Leg cramps are the bane of every cyclist. They often occur when you are on the last leg of the race where you can already see the finish line. And the more that you push yourself to reach that line, the more that your legs cramp to keep you from winning.
Modern science still has not found the root cause of leg cramps. Even the best personal training software program does not have a clue on how to beat muscle cramps. But the good thing is there are many ways you can prevent them so that you can finish your cycling race without your legs failing you.
Keeping yourself hydrated will not exactly cure leg cramps. But some athletes do not experience any stiffness or pain in their legs when they hydrate before, during, and after cycling.
Stretch your muscles
Some experts say that cramps occur when the muscles are too tight from exertion. So, before you get on your bicycle, stretch your legs first. Make it a habit to do some stretching exercises for your whole body before you ride to prevent muscle cramps.
Do not push too hard
Studies show that leg cramps also occur when you overexert yourself during the race. Learn to pace yourself. Learn to slow down, especially when you feel that your muscles are already getting tired or that they are going to stiffen up. Know your limits.
Some fitness experts say that cyclists who lifted weights prior to a race were able to prevent leg cramps that often hit them in previous races. There is no scientific evidence yet to explain if muscle strengthening can directly prevent cramps, but since many cyclists have attested to this preventive therapy, you may benefit from it, too.
So, go to the gym regularly to lift weights. Include squats, leg press, leg extension, lunges, deadlift, and leg curl in your routine. These exercises will help strengthen your legs and prevent them from cramping.
Add sodium to your diet
Sodium is said to have an impact on the condition of the muscles since it is involved in muscle contractions. Many cyclists say that this particular “remedy” has helped them prevent leg cramps. What you can do is add a little more sodium to your diet (1,500 to 2,000 milligrams), and see if the increased amount has any effect on your leg cramps.
If you do not experience leg cramps after this, then perhaps the increased amount really helps. But if the increased sodium does nothing to prevent muscle cramps, discard this remedy.
You can also add bananas to your diet, but just like the sodium intake, there is still no scientific evidence that shows it directly prevents leg cramps.
Leg cramps can be a bane for a cyclist, especially if you are training for a race or while you are racing. There is no clear remedy yet for this mysterious condition, but you can always try the different remedies professional cyclists and athletes also take.