I currently run approx 35 miles a week, do weights 3-4X a
week and cycle 3X a week (15 miles approx. at a time). I am
hydrating well and for the most part, eat healthily--lots
of veggies, fruits, carbs and proteins. I have noticed that
intermittently, when I am doing legs, specifically squats,
my right thigh cramps and stays cramped for a few days. Is
this a fuel deficiency, hydration problem or just my legs
telling me they need a rest? Would you have any idea? Any
help would be appreciated. Thanks
are not well understood, but can be resolved
understood that a cramp is an uncontrollable and often painful
muscle contraction. What isn't understood is what exactly
causes a muscle to cramp. It seems that when regular exercisers
are properly hydrated, consume the daily recommended nutrient
intake of electrolytes, and don't overdo their exercise, they
tend not to experience cramping.
why the standard recommendation to resolve a cramping problem
always includes drinking more water, consuming more electrolytes,
and exercising within the boundaries of your current fitness
you have mentioned some of your exercise and eating habits,
I can't say whether or not you are exercising or eating optimally
- this would require a detailed assessment.
I can tell you:
the activity that causes cramping. If you know squats are
going to cause thigh cramping that lasts for days; why would
you do that to your self?
a massage therapist, athletic therapist, or physiotherapist
who specializes in trigger point therapy. 100% of the time
that I have dealt with cramping problems in an athlete, there
have been trigger points in the effected muscles, and trigger
point therapy has helped to reduce the incidence of cramping.
A trigger point is a painful nodule of muscle found in a tight
band of muscle fibers. Think of a trigger point as sort of
a micro cramp that effects only a tiny portion of muscle fibers.
The trouble with trigger points is they tend not to resolve
unless there is intervention.
may have technique errors in your running, cycling, and weight
training that causes your thigh muscles to do more work than
would normally be done with correct biomechanics. These technique
errors may be causing muscle strength imbalances.
may be training too much and too hard, too often.
summary, I recommend cutting the squats and other challenging
leg exercises from your weight training, getting trigger point
treatment, and having someone assess your technique in all
of your leg activities, as well as having your bike position
checked by a professional.
the trigger points in your thigh muscle have reduced, you
can return to weight training exercises for your legs, but
you should return very conservatively. Start with less than
body weight exercises for the legs like light cable kickbacks.
and a gradual return to leg exercises in the weight room should
resolve your cramping problem.
self - help massage therapy I recommend the book, "The
Trigger Point Therapy Workbook", Second Edition, by Clair
and Amber Davies. This is the best self - help trigger point
massage book on the market and I recommend it to all my clients.