Experiencing more cramps now. Why?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by novetan, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. novetan

    novetan New Member

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    Hope I'm posting in the right category.

    I hv adjusted my saddle higher and higher since the day I started riding seriously abt 2 mths ago and the angle between my thigh and leg is abt 30 degree (recommendation I read so far is between 25 to 35 degree). So at least i know now I'm in the recommended zone. But somehow I experienced more cramps in my calf muscle. So to relieve the pain in riding the bal. of the journey, I'd switch to rest the middle base part of my leg to pedal instead of the ball and lower the seat. It seems to have some immediate relieve effect. I know is not technically right but just to take care of the immediate problem.
    Question:
    1) Why I have more cramps than before I just started. Is it I'm untrained enough?
    2) Will an unsuitable seat height contribute to cramps?
    3) What's the best way to have lesser cramps, or rather to rid of it? Diet?

    Thanks
     
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  2. gudujarlson

    gudujarlson New Member

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    I have lots of problems with cramps and have done fair amount of research. My conclusion is that no one understands them. The current leading theory is that they are neurological in origin, but there is no suggestion about how to prevent them (other than riding slower). Serious dehydration will cause cramps, but you can still have cramps with plenty of hydration. So the first thing to do is make sure you stay hydrated. Note that overhydration can also cause cramps so don't drink too much. Heh.

    When I get calf cramps during a ride I either slow down and/or peddle with my heel down. I also try to stretch them while on the bike, but I'm not convinced it does anything. Slowing down is the most reliable solution. In a competitive situation I can often ride through them my keeping my heel down so that my calf is in a stretched state.

    When I get cramps in other places like my quads and the muscles on the inside of my thigh, I am done for the day. Luckily this doesn't happen very often. I once had to call my wife for a rescue after getting really bad cramps in the inside of my thigh during a 400 TSS 109 mile ride in 90 degree heat.

    I frequently get cramps in several places while recovering from a hard ride (thighs, quads, hamstrings, feet, shoulders, you name it). It isn't as bad as it used to be. I concentrate on staying hydrated, not overdoing it, and staying mildly active after the ride. For example, going for a walk after a hard ride helps prevent cramps. The worse thing I can do is do what is my brain is telling me to do and plop down on the couch with my legs up. Lying around after a really hard ride is a gauranteed excruciating cramp episode.

    Your mileage may vary, but hopefully some of this is helpful.
     
  3. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Over hydration can exacerbate cramping as it dilutes the remaining salts that haven't been urinated out already, something which drinking a lot of fluid promotes. An easy solution to both decreasing the frequency of urination especially at the tail end of longer rides, and the likelihood of cramping, is to supplement hydration with a electrolyte/salt replacement - one of my favs is Nuun tablets but there are dozens of other related products.

    Being a little out of shape can also be a problem for cramping (for me it's adding intensity too soon in the season especially if I've taken a month or two off the bike). Both conditions tend to grab me in the calf when they occur. There could be other issues at hand, but these are some commonly associated to cycling.
     
  4. novetan

    novetan New Member

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    2 things come to my mind

    1) I see pro footballers also have cramps, usually almost to the end of the game. Could it be over exertion.
    2) Does salt intake helps, or just a myth.
     
  5. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Salt is not the only important electrolyte. Also important are magnesium, potassium, and others. Yes, salt helps. It's important on longer rides to take in electrolytes to replace those lost through sweating.
     
  6. fredy1972

    fredy1972 New Member

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    [SIZE= medium]I’m currently on 40mg of steroids daily (medicinal steroids that is !), and one of the side effects was excruciating cramps.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= medium]Feet, hands & calfs were the worst.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= medium]I mentioned this to my Doc and he recommended drinking Tonic Water ![/SIZE]

    [SIZE= medium]Since I have been drinking a glass or two every night, I very rarely suffer anymore.[/SIZE]
     
  7. novetan

    novetan New Member

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    What kind of Tonic water?
     
  8. gudujarlson

    gudujarlson New Member

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    I'm not going to argue that tonic water did not help with your cramps, but it might not work for everyone. There is a lot of misinformation about cramps out there. I decent place to start reading about the topic is Joe Friel's blog.

    http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/05/muscle-cramps-and-mythology.html
     
  9. fredy1972

    fredy1972 New Member

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  10. jpwkeeper

    jpwkeeper Member

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    I'm a lifelong cramper. Just recently I started taking Super Magnesium from GNC (it's mix of 3 types of Magnesium, all ending in -ATE, so the good stuff) and I have not had a cramp since. I haven't noticed any other "miracle" things it's supposed to do, but I'll take no cramps any day.
     
  11. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Very interesting.

    I tend to sweat profusely when exercising/training/racing.
    Cramp was always a problem at the end of longer races/spins even when I was a fit youngster many years ago.
    My solution then and my solution now was to imbibe 2 multivitamins pills before a major spin. Cramp problem never bothered me since I found that solution.
     
  12. jpwkeeper

    jpwkeeper Member

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    I'm a sweater too. Since I was a kid I had a tendency to cramp, although it was usually 8-12 hours after an unusual effort.

    I take the Mag right before bed. Interestingly, I still get the "spiders" in the legs, they just never develop into full blown cramps.

    Rollerblading generally is a guaranteed cramp exercise. My left foot tilts out a bit, so that little muscle that goes up the outside of the leg (not sure what it's called) takes a beating when I skate and it's a bugger to stretch once it's cramping. I get it bad in the calves too (I have oddly large calves, always have). Generally it's worst at around 2:00am after a hard ride (I'll cramp during the ride too though).

    It's been about a month with only one cramp (in my left foot which was just odd, but it was brief and didn't return), which included a ride that was a PR for me (most of you would consider it a warmup, but still). I'm not generally a "miracle drug" type of person but this stuff has fixed me up.

    I will say, though, that good magnesium is hard to find. Nearly everything uses Magnesium Oxide, which is apparently worthless unless you need a laxative.
     
  13. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I'll bet taking regular old magnesium would do the same thing. GNC is great about hawking stuff that is sold on unprovable claims or outright BS.
     
  14. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Complete f'ing BS. Please, don't rely on GNC for your "facts." I have seen the data showing the difference between low magnesium levels in a patient, and the increased, normal levels in the same patient after they started taking magnesium oxide. Please provide the data that proves that GNC's "Super Magnesium" does anything other than create a fog of BS the snows customers such that they buy it. You might want to talk to someone who actually knows something, like a doctor, instead of relying on a GNC sales flunky or some GNC ad. It's entirely possible that your persistent cramps--that's what those "spiders" are--are the result of low levels of other electrolytes (sodium, postassium,.......). A simple blood test could reveal something. Also a hysterical note on your claim that magnesium oxide just makes you take a dump. That "Super Magnesium" contains magnesium citrate. Guess what the most common use of magnesium citrate is? That's right: it's a freaking laxative! Welcome to reality.
     
  15. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Just a couple of thoughts that might help.

    Toward the end of your cycle it might be an idea to slowly tapper down your effort. In other words for the last 15-20 minutes of your cycle, just slowly ease off the effort that you're expending.
    Effectively warm down as part of your spin. Also some stretching at the end of your spin might help to relax your muscles and it might prevent later cramping.
     
  16. jpwkeeper

    jpwkeeper Member

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    Odd that you assume I got my information from GNC, when I did not. In fact the only word I spoke to anyone at GNC was "Debit" in response to the obvious question. I did not read any of their literature. I was not looking for anything in particular other than Magnesium Not-Oxide.

    I'm also not particularly happy with GNC's offering, as 2 pills is too much (stools start getting loose) but 1 isn't quite enough, and they aren't marked for cutting so I can't do 1.5.

    I did get my information from the Internet, and yes you cannot believe everything you read on the Internet (although I'm reading this on the Internet, so maybe catch 22), but I found 5 or 6 corroborating sources, most of which state that the absorption rate of Oxide was only 4%, as well as several individual testimonies in forums that claimed that Mag Oxide did little to nothing for them while other forms worked much better.

    No, I never talked to a doctor, because it's never been a serious problem. However, after seeing Magnesium referenced in several sports blogs and periodicals, I figured I give it a try. In the big picture it's not very expensive, cheaper than the co-pay of the Dr. visit plus the blood test and doesn't require sitting in an office for a few hours that I could be out for a bike ride. And fair or not, doctors get a reputation for not staying up with current studies in their own field, and I run afoul of that a lot being a Chiropractic patient, so I have some distrust of them. So without any danger involved a little self-experimentation seemed the logical course.

    I did not try Mag Oxide. The only data point I have is that, as a frequent cramper, Gatorade, bananas, orange juice, salty things, etc, have never helped, and this so far seems to have made a difference especially with the delayed onset cramps that usually come around 2-3 in the morning. That's my reality, but I'm still gathering data.

    I realize you are an excitable fellow, but it's worrisome how you get so hateful and hostile in your posts over the smallest of things. I'm not saying I'm right and you're wrong, but it's hard to have a discussion about something when you come with an attack (or two as it would seem) right out of the chute.

    Now, if you would like to have a discussion, and seriously I wish you would, and would like to link your data and/or studies, I'd be interested in reading it. Do not read that sentence as a "Throw down" type sentence, read it as a genuine invitation to have a measured discussion. If you'd like, I can re-google the articles I read and cite them to present my side, but only if you want.
     
  17. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I'm not excitable at all. I just call BS when I see it. Let's see your sources, if you've got 'em. Are they from chiropractic sources?
     
  18. lanierb

    lanierb New Member

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    For anyone who wants some (at times heavy but good) reading on the topic of muscle cramps and scientific evidence, I would highly recommend the following posts on the Science of Sport blog:

    http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramps-part-1-theories-and.html
    http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramps-part-ii.html
    http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramp-part-iii.html
    http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramp-part-iv.html
     
  19. jpwkeeper

    jpwkeeper Member

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    See, you immediately imply that I made it all up. Let me do some quick googling:

    Here's one of the ones I found that talked about the different forms:

    http://www.healthyalterego.com/index.php/2012/02/the-inexpensive-way-to-treat-migraines-depression-leg-cramps-and-more/

    Here is a study where they used Magnesium Citrate with fairly good results, although there was a laxative effect:

    http://www.navehpharma.com/download/mg_and_leg_cramp.pdf

    Of course, if you want links to general cramp relief (not sure what part you're disputing, be it the magnesium for cramps or just not using Mag Oxide) just google Cramps and Magnesium and you'll get like a billion hits. Also try "The Magnesium Miracle", which is a book. I didn't read it, but I did hit the author's website for information.

    I haven't talked to my Chiropractor about it, although he is a nutritionist. Oh wait, maybe you're also bashing Chiropractic care too?
     
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