Just want to know if there is a way to prevent cramping in hamstring while riding,normally happens while riding up hills and also after riding have been told pushing to hard a gear,dehhydration or is lack off hill work,have been told have short hamstring muscles but means nothing to me.Just wondering what other cyclists have to say.

Cheers

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I suffer from lack of magnesium and low sodium, consequently cramp in the warm weather. Yes cramps are a bugger :(

Unlikely to be dehydration today unless you were already dehydrated before the ride. If it's happening regularly maybe you should consider some pre ride stretching exercises. Not a bad idea to repeat the exercises on the rest breaks. Google Cyclist stretching exercises.

The most common answer to this problem though is "Belgian up"

i was born with deformed feet and had numerous leg operations as a kid leaving me with tight hamstrings and achilles tendons. I found i was cramping a fair bit but a daily magnesium tablet, some light stretching and lots of water and/or staminade all seem to help. 

there are plenty of theories/myths out there but science hasn't come up with the definitive answer yet.  For what its worth, I feel the fitter you get the less likely you are to cramp.

I used to get wicked leg cramps before I took up cycling again as an adult. The most inportant thing I learnt starting over was to spin at higher cadence than you would based on strength alone, and take electrolyte replacement drinks along on the ride. Staminade works for me, comes as bulk powder and you make it up a bottle at a time. Now I hardly ever get leg cramps, even though I am currently not as fit as I should be.

You might also want to look at reviewing your bike fit, just to eliminate it as a possible cause.

 

Failing that, make sure you're adequately hydrated (especially in terms of magnesium), and you could try changing your position on the seat when the cramps start. Can't remember whether the universal advice is to sit back or sit forward more to take the strain off the hamstrings and use your glutes more.

 

I'm sure more experienced minds than mine will be able to expand on the above in further detail.

I have suffered from bad cramps on longer rides for a few years and searched everywhere for an answer.  The link below gives by far the best answer I've seen yet.

 

http://www.cyclingtipsblog.com/2011/06/nutrition-and-muscle-cramps-...

 

If you want the short answer, fluid/electolyte loss has little to no effect, its more due to riding harder and/or longer than the body is used too.  So as Clive said 'Belgian up!"

I used to be crampy all the time but I have found that if I take a Berocca everyday I no longer cramp up, even if I miss a day or two I will start to get leg cramps again, it has now become a habit for me to have a Berocca a day. When on long rides I also use SHOTS which are electrolyte tablets you put in your bidon. All that combined as well as regular eating and drinking on a ride works a treat for me now. :-)

My three hints:

Check your bike fit.

Heard that cycling 'shortens muscles' and that alternating with walking will stretch your muscles.

Ensure you have enough magnesium. Some electrolyte and fizzy drinks reduce your absorption of magnesium. Insufficient magnesium is one reason for leg cramps while trying to get to sleep, and also Restless Legs Syndrome.

Gday Paul,

As a regular cyclist, who has not been able to touch his toes for years due to tight hamstrings, I recommend stretching.

More so after a ride.

Before is no big deal, unless you go flat out from the get go.

The easiest thing to do to help is sit on the floor with legs out straight in front as you watch tv.

In a few short weeks you will feel the difference, and you haven't even had to 'think' about doing the stretches..

Yet for all my tight hammies, i never have cramp issues.

Hydration and recovery are my keys.

Water before and during and after, and a protein shake/powder straight after...

I also support checking your bike fit (position).

I see so many people who have their seat way too low...

I use most the techniques offered here, and reckon they all play a part.

Also, think about your hill climbing technique.

On a long climb, try switching regularly from seated to standing pedaling and back (maybe 10-20 pedal strokes each way) to stretch and shift the work load around to different parts of the leg and glute.

Christopher is spot on. Stretches post right prevent tightening, which will be obvious the day you don't stretch! Over time it will loosten things up. Also, as previously mentioned, check your position. If you are too low/forward, you may be biased to using your hamstrings more, as opposed to the whole leg/pulling up with your thigh/forward shin.

From my experience, I find I'm set up well when my whole leg fatigues/cramps in one hit, rather than a single muscle group giving out. Hope that helps!

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