zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

What Causes Glute Pain When Cycling?

by
author image Nicole LeBoeuf-Little
Nicole LeBoeuf-Little is a freelancer from New Orleans, writing professionally since 1994. Recent short stories appear on Ideomancer.com and in Ellen Datlow's anthology "Blood and Other Cravings." She has published articles in "Pangaia Magazine" and eGuides at StyleCareer.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of Washington and attended the professional SF/F workshop Viable Paradise.
What Causes Glute Pain When Cycling?
There are several reasons your glutes might growl at you during or after a long cycling session. Photo Credit Andrey Kryuchkov/iStock/Getty Images

Cycling, like any athletic activity, requires a certain tolerance for discomfort. As the saying goes, "No pain, no gain!" But it's important to distinguish between the soreness that comes from normal or extreme exertion and the pain that signals injury. When you feel that burn in your butt cheeks, stay alert for signs that medical intervention may be needed.

The Glutes Defined

What Causes Glute Pain When Cycling?
The gluteus maximus gets the brunt of your cycling work out. Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

"Glutes" is shorthand for the gluteal group of muscles, also called the posterior thigh muscles. This group comprises the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and the tensor fasciae latae. As you might guess from the name, the gluteus maximus is the largest of the glutes. It makes up the greater part of the visible butt cheek. It's your primary hip extensor, powering your downward stroke when you pedal. Of all your glutes, the gluteus maximus gets the brunt of your cycling work out.

Muscle Soreness During Cycling

What Causes Glute Pain When Cycling?
Lactate buildup is what causes the burning sensation in your rear. Photo Credit Warren Goldswain/iStock/Getty Images

Your muscles require oxygen in order to convert glucose into energy. The harder you work out, the more oxygen your muscles need. But during a really intense exercise session, your body's oxygen delivery system eventually falls behind your muscles' energy demands. When that happens, your body relies instead on an anaerobic process for metabolizing glucose. This backup process has a nasty side-effect: It results in an accumulation of lactic acid, or lactate. Lactate buildup is what causes that burning sensation in your glutes when you're cycling hard. The pain should pass if you take a break and give your body a chance to slow down.

You Might Also Like

Muscle Soreness After Cycling

What Causes Glute Pain When Cycling?
DOMS typically peaks 24 to 72 hours after an extreme exercise event. Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

If you experience glute pain over the days following an extra-intense bike ride, however, you can't blame that on lactic acid. Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), characterized by muscle tenderness accompanied by a loss of strength and range of motion that usually peaks 24 to 72 hours after an extreme exercise event, has not been found to correlate with lactate levels during the exercise event. Exactly what causes DOMS remains unknown. Most research indicates that has to do with an inflammatory-repair response to muscle cell damage sustained during extreme exercise events. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can reduce the soreness, but they can also slow down the damage repair process.

Piriformis Syndrome

What Causes Glute Pain When Cycling?
Piriformis syndrome is characterized by pain deep within the buttocks which sometimes radiates down the thigh or up in to the lower back. Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

It's possible that what you experience as glute pain isn't coming from your gluteus muscles at all. In the case of piriformis syndrome, the piriformis muscle swells and irritates the sciatic nerve, which usually passes beneath the piriformis but in some people runs right through it. Piriformis syndrome is characterized by pain deep within the buttocks which sometimes radiates down the thigh or up in to the lower back, following the path of the sciatic nerve. Treatment for piriformis syndrome usually consists of progressive stretching and physical therapy under the direction of a sports medicine physician. Stubborn cases sometimes require corticosteroid injections.

Related Searches

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

References

Demand Media