How to prevent hand numbness while riding Five tips for reducing and preventing numbness while you ride. 

How to prevent hand numbness while riding Five tips for reducing and preventing numbness while you ride. 

riding near Menton/France 2018 Trek Emonda ALR pic by ©kramon

Hand numbness usually happens because a nerve in your wrist or elbow is being compressed. This issue typically stems from your riding position, so we’ve put together some advice for changing your riding position, which is especially important on longer rides.

Switch up your hand position

Road bikes with drop bars have three hand positions. Switching between these will help relieve and even prevent numbness in the hands.

Hoods – when you put your hands on the brake hoods. This position gives you access to the brakes and shifters without being as aggressive a position as the drops. Most riders spend the majority of their ride on the hoods.

Drops – when you put your hands on the lowest curved part of the handlebar. This position is usually used when descending for better control of the bike. Only stay in the drops for short periods of time because it strains your back and neck.

Tops – when you place your hands between the hoods and the stem of your bike. This position is most often used to relieve pressure on your back while riding at slower speeds. You don’t have access to your brakes from this position, making it potentially dangerous to ride on the tops for long periods of time.

Sit back in your seat instead of forwards

This will help take your bodyweight off your arms and allow you to engage your glutes and core when pedalling. This will seem difficult at first, especially if you’re not doing regular core exercises, but it will get easier over time.

Ride with a bend in your elbow

Instead of locking out your arms, ride with a bend in your elbow instead. This will prevent your hands from going numb. If riding this way is hard for you to do you may be riding the wrong size bike. Shop by your local Trek retailer to get a bike fit.

Invest in a pair of cycling gloves

Get at least one pair of good quality cycling gloves and wear them on every ride. It’ll help protect the sensitive nerve endings in your hands, and make your ride much more comfortable.


Stretching will help increase mobility and help prevent certain parts of the body from straining too much while you ride, which can ultimately help relieve numbness.

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