Bike Forums - View Single Post - quad pain hiking down hill - could this be related to commuting too much?
Old 04-25-12, 10:07 PM
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Location: Sydney, Australia
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Bikes: Cannondale Quick 4

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OK, I've waited 9 days and, for the first time since November, I've managed to do my ride and not suffer debilitating quad cramps 5 days later when I walk downhill thanks largely to all of the posts in this thread.

I'd been off the bike for a fortnight due to an operation (nothing serious) and got back to cycling determined to get this fixed and so I've tried to take on board all of the advice given to me by the physio, pharmacist and, of course, posted above.

For me I think the answer has been principally performing jumping squats a few times a day with some hamstring stretches but here's what I did last Tuesday:

1. Quad stretch and squats before riding
2. Magnesium tablet as suggested by the pharmacist who belieives that all cramps are caused by magnesium deficiency (not convinced as I'd been taking these previously)
3. Filled my water bottle with a sports drink rather than just water (also recommended by the pharmacist who said it's dehydration if not magnesium and I found a powdered option with added magnesium so thought that would a good way to go)
4. Put on my new SPD shoes as I've fitted cleats to the bike to make it more efficient and allow pulling as well as pushing (had previously used toe clips so not sure how significant this is)
5. Stopped a couple of times along the way for a couple of minutes breather (wasn't intending to, but we had a torrential downpour in Sydney and it was like being waterboarded at times and visibility was awful)
6. Tried to spend a bit of time out of the saddle as suggested above
7. Repeated the stretching at work including hamstring stretches
8. Rode home at the end of the day in the same way and got caught in another downpour.

The reason I think that it's the squats that makes the difference is because its the only thing that I've done substantially differently and it fits above that the muscles causing the issues are those with we use to deccelerate when walking downhill. I've focussed not on the pushing back up part of the squat, in fact I took that gently, but on the going down part of the squat and I've enhanced the effect by using the steps out back, firstly jumping slightly off the bottom step for 8-10 squats and then another 8-10 off the second step. I tried to do it 2 or 3 times per day.

I can definitely feel my quads are a bit still. Yesterday was a public holiday here and I spent the afternoon playing touch footy and soccer, including a parents versus kids game where I wasn't holding back and so was a little achy afterwards but certainly not the horrible cramps I'm used to and again I did a few squats to warm down afterwards.

Anyhow, thought I should report back on my success and hopefully it's not some fluke or caused by the rain - as that wasn't much fun!

Will try riding again next week and then take a break to see if the cramps come back.

All the best and thanks again to everyone for contributing to this thread as I don't think I'd have fixed this without you.

AndyInSydney is offline