Cramping after riding

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CKinnard
Posts: 3000
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:23 am

Re: Cramping after riding

Postby CKinnard » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:46 pm

gtext wrote:Not a long distance rider compared to many here 50 to 60 km the normal max but many rides a bit shorter than this.
Usually get out at least three times a week time and weather permitting. In my late 60s no big climbs involved.
Thigh cramping is the problem post riding and never during a ride. For example a ride finishing mid afternoon over the next 6 to 8 hours doing something like getting up out of the chair or something else will trigger an extremely painful thigh muscle cramp.
The next day everything is fine again until the next ride.
Improved it slightly by drinking more as I knew I wasn't drinking enough but only plain water. Not eating on the rides should I ?
Should I be using a supplement in the water if so what ? Should I be taking something post ride to help ? If so what ?

Interested in hearing any suggestions on what to try or do. Maybe others have had the same problem and found a solution. Asked my doctor but he wasn't any help. Not sure who to turn to so I thought I'd ask here.

Thanks in advance for any comments.


I'm a physio and have worked with British Cycling, Team Sky, and a lot of Masters Cyclists around Brisbane.
Things to consider:

- most people don't drink enough fluid in the hours after getting out of bed. First thing to change if you cramp is pre-hydration.
If riding early in the morning for 30-60km, drink a liter of water before getting on the bike. Then drink another 500mls minimum every 60-90 minutes while riding. If you are cramping for hours after riding, then keep drinking after riding until you are peeing at least half a liter of comparatively clear urine.

- the second cause is the presence of old tears in the muscles that are cramping. Cramps seed in parts of muscle that do not get good circulation, such as old tears with lots of scar tissue. The solution for this is to get very heavy massage into the muscle to break up the scar. 90% of masseurs are not going to do it hard enough. So you will have to shop around.

- the third consideration is irritation of nerves that control the cramping muscle. the usual culprit is lower back issues compromising nerve roots. You want to see a physio to get checked for this, and get advice and treatment to minimize it. though this is difficult to resolve completely.

- fourth consideration is quality of diet. for rides the length you are doing, you don't need electrolyte drinks or supplements. you just need a good general diet with lots of vegetables and a couple of pieces of fruit most days. Dietary minerals stay in your system longer than supplements.

- fifth consideration is ramping up your riding volume too quickly. but if you have been riding this distance for a while, then this is probably not an issue for you.

- last factor is your general health. kidney function or malabsorption could be issues.

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Mububban
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Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:19 pm

Re: Cramping after riding

Postby Mububban » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:15 pm

I finished a 135km hills sportive yesterday without cramping The previous 100km hills event I did I started getting calf cramps.

Things I did differently for yesterday's event were:
- drank more before the event began (milk with brekkie, sports drink in the car on the way)
- drank more than I normally would while on the bike (sports drink)
- ate less energy bars and took less gels (I'd take fuel every ~45 minutes vs 30 last event)

I felt less queasy in the guts, and had no cramping, despite some difficult climbs. I had to have more pee breaks though :)
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