscles.


Your gluteal muscles contribute to the motions during your riding. Thanks to them, your thighs rotate, and your movements occur. Cycling can make them strong, also can make them tense in some cases.

Overtraining or incorrect saddle adjustment are the common reasons for tightness in the hip. This symptom usually comes with irritation in the kneecap.

Low Back

The low back is almost fixed when you sit on the saddle, resulting in a strain on the muscles at this part. Thus, muscle soreness can happen to the low back  after completing your biking journey. It can also radiate to the hip and thigh areas in some cases.


Biking can also improve the upper body, especially your shoulders, when you change your riding position during the bicycle ride. However, normally this area remains at the same location when you cycle.

Therefore, the flexibility of the shoulder muscles is reduced, and such muscles are easily stiff and painful.

Shoulder pain

Shoulder pain


Similar to the shoulders, your neck is subject to sustained posture and reduced flexibility when biking. So, it faces the risks of being stiff and tired during your long journey.

The pain can appear in the neck and the upper part of the back, even the middle part in bad conditions. This neck pain can cause difficulty for you in bending or rotating your neck.

How To Overcome Common Cycling Aches

To prevent your arms from hurting, you should stretch your forearm before and after cycling. In addition, you should start with riding for short distances until your muscles are familiar with this exercise.

When biking, you should remember to check the position of your arm and your hand. Putting the wrist in line with the arm is the right posture that can lessen the chances of getting aches.

When forearm muscles ache, consider taking some post-ride stretching regularly to make them fade away gradually.

Handle palsy and carpal tunnel syndrome are serious situations of painful arms after cycling. This can lead to suspension of this workout to avoid further bike injuries. You can consider seeing the doctor if the conditions continue.

For reducing the pains related to your calf, thigh, and buttock muscles, stretching and flexibility exercises can help. You should also take extra rest days to help them recover.

Furthermore, control your bike’s saddle height by checking it before your ride. A proper saddle height is essential to prevent the aches mentioned above.

In terms of the low back, shoulders, and neck, gentle stretches can relieve the tension and bring better movement. Additional exercises can be added to your routine to mobilize the muscles.


Overcome difficulties

Overcome difficulties

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For the preceding, you might get the answer to the query “Why do my arms hurt after cycling”. The exact explanations are forearm muscle aches, handlebar palsy, or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Besides your arms, sore muscles can happen in other areas as common issues after biking. Thus, you pay attention to healing stretches and exercises.

In addition, setting up a proper routine, having adequate rest days, and building correct postures should also be kept in mind, as prevention is better than cure. Remember it and have nice cycling journeys.

Ridge Davis

Ridgid Fitness represents the synthesis of Ridge Davis's career experiences in fitness and sports.

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