5 ways to combat cycling cramps

Prevent cramping up on and off the bike with these easy tips

Release the tension in tied-up muscles with these simple but effective expert recommendations…

1. Rolling relief

“You can ease a cramp in your calf without dismounting,” says Phil Morel, cycling physiotherapist with wimbledonphysio.co.uk. “Calf cramps can be countered by putting the crank at 5 o’clock, sliding back in the saddle, locking your knee and dropping your heel to stretch the calf.”

2. Bare your sole

If cramp strikes the muscles in the soles it can cause a crippling pain. “Find a safe stretch of road, grab your toes and bend them back as far as your shoe will allow,” says Morel. (This can be difficult with carbon soled shoes.) “If the cramp persists then dismount, take off your shoe and repeat.”

3. Hold hands

“Should cramp strike in one of your hands, bend it backwards at the wrist,” says Morel. “Then contract and relax the hand a few times to flush out the cramp.”

4. Have a banana

One in four athletes suffer from leg cramps, especially at night, after a heavy endurance session. “Magnesium deficiency is one of the main reasons for nocturnal leg cramps,” points out sports nutritionist Dr Emma Derbyshire.

“Around 50 percent of us have low levels of magnesium in our bodies.” Eat something with high magnesium content, such as a banana before bed, or try a magnesium supplement.

5. Rub it out

“A post-ride rub-down like the pros get after a race, or even a self-massage increases blood circulation,” explains Peter Dipple, Head of Sports Massage at Ten Health & Fitness. “It feeds oxygen and nutrients to the tissues for muscle recovery.”

If the cramps persist consider getting a professional bikefit, as your riding position could be the cause.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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