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Can anyone please help rid myself of leg cramps?(8 posts)

Can anyone please help rid myself of leg cramps?kushogun
Oct 7, 2001 8:11 PM
Hello everyone, hopefully I can get some help on a problem that I have been having since I have been riding. I am a serious recreational rider who likes to do a local race every now and again. Anyways, almost every ride I will get cramps in my calves. Usually around the 18-20 mile mark they start to tighten, and if I stop at a light and put my foot down the calf goes and cramps for a painful 2 minutes or so. What is causing this? Could it be I have my pedal cleat to far forward causing me to use a lot of my toes when I pedal. I wonder if this may be it because when I cramp my toe points downward. Could it be the cooler temp? Not enough water when I ride? I understand it may be a combination of these, but if anyone who has had bad cramping problems in the calves, any help would be greatly appreciated. Everyone have a nice day and a better ride!
Been there man...Lazy
Oct 8, 2001 7:22 AM
Cramping calves suck big time. There are some things you can do. For general cramp resistence, make sure you are well hydrated and your electrolyte levels are topped off.

Specific to calf cramping: have someone (or set up a mirror/trainer combo) look at your pedaling style. My guess is that you have a toes down pedaling style. This causes your calf muscle to be in a constant state of contraction. Even if it's very light, eventually any muscle that is kept static and contracted will cramp.

Kevin Lee Lippert who is one of Chris Carmichael's minions has a very good article about heel down pedaling on his website which I believe is

He also has a good step by step method for bike fit/setup FWIW.

Good luck!
re: Can anyone please help rid myself of leg cramps?Jesse Smith
Oct 8, 2001 9:09 PM
In addition to playing with your cleat position, you just might have to force yourself to stretch every 5 miles. To stretch the right leg, get out of the saddle and coast while you position the right pedal at the 2 o'clock position, as viewed from the right side. Use the left foot to provide back pressure while you force your right heel as far down as you can. Hold this for 10 seconds. Do this from throughout the ride,before the cramps set in.
Oct 9, 2001 8:59 AM
Had the same problem for many years..after I began to race with a team that had a coach, he made me drink 2 times more during and before each ride, and kept me from drinking just water (I used to hate sport drinks). Water does not have everything you need to replenish during the ride. Instead I changed from many many sport drinks until I found one I like (Revenge). Also, He made me eat a banana before every race....

There were no change needed on my form since it was fine to begin with.

No I've been many years cramp free!!!1
re: Can anyone please help rid myself of leg cramps?BigLeadOutGuy
Oct 16, 2001 4:38 PM
drink drink drink!
Lots of water that is....make sure you get all your electolytes and strech lots
re: Can anyone please help rid myself of leg cramps?Hirse99
Oct 29, 2001 6:27 AM
One of my practices is to avoid take vitamine C (fruits as well as nutrition supplement) two to three hours prior to practice/race. Doing so acid level is in your muscles are kept on a low level.

Second tip is a short run after each ride (10 to 15 minutes of jogging or footing). With this exercise your muscles getting used to riding effort.

Thirdly, streching. The tissues getting back into their 'optimal' length and less likly to cause any trouble. Best is to strech just after exercise (avoiding immediate troubles) and the next morning when your muscles are 'cold'.
re: Can anyone please help rid myself of leg cramps?You already figured it out.
Nov 27, 2001 5:10 PM
I used to be plagued by calf cramps too. The first thing I thought of was that your cleats ar too far forward on the shoe. Make sure the ball of the foot is directly over the pedal axle to a little forward. It's explained very well at the Cyfac web site.
re: Can anyone please help rid myself of leg cramps?mclements
Dec 2, 2001 3:35 PM
Ever since I switched to a strict vegetarian diet about 10 years ago, no more cramps and my performance improved noticeably.

Why? Most people eat too much protein, which makes the body more acidic and also causes mineral deficiencies. Also, many people incorrectly equate carbohydrates with sugar, so they don't get enough complex carbs -- which are your best long lasting, slow burning energy source.

So my advice would be to eat less protein, more fiber and complex carbs (still avoid simple carbs & sugar), try eating a banana (potassium) and drink more water.

Also try different seating positions by changing seat height and front / back position to see if you can find a more comfortable riding position. Your cleat positioning idea also sounds like it's on the right track. For me, positioning the pedal cleats near the ball of the foot is what works best.

Good luck,