Excessive Leg Cramp , who gets it?

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  • Excessive Leg Cramp , who gets it?
  • rs
    Member

    eat lots afterwards (or during too) and stretch properly when your done.

    Dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, muscle fatigue – combo of all of the above?

    Nuun tablets work wonders and are pretty palatable.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    I found increasing hydration (and using SIS) plus wearing Skins shorts has stopped me getting leg cramps on longer rides.

    crikey
    Member

    I’ve moved from thinking/assuming that cramp is all about electrolytes to now thinking that it’s much more to do with neuro-muscular fatigue. When you say you are fitter, does that mean you are riding harder than they are? climbing quicker, forcing the pace?

    I think cramp is an indication that you are asking more from your muscles than they are trained to deliver; the answer is more or at least more specific training.

    shadthebad
    Member

    I suffered badly with this. Usually after I finish a ride and perhaps hours later. It’s not like the cramps I remember as a kid where you could just stretch them out. I’ve had them where they’ve lasted 20 mins (quads) and the pain is so bad I can barely breathe. Then sometimes you get them whilst asleep.

    Nuun has effectively eliminated it @ 750ml an hour and I’m fine. High 5 Energy Source works too if you need the carbs.

    James_F
    Member

    Won’t these work as well as Nuun tablets? Myprotein
    Nuun and High Five Zero tablets seem to add a few more pounds just for the branding really

    TooTall
    Member

    I sweat like a fat lass in a chocolate factory and suffered badly with cramps. Since using Elete Water and occasional Nuun etc I’ve not had trouble since. Includes several weeks working in 40 degree C plus temperatures using the same hydration solutions.

    TooTall
    Member

    I’ve moved from thinking/assuming that cramp is all about electrolytes to now thinking that it’s much more to do with neuro-muscular fatigue.

    Is that based upon anything remotely scientific, or a hunch?

    crikey
    Member

    http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramps-part-1-theories-and.html

    Well worth a read, and fits with my experience; I only cramp after hard exercise, and only in the muscles I’ve been using. If electrolyte depletion was the cause of cramp, you would get cramp in all your muscles. In addition, sweat is hypotonic; you sweat out lots of water and a tiny bit of salt, so your body salt concentration goes up, not down.

    It’s based on golgi tendon organs and muscle spindles trying to increase tone in the muscles to increase contraction strength in a fatigued muscle. It’s a pretty good theory.

    TooTall
    Member

    Fair enough – just sounded spurious and a linky helps with understanding.

    Hi two years ago I raced in Relentless 24hour race, as part of a team of three. During that event i had horrendous leg cramps. I do suffer a bit with cramp on ride of 4 hours or more and i’m not sure why.

    I’m fitter than most my friends that i ride with, however they don’t get cramp during long rides the same as I do.

    Can anyone recommend any solutions or suggest why i seem to suffer with this more than others?

    Cheers
    Ritchie

    Premier Icon Teetosugars
    Subscriber

    Try drinking Tonic Water- Its full of Quininene, so should sort out cramps..

    crikey
    Member

    Yes, it kind of goes against the way that everyone thinks they know about cramp and the causes of cramp.

    I think the back story is that our perceptions regarding cramp and electrolytes have been affected by a lot of marketing spin, but it occured so long ago that we accept it without question…

    ..and the market for sports drinks is big…

    I have tried various electrolyte drinks but they have never worked for me nor has just drinking more. The only thing which has made a differance is a good stretch.

    +1 for bananas, it was a solution for a friend of mine, potassium init?

    Try drinking Tonic Water- Its full of Quininene Gin, so should sort out cramps..

    There that’s better…

    Crikey – what makes you think that it is only neuro-muscular fatigue? I’m of the opinion that electrolyte imbalance and dehydration are some of the contributing factors to that. Makes sense to me.

    Taff
    Member

    I used to struggle badly on long endurance events. I think part of it was not drinking enough but I found using torq gels worked better than any other gel. Also carry jelly beans now or a banana for some decent sustenance.

    steezysix
    Member

    Best tip I heard (from and army buddy) to avoid cramp after big bouts of exercise is to 1: eat a big bag of chips and 2: drink a pint of beer. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as necessary.

    Speaking of intense cramp. Me and the wife were having some us time early this morning 😉 and I got the worst cramp I’ve ever had in my hamstring. Talk about a total passion killer. 😳

    Just thought I’d share that with you all.

    SBZ

    Obviously need more practise… 🙂

    Premier Icon Bez
    Subscriber

    Cramp is the one thing that can ruin a day on the bike for me. I sweat like Gary Glitter at Legoland, and taking on plenty of salt and liquid seems to hold it off – drinks-wise I usually make up each bottle with the juice of half a lime and a load of salt and sugar; for big rides I tend to use High 5 Energy Source with a pinch of salt added.

    +1 for hamstring cramp being a bitch and any cramp being the wrong sort of “stiffening up” at, er, inopportune moments

    BTW – that reference quoted by Crikey is very poor and not worth the electricity used to display it on your screen…
    …they are blagging for donations.

    clarkpm4242 – I have three kids. I’ve had plenty practice. 😀

    Time for a lie down…

    Premier Icon Bez
    Subscriber

    In addition, sweat is hypotonic; you sweat out lots of water and a tiny bit of salt, so your body salt concentration goes up, not down.

    I seem to sweat a lot of salt. After a normal ride I can scrape the stuff off my face, my helmet straps are encrusted with it, and if it rains then I get a steady flow of brine running around my mouth. I don’t know how much variation there is in people’s rate of salt loss via sweat, but I do know that experience says if I don’t take on salt on a long ride (regardless of how much or little I drink) then I’m more likely to cramp than if I don’t.

    Domb thing, but I have a pair of dhb shorts that give me cramp – the elastic at the ends of the legs sits a bit higher on my legs than other shorts, and that seems to be where I get the cramp – minor things liek that can affect circulation, it seems.

    Cramp is an interesting one. I’ve never had cramp on the bike and I don’t sweat much so I wonder if they are related?

    Joe Friel wrote an interesting series on hydration here:

    http://www.trainingbible.com/joesblog/2008/09/hydration-and-exercise-part-1.html

    Doesn’t deal with cramps but some interesting points on hydration / performance (drink when you’re thirsty) and sodium concentration / replacement (you can’t, electrolyte drinks are too low a concentration to do this).

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Subscriber

    don simon – Member
    Bananas

    OK, shoving something down your shorts that makes you look like you should be vocalist for a 70s heavy metal band might cheer you up but it ain’t going to stop your cramping, is it

    SBZ, I’ve had the same – both hamstrings cramped right up at a/the critical point 😯 of some “cross-training”. Further reinforces the argument that it’s exercise you’re not adequately prepared for or accustomed to 🙁

    toons
    Member

    Try Potassium tablets from Holland and Barrett and make sure your short liners aren’t cutting the circulation off (you’ll have red rings on your legs).

    anc
    Member

    Its overall fitness, strength etc really init. You can analyse cramp which ever way you wish but ultimately cramp comes about when you are riding outside your bodies comfort zone. Part of any training regime should include slower/easier miles. If you ride on the rivet all the time an get cramp etc, its counter productive as you deplete your resources every time you ride making it harder to improve.

    neninja
    Member

    I suffered badly last year with cramps in my feet and calves – sometimes while riding and other times during the night when asleep.

    Sorted through a combination of electrolyte drinks during the ride and fitting some more supportive insoles in my shoes (Superfeet green). I have high foot arches and the standard footbed didn’t support the arch at all (I ride flats).

    shedbrewed
    Member

    honourablegeorge – Member

    Domb thing, but I have a pair of dhb shorts that give me cramp – the elastic at the ends of the legs sits a bit higher on my legs than other shorts, and that seems to be where I get the cramp – minor things liek that can affect circulation, it seems.

    I find that my budgie smugglers are worse than my trail shorts for this. My cramps tend to be groin or hamstring. I keep looking for shorts that have a more relaxed leg elastic.

    Macavity
    Member

    A lot of stuff about dealing with the sypmtoms.

    But on the subject of the cause, it could be mor to do with the shoes you use and where your foot is positioned on the pedal – ball of foot over pedal spindle.

    POWER TO THE PEDAL – CLEAT POSITION

    If the smaller muscles in the leg are working too hard , and then tire, in trying to hold the foot in a particular position on the pedal; then the rest of the leg will find it harder to work effectively.
    This may lead to cramp. Sometimes moving the foot further forward on the pedal can ease the cramp, and posibly eliminate the cramp happening.

    Premier Icon mintimperial
    Subscriber

    Cramp is an interesting one. I’ve never had cramp on the bike and I don’t sweat much so I wonder if they are related?

    Purely anecdotal I know, but I don’t sweat much either (unless it’s really baking hot), and I often get killer cramp if I’m giving it beans on a three-hour-plus ride. I suspect it’s because I spent most of my twenties sat on my arse in front of computers, and have only started to put some miles in over the past couple of years. Stretching definitely helps, I can feel my legs going a bit crampy after a ride if I don’t give them a good stretch out.

    I’ve moved from thinking/assuming that cramp is all about electrolytes to now thinking that it’s much more to do with neuro-muscular fatigue. When you say you are fitter, does that mean you are riding harder than they are? climbing quicker, forcing the pace?

    I think cramp is an indication that you are asking more from your muscles than they are trained to deliver; the answer is more or at least more specific training.

    This +1

    used to get cramp loads. Always in 24 hour races or 100k enduros. tried everything (electorlytes, stretching. warmups, hydration) Have done loads of training last year and road racing this year. Haven’t had cramp once

    After trying a number of things I have taken to do two things, more conditioning of the muscles I don’t use for cycling by taking up running and doing more weight exercises to strengthen up the weaker muscles that seemed to be the one’s cramping. And I also spray on some magnesium spray before a long race as this is one of the key elements that affect the contraction and extension of muscle fibres, of which there is a limited amount in “sports drinks”.

    Since working more on strengthening the non-cycling muscles I have found I do not get the feeling of cramp coming on during a long and hard training ride and the magnesium prior to a race seems to help but could just be a mental thing but as its just for races it cant do any harm.

    Plenty of salt (lots of processed foods these days come with relatively low salt content cos of all the ‘ooh salt is bad for you’ crap hysteria). If you’re doing strenuous exercise you’ll need more salt than a lazy sedentary person.

    Oh, and I find a nice pint of nutritious replenishing beer after a long/fast ride really helps to prevent cramp. Scientifically proven, too.

    As with anything, plenty of simple, cheap solutions. Most of these energy products are snake oil really; offer no genuine advantage over ‘natural’ solutions other than convenience. For people too lazy/ignorant to work out that bunging a bit of salt/glucose powder etc into yer bottle of water/drink is what you actually need, rather than spending loads on fancy lifestyle products. Don’t get me wrong energy gels work very well and are very convenient but I find a few Haribo Tangfastics give me the energy burst I need in races/long/fast rides tbh. Couple of bananas, bit of flapjack or something it ain’t got to be spensive and in shiny ‘sports’ packaging you know.

    Jimification: Cramp is an interesting one. I’ve never had cramp on the bike and I don’t sweat much so I wonder if they are related?

    Purely anecdotal I know, but I don’t sweat much either (unless it’s really baking hot), and I often get killer cramp if I’m giving it beans on a three-hour-plus ride. I suspect it’s because I spent most of my twenties sat on my arse in front of computers, and have only started to put some miles in over the past couple of years. Stretching definitely helps, I can feel my legs going a bit crampy after a ride if I don’t give them a good stretch out.

    Ok, that’s that theory out of the window then…the muscular endurance idea makes a lot of sense.

    Also the cleat position makes sense too: Surely every pedal stroke is downward force on the leg and for that to be applied through the foot, the calf muscle must resist this force and hold the foot level. The further forward your cleats are the more leverage your foot has to counter and the harder your calves have to work (potentially leading to cramping or exhaustion)…at least that’s how I see it.

    I’m presuming most people get cramp in their calves?

    I always thought it’s my quads I should worry about but I had a sports massage recently and was surprised when the masseuse said my quads were ok but my calves were really tight…

    I’ve suffered from terrible cramp (in thigh muscles) over the years starting around the 3-4 hour riding mark (depending on how hard the ride is). After trying every elctrolytic supplemnent around I’ve come round to thinking it’s a lot to do with muscle fatigue as per above posts. This since I started doing a couple of sessions a week on the road, sticking to the middle ring only, really pushing it on hils. Seems to have strengthened my muscles and cramp seems to be much reduced this year. I still use the elctorlyte tablets in my Camelbak though.

    gboarder
    Member

    I used to surfer from cramp during surfing/bodyboarding, since reading on a bodyboarding forum about tonic water and banana’s. Since using both I generally hardly ever get crap.

    Give it a go. see if it helps.

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