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Best ways to prevent cramping?

Old 04-20-07, 09:23 AM
  #1  
recneps
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Best ways to prevent cramping?

Ive started having a problem with cramping, I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with not enough water. They come on very quickly when my legs are sore, compared to not enough water cramps that come on slowely and can be streched out without hurting too bad.

Tends to happen during intervals or during long hard time trails, all of the sudden sharp pain.

What are you guys strategys for preventing cramping? Specific drinks, salt packets taped to handlebars?
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Old 04-20-07, 09:36 AM
  #2  
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Originally Posted by recneps
salt packets taped to handlebars?
Aren't they hard to get down? Or maybe you rub out the cramps with handlebars covered in salt packets?



Make sure you are getting enough electrolytes, though I would guess that you could take care of the problem with a good multivitamin.
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Old 04-20-07, 09:40 AM
  #3  
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Stay well hydrated.
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Old 04-20-07, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by bdcheung
Stay well hydrated.
I dont think its a hydration problem, cramps can be cause by three things as I understand it, not enough salt, not enough water, or not enough oxygen.

I'm guessing its not enough oxygen.

One of my most rescent was in a 10 mile TT where that day of the race, i was getting sick so i ended up drinking like 10 20oz bike flasks of gatorade between 8am and 6pm so i think i was well hydrated. I'm not taking a vitamin at all, maybe ill try that.
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Old 04-20-07, 09:54 AM
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The more I read about cramping, the less I think anyone knows what they're caused by. Individually, I've been bitten by the leg cramps when I've been in over my head fitness wise and a long or hard effort for a sprint or attack is required; very hot/humid days; combination of the 2.

Lots of different prevention methods I've heard are 1) obviously stay hydrated and use a sports drink with electrolytes; 2) e-caps or sportlegs or something in capsule form taken before and during the race/efforts; 3) drinking tonic water daily (contains quinine, which some assert prevents muscle cramping); 4) make sure your bike fits - improper fit can lead to goofy pedaling and stress muscles that are more susceptible to cramping.

IMO, in most cases, people cramp when they're not physically fit enough to do what they're trying to accomplish (seems to be the case with early season cramping problems), then grasp as straws for all kinds of reasons as to why they're cramping.

Cramping sucks.
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Old 04-20-07, 09:54 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by recneps
Ive started having a problem with cramping, I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with not enough water. They come on very quickly when my legs are sore, compared to not enough water cramps that come on slowely and can be streched out without hurting too bad.

Tends to happen during intervals or during long hard time trails, all of the sudden sharp pain.

What are you guys strategys for preventing cramping? Specific drinks, salt packets taped to handlebars?
Personally, I add some kosher salt to my drinks and always stay hydrated but if it's not a hydration problem I would suggest that you get massaged, focus on recovery (very important) and start stretching or go to yoga with your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/friend's wife/assistant.... you get the point. Maybe even some cross training.

A lot of us cram training into our schedules with recovery taking a backseat to everything else on our busy plate. Sorry if this sounds "preachy" but it has really helped me.
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Old 04-20-07, 10:16 AM
  #7  
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I have heard that Rolaids helps. I think it has a lot of magnesium. I also add salt to drinks on hot days, 1/4 teaspoon salt/ one cup orange juice/ the rest water. OJ has a lot of K in it. You may want to eat potatoes too.
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Old 04-20-07, 10:56 AM
  #8  
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I was told V8 juice helps
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Old 04-20-07, 08:43 PM
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definitely check your fit...if my seat is too high it can cause my calves to cramp.

however, during a longer, difficult road race some cramping is inevitable. after a while you learn to manage it.
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Old 04-20-07, 09:01 PM
  #10  
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Hammer products: Endurolyte capsules.... BEST thing EVER! I use to get cramps in my right calf..... one of these before a stressful ride or race and no cramp problems.
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Old 04-20-07, 09:02 PM
  #11  
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I sweat alot, so sport drinks alone weren't enough to replace all the electrolytes I lost. It was pretty common around 30-35 miles for my legs to cramp up with the last 3/4 miles going up a 8-9% grade, A neighbor of mine who does tri's had the same problem. An LBS suggested Carbo Load (comes in a big red jug). I add 2 scoops to a water bottle full of gatorade. My second water bottle is filled with water and GU GU2O (3 scoops in a 24 oz bottle). Haven't gotten any cramps since and I also drink these when I play other sports. If you sweat alot, you might want to check with your LBS to see if that might be the ticket.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-20-07, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by recneps
Ive started having a problem with cramping, I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with not enough water. They come on very quickly when my legs are sore, compared to not enough water cramps that come on slowely and can be streched out without hurting too bad.

Tends to happen during intervals or during long hard time trails, all of the sudden sharp pain.

What are you guys strategys for preventing cramping? Specific drinks, salt packets taped to handlebars?

more long intervals, more recovery riding, bit more volume

just like the burn your legs get when you first start training that go away and dont come back, cramps are the same, just further into the training, you have to train your body to deal with the longer hard efforts

after you get past that stage you can look forward to occasional bouts of cramps when you dont ride for a day or two after several days of riding hard

one thing you can do right away is spin a smaller gear a bit faster, that takes some load off your legs and puts it on your aerobic system
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Old 04-20-07, 10:02 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by pedex
more long intervals, more recovery riding, bit more volume

just like the burn your legs get when you first start training that go away and dont come back, cramps are the same, just further into the training, you have to train your body to deal with the longer hard efforts

after you get past that stage you can look forward to occasional bouts of cramps when you dont ride for a day or two after several days of riding hard

one thing you can do right away is spin a smaller gear a bit faster, that takes some load off your legs and puts it on your aerobic system
I have to agree with this statement. I only get cramps from going extra hard, and beyond what I have trained for. Hydration doesnt seem to be a factor in those cases.
Running out of gear on long climbs and grinding exacerbates it. Spinning seems to offer some relief.
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Old 04-21-07, 08:25 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by pedex
more long intervals, more recovery riding, bit more volume

just like the burn your legs get when you first start training that go away and dont come back, cramps are the same, just further into the training, you have to train your body to deal with the longer hard efforts

after you get past that stage you can look forward to occasional bouts of cramps when you dont ride for a day or two after several days of riding hard

one thing you can do right away is spin a smaller gear a bit faster, that takes some load off your legs and puts it on your aerobic system
+1

Some more sodium/potassium in your diet may help as well.
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Old 04-21-07, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jfmckenna
I have heard that Rolaids helps. I think it has a lot of magnesium. I also add salt to drinks on hot days, 1/4 teaspoon salt/ one cup orange juice/ the rest water. OJ has a lot of K in it. You may want to eat potatoes too.
Thin body types actually need more magnesium than other types. Most sports drinks have potassium, also important (in bananas), but no magnesium. Try taking a tablet a day. You should notice an almost immediate effect on your cramping if mag. deficiency is a problem. Also relaxes your bronchial tubes and helps with breathing/asthma issues.

Last edited by vpiuva; 04-22-07 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 04-21-07, 08:43 PM
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+1
I find when I am on a ride that is significantly more difficult then what I am used to I cramp up. Usually happens toward the end of the ride. I am a strong B rider in my club and when I ride with the A group there is a good chance I will cramp up. This happened to me last weekend when the weather was in the mid 50's. I had plenty of fluids with electrolytes but it wasn't enough.
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Old 04-21-07, 10:08 PM
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Old 04-22-07, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by recneps
Tends to happen during intervals or during long hard time trails, all of the sudden sharp pain.
Well, assuming you're not overtraining and are properly hydrated with electrolytes, I'd say back off on these intervals a little and have a day of pure sprints at even higher intensity. Also hit the gym for strength-building once a week.
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Old 04-22-07, 12:52 AM
  #19  
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Do you eat bananas? Bananas = potassium.
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