Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoyed

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Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoyed

Postby DoubleSpeeded » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:20 pm

Hi guys

i ride a TT bike on the M7 usually from Bella Vista to about Eastern Creek...
usually a bit over 40km including both ways. and generally 90% of the times im in the Aero Position...


More often than not... my calf muscle tightens, goes numb and then a dead-leg feel... and impedes my performance... ALWAYS happens on the UPHILL East-bound around Kings langley area nearing the end of the ride.



Usually i notice it on the Right leg first and then the left gets it a bit too.

its screwed my Times and competing with people on the m7 a few times...

Been the first time riding the TT bike after a few months. i was pretty p@#$sed-off....
(if anyone lives in Kings-Langley... with a house backed onto M7 bike path and heard loud french..f@#$$#(AT)$#(AT)$(AT)#$#(AT)$#(AT)(AT)#$#(AT)... apologies that was just me abusing and screaming at my calf)
:cry:

why is this,is it a sign of possible incorrect positioning?... say seat tube too high, angled foot...in a slight tippie-toeing can cause this symptom?

or is there something else wrong? anyone else gets it?


The reason i think something is wrong... because I never get it in the Hybrid MTB at 40km or even 50km
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by BNA » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:45 pm

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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby trailgumby » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:45 pm

Do you have a stretching regime?
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby g-boaf » Sat Sep 14, 2013 6:10 pm

What's the cleat position on your shoes? If it is all the way forward, that can have an effect on this. But if you move it backwards, the saddle height has to go down a little bit as well to compensate.

Have you tried a foam roller on the calf muscles, that helped me out a lot. Stretching before I go is also a must - as is slowly working up to speed (warming up). If I just hammer right away, sure as hell I'll have problems.

From what you've described with that tippie-toeing, I think it might be cleat position on the shoes too far forward and perhaps saddle slightly too high. This is what caused the calf troubles for me.

Go and get a bike-fit done and describe the problems.
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby Sith1 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:08 pm

Every bike fit should begin from the feet/shoes and go up. Feet and feet positioning is paramount and I would start there .... if it is more one leg than the other , cleat position , leg length comparrison, are your hips square ? See a Chiropractor , seat position when the leg reaches fully up on the stroke where are your hips ? Are your hips square ?
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby thecaptn » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:16 pm

I get sore calfs after I do a fair bit of riding and started using compression thingo's on my calves, like socks with no foot on them. I only use them when I'm sore, sometimes riding but normally not, mostly in the evening. They arn't a cure but I've found them to assist recovery. Do you use anything like these?
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby DoubleSpeeded » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:20 pm

trailgumby wrote:Do you have a stretching regime?


g-boaf wrote:What's the cleat position on your shoes? If it is all the way forward, that can have an effect on this. But if you move it backwards, the saddle height has to go down a little bit as well to compensate.

Have you tried a foam roller on the calf muscles, that helped me out a lot. Stretching before I go is also a must - as is slowly working up to speed (warming up). If I just hammer right away, sure as hell I'll have problems.

From what you've described with that tippie-toeing, I think it might be cleat position on the shoes too far forward and perhaps saddle slightly too high. This is what caused the calf troubles for me.

Go and get a bike-fit done and describe the problems.



Thanks for your replies guys.

Yeah I'm thinking of doing a retul pro bike fit when I get the new wheels, carbon handle/aero bars fitted.

Foam roller, when?

I might get a sports massage in the meantime to maybe loosen it like the roller.

I do stretch, generally about half way... But sometimes I notice stretching doesn't help.

Apparently it's not good to stretch when cold. That's why in the recent decade sports physicians suggest to do 'dynamic stretches' which is a form or warm up and stretch after the exercise.

The cleat is the shimano red one...and in a neutral position. (Centered)
I'll look into proper adjustment for cleats. ( I think it was having the front foot on the crank in horizontal and lining the pivot with the ball of the foot?)


Maybe I should've got the blue one for more angle movement.
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby DoubleSpeeded » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:22 pm

Sith1 wrote:Every bike fit should begin from the feet/shoes and go up. Feet and feet positioning is paramount and I would start there .... if it is more one leg than the other , cleat position , leg length comparrison, are your hips square ? See a Chiropractor , seat position when the leg reaches fully up on the stroke where are your hips ? Are your hips square ?



Not too sure of what you mean by "square"?
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby DoubleSpeeded » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:23 pm

thecaptn wrote:I get sore calfs after I do a fair bit of riding and started using compression thingo's on my calves, like socks with no foot on them. I only use them when I'm sore, sometimes riding but normally not, mostly in the evening. They arn't a cure but I've found them to assist recovery. Do you use anything like these?


Yeh I use compression tights, (doesn't really help)

Might try some renowned brands soon like Skins, BSC and 2XU?
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby winstonw » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:39 pm

- get your lower back looked at by a musculoskeletal or sports physio.

- 3x a week, core strength exercises (plank aim for 3+ minutes alternating leg lifts, 1 minute side planks, bicycle crunches)
- 3x a week for 2 mths, stretch your hams, gluts, piriformis, calf, lumbar and thoracic spine.
- get the physio to check your calfs and hams for old deep fibrotic scarring, then get it massaged loose.
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby g-boaf » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:41 pm

DoubleSpeeded wrote:
trailgumby wrote:Do you have a stretching regime?


g-boaf wrote:What's the cleat position on your shoes? If it is all the way forward, that can have an effect on this. But if you move it backwards, the saddle height has to go down a little bit as well to compensate.

Have you tried a foam roller on the calf muscles, that helped me out a lot. Stretching before I go is also a must - as is slowly working up to speed (warming up). If I just hammer right away, sure as hell I'll have problems.

From what you've described with that tippie-toeing, I think it might be cleat position on the shoes too far forward and perhaps saddle slightly too high. This is what caused the calf troubles for me.

Go and get a bike-fit done and describe the problems.



Thanks for your replies guys.

Yeah I'm thinking of doing a retul pro bike fit when I get the new wheels, carbon handle/aero bars fitted.

Foam roller, when?

I might get a sports massage in the meantime to maybe loosen it like the roller.

I do stretch, generally about half way... But sometimes I notice stretching doesn't help.

Apparently it's not good to stretch when cold. That's why in the recent decade sports physicians suggest to do 'dynamic stretches' which is a form or warm up and stretch after the exercise.

The cleat is the shimano red one...and in a neutral position. (Centered)
I'll look into proper adjustment for cleats. ( I think it was having the front foot on the crank in horizontal and lining the pivot with the ball of the foot?)


Maybe I should've got the blue one for more angle movement.


I'd get the bike fit done as soon as possible and get the bars ahead of the wheels so the bike fit can be done sooner. When you are saying "tippie-toed" that's what makes me think it's a reach/cleat positioning problem.

Do the foam roller each night, use it on all the major muscle groups and even the back too. Do you find that your muscles are fairly tight all the time or are they loose?

WinstonW's last comment is a good one too.
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby thecaptn » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:47 pm

It does sound like bike fit. I'd be staying off it until it was either sorted or ruled out, you don't want it to become a cronic problem 'cause then it wont matter what you do it'l hurt.

The brand of compression thingo's I bought was Compressport, from Wiggle. They wern't cheap and are just like the other brands I've tried except that using their size guide ment that they are heaps tighter than other garments I've used. At first I thought that my feet would turn blue but all good, really comfy. They reduce discomfort for me as soon as I put them on.
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby toolonglegs » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:16 pm

TT position is tough on the back of legs... As is saddle too high.
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby jules21 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:19 pm

DoubleSpeeded wrote:
Sith1 wrote:Are your hips square ?

Not too sure of what you mean by "square"?

hip.. hip.. so hip to be square :D
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby Sith1 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:47 pm

DoubleSpeeded wrote:
Sith1 wrote:Every bike fit should begin from the feet/shoes and go up. Feet and feet positioning is paramount and I would start there .... if it is more one leg than the other , cleat position , leg length comparrison, are your hips square ? See a Chiropractor , seat position when the leg reaches fully up on the stroke where are your hips ? Are your hips square ?



Not too sure of what you mean by "square"?


Are your hips square .. are your hips misaligned ? This will offset any good bikefit and the square of your saddle
How so I hear you cry ...


Square .... are you fitted with your sit bones to your saddle and isvthe saddle set to maximize your fit ... has your saddle been set by degrees to optimize your body ... This is square. To high to low wrong angle to far forward to far back not angled it maybe a 129 and you require a 143 ....



So yeah it is hip to be square
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby toolonglegs » Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:05 am

Or you can be not so square... and rotate your saddle to match your hips :P .
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby DoubleSpeeded » Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:37 am

jules21 wrote:
DoubleSpeeded wrote:
Sith1 wrote:Are your hips square ?

Not too sure of what you mean by "square"?

hip.. hip.. so hip to be square :D


Not my birthday yet champ :)

Sith1 wrote:
DoubleSpeeded wrote:
Sith1 wrote:Every bike fit should begin from the feet/shoes and go up. Feet and feet positioning is paramount and I would start there .... if it is more one leg than the other , cleat position , leg length comparrison, are your hips square ? See a Chiropractor , seat position when the leg reaches fully up on the stroke where are your hips ? Are your hips square ?



Not too sure of what you mean by "square"?


Are your hips square .. are your hips misaligned ? This will offset any good bikefit and the square of your saddle
How so I hear you cry ...


Square .... are you fitted with your sit bones to your saddle and isvthe saddle set to maximize your fit ... has your saddle been set by degrees to optimize your body ... This is square. To high to low wrong angle to far forward to far back not angled it maybe a 129 and you require a 143 ....



So yeah it is hip to be square


g-boaf wrote:
DoubleSpeeded wrote:
trailgumby wrote:Do you have a stretching regime?


g-boaf wrote:What's the cleat position on your shoes? If it is all the way forward, that can have an effect on this. But if you move it backwards, the saddle height has to go down a little bit as well to compensate.

Have you tried a foam roller on the calf muscles, that helped me out a lot. Stretching before I go is also a must - as is slowly working up to speed (warming up). If I just hammer right away, sure as hell I'll have problems.

From what you've described with that tippie-toeing, I think it might be cleat position on the shoes too far forward and perhaps saddle slightly too high. This is what caused the calf troubles for me.

Go and get a bike-fit done and describe the problems.



Thanks for your replies guys.

Yeah I'm thinking of doing a retul pro bike fit when I get the new wheels, carbon handle/aero bars fitted.

Foam roller, when?

I might get a sports massage in the meantime to maybe loosen it like the roller.

I do stretch, generally about half way... But sometimes I notice stretching doesn't help.

Apparently it's not good to stretch when cold. That's why in the recent decade sports physicians suggest to do 'dynamic stretches' which is a form or warm up and stretch after the exercise.

The cleat is the shimano red one...and in a neutral position. (Centered)
I'll look into proper adjustment for cleats. ( I think it was having the front foot on the crank in horizontal and lining the pivot with the ball of the foot?)


Maybe I should've got the blue one for more angle movement.


I'd get the bike fit done as soon as possible and get the bars ahead of the wheels so the bike fit can be done sooner. When you are saying "tippie-toed" that's what makes me think it's a reach/cleat positioning problem.

Do the foam roller each night, use it on all the major muscle groups and even the back too. Do you find that your muscles are fairly tight all the time or are they loose?

WinstonW's last comment is a good one too.


winstonw wrote:- get your lower back looked at by a musculoskeletal or sports physio.

- 3x a week, core strength exercises (plank aim for 3+ minutes alternating leg lifts, 1 minute side planks, bicycle crunches)
- 3x a week for 2 mths, stretch your hams, gluts, piriformis, calf, lumbar and thoracic spine.
- get the physio to check your calfs and hams for old deep fibrotic scarring, then get it massaged loose.


toolonglegs wrote:TT position is tough on the back of legs... As is saddle too high.


Yes i like winstonw's reply.. these are things to be considered.

And yes, the Aero position is pretty harsh i find. I only ride in that position once a week or so... perhaps im not getting my body used to that position enough.
I never have any problems on the upright/MTB position on road riding.
And i noticed, no matter how many times a week i ride in the Upright position on the other bike... getting into the aero position on the TT bike, it feels very taxing. Fatigue on the legs & Lactic build up galore.



but i really appreciate every single one of your replies guys
ill keep you posted on any achievements
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Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoyed

Postby Dr_Mutley » Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:46 am

Slide your cleats to the most rearward position on your shoe. That will fix the calf issue. As was mentioned earlier, u will need to drop your saddle height a little to compensate for this. Then follow the other soft tissue suggestions already stated above. Once you have a month or 2 of calf soreness/tightness free training, move your cleats back forwards 2 mm at a time until your start to overload your calfs again, then return to the previous position.

Refer to Steve Hoggs power to the pedal article for further info on cleat position...

https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/bi ... -position/
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby DoubleSpeeded » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:50 pm

g-boaf wrote:
Dr_Mutley wrote:Slide your cleats to the most rearward position on your shoe. That will fix the calf issue. As was mentioned earlier, u will need to drop your saddle height a little to compensate for this. Then follow the other soft tissue suggestions already stated above. Once you have a month or 2 of calf soreness/tightness free training, move your cleats back forwards 2 mm at a time until your start to overload your calfs again, then return to the previous position.

Refer to Steve Hoggs power to the pedal article for further info on cleat position...

https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/bi ... -position/



thanks for the article, im having a read in the interim
... (WOW THAT is a hell of a bad Bunion issue for whoever it is... on the x-ray)


ill adjust it later this evening

also has anyone massaged the calf muscles prior to a ride and found that it helps?

g-boaf... foam roller in the morning?
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby g-boaf » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:59 pm

Usually just in the evening. But if the muscles are really tight, use it when you need to and just don't ride that day if you don't have to.

Use a paint-pen to mark where your cleats were as well. You can always wash it off later.

Occasionally I will get a calf cramp - but it's usually when I haven't warmed up properly or if I'm dehydrated a bit. But normally I don't have those troubles anymore.
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby eeksll » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:30 pm

It is also my experience that using my calves too aggressively in cycling causes it to cramp. I think there is a bit of my calf being slightly under done.

Now "numb" and "dead leg feel" sounds more like a similar thing I had on my foot while running. The cause was diagnosed as pinching a nerve (hence why it goes numb). Now numb was kinda ok because it didn't hurt so I could finish my run, however the week that followed was a very painful foot when ever I walked. (I had to tape it to relieve pressure on that nerve ...)

It sounds like more than a "fit" issue.
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby Xplora » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:32 am

If your cleats are quite forward, then you'll be putting enormous strain on your calves - the deadness could just be an accumulation of lactic acid from overusing your calves.

My experience with my homebrew TT setup is that you get a lot more work through the glutes and hammys because I'm stretched down and out more. Would prefer to be even lower LOL Anyways, because of that more flat foot pumping style with the TT position you'll be forced to use your calves more if your seat isn't in the right spot - you mentioned it is worse on the hills, you'll find your calves are working much harder to keep up the power, as you'll already be maxing out with the rest of your legs on the flats. It is different on a MTB or roady because you are free to stand, rock the bike side to side, flatten or bend your back - but when you're on the rivet, you are essentially locking yourself into a single position and forcing otherwise weak muscles to join the quads party. Calves are good, but generally you won't use them much when riding. TT can strip your ability to remove the calves as you lack the core stability that you have on the MTB or roady. The only way to resolve this is to ride slower while you improve at the position, and a bike fit will be very helpful if you haven't actually been fit to the TT bike before. Stretching and physios etc will be helpful, but I know the kind of strains you are talking about and I think it's going to be harder to resolve without being more long term in your approach to resolution. If you've only got onto this bike once a week for 2-3 months, I would not assume you had adapted yet if you are still punishing the MTB and roady. In fact, it might make it even harder, and you develop extra core stability from the TT position and then use that extra stability to develop even stronger MTB/Roady muscles, thus taking you out of adjustment all over again LOL
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby vander » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:46 am

Xplora wrote: forcing otherwise weak muscles to join the quads party.

Wrong, calves and gluts are two of the strongest muscles in the body.
Calves are good, but generally you won't use them much when riding.TT can strip your ability to remove the calves as you lack the core stability that you have on the MTB or roady.

Wrong, you use your calves a lot during regular riding, there is no data saying you use them more or less during TTs.
I have no idea how removing your calves (why would you want to do that???) has anything to do with core stability.

As eskell mentioned above numb and dead leg feeling are signs of nerve issues. In the extreme positions you are put into in the TT position you can often 'pinch' a nerve. As almost every has mentioned getting yourself a bike fit will help and stretching also will help.
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby thejester » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:35 am

pointing your toes down is the issue.
long term leg stretching required.. calves, achillies, feet arches. Go see a physio.
A massage will help short term, but not fix the issue. Running can help.
tri positioning, stretching too far forward can exacerbate the problem. Get a pro fit to fix this.
Be aware of your pedal stroke between 3 and 7 o'clock.
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby clackers » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:24 am

As a physio was explaining to me, coming out of the saddle gives the calves a rest and brings the glutes into play, but that's hard to do TT.

Moving the cleats back from the neutral position puts less leverage on your calves, which in your case may be worth the performance compromise ... less leverage!
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Re: Calf muscle... again, again and again... extremely annoy

Postby casual_cyclist » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:51 pm

winstonw wrote:- get your lower back looked at by a musculoskeletal or sports physio.

- 3x a week, core strength exercises (plank aim for 3+ minutes alternating leg lifts, 1 minute side planks, bicycle crunches)
- 3x a week for 2 mths, stretch your hams, gluts, piriformis, calf, lumbar and thoracic spine.
- get the physio to check your calfs and hams for old deep fibrotic scarring, then get it massaged loose.


DoubleSpeeded wrote:Yes i like winstonw's reply.. these are things to be considered.

And yes, the Aero position is pretty harsh i find. I only ride in that position once a week or so... perhaps im not getting my body used to that position enough.
I never have any problems on the upright/MTB position on road riding.
And i noticed, no matter how many times a week i ride in the Upright position on the other bike... getting into the aero position on the TT bike, it feels very taxing. Fatigue on the legs & Lactic build up galore.

I agree with winstonw too. I have occasional lower back problems and find my calves getting very tight after cycling. If I don't stretch my calves end up feeling like concrete and feel very sore and tight. But I have found I can't just stretch my calves, I have to stretch hams, gluts, calf, lower back and hip flexors. There's an order too... but I forget it. There is a guy on youtube that shows how to self massage for lower back pain which starts with some of those muscles in a particular order and works around to lower back. I will see if I can find it when I get home.

The other point is that if one side is cramping more than the other then you either have an imbalance (muscle imbalance, one longer leg etc) or a bike fit issue.

I notice that I'm fine if I ride on the hoods or the bars but if I go to the drops for too long I get sore along the backs of my legs. It's because I am not used to riding in that position. Anyway, I hope you can track down the issue and resolve it.
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