Calf cramp

Was doing mini Blender as my final pre-ToS workout last night and, with one hard effort to go, was stricken with really bad cramp in my left calf. Doesn’t bode well for my debut ToS!!

I’ve had cramp once or twice before on outdoor rides but this was my first time indoors, though I’ve only been indoor training about 6 weeks.

Anyone got any good advice about avoiding cramps? Hydration, electrolytes etc, anything else? I had eaten a big(ish) meal not long before starting, wondering if that didn’t help.

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Tricky issue, I doubt your meal had anything to do with it… Everyone is different but for me it boils down to hydration or electrolytes. Good luck

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I swear by these , if you can get them where you are. They saved MANY a ride for me. Others swear by pickle juice (which has also worked for me).

Thanks both. I’ll see if I can track down some of those - look like they’re available in the UK.

It’s always important to replenish liquids and electrolytes, mainly salt, potassium, magnesium.
But whatever brand you choose in whatever form, for cramps, magnesium is the key.

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As above, magnesium is usually the major culprit, it is a neurological calmer. If you’re getting big cramps in a 1 hour workout a little electrolyte tablet is unlikely to cut it.

Try buying some magnesium citrate supplements and trying 300mg on your first day, if no issues (stomach upset is the most common issue, but still rare), then 500mg/day.

It may well also be worth supplementing with potassium citrate power 7g/day spread through 3 doses.

Most people have enough calcium, sodium etc. If the above doesn’t help (I wouldn’t necessarily expect results immediately though, unfortunately) then let me know, there are other things to try but in most people the above helps.

Ross (chiropractor).


Ok thanks for advice all, will look into magnesium supplements.

It’s not (yet) a regular problem for me but if it becomes more frequent (and it may well do during ToS week!) I’ll certainly need to sort it, it’s basically debilitating - completely unable to put any power out through one leg.

According to Christie Aschwanden in “Good to Go”, which is an excellent book about the science of recovery, the latest research on cramps suspects neuromuscular fatigue rather than hydration or electrolytes.

Heresy! :wink:


What do you expect from the Heretic? :blush:


Nothing less.

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I found Magnesium Chloride to be a little bit more GI tolerated if people have issues with citrate. It’s more efficiently absorbed.

This really is not necessarily the case. A high quality citrate will get absorbed faster than chloride, but a poor quality citrate won’t. If you have a look at the below article you’ll find that the chloride example had a 25% release rate after 2 hours at pH 6.8 and 0% at 0.1, whereas the poorest citrate had 35% and 64% respectively, yet the best citrate had 100% and 95% respectively.

Unless you’re confusing release rate and bioavailability with “passing through your system”?

You get what you pay for with supplements. I don’t advocate the use of chloride based Mg to my patients because they’re often not that well absorbed.

This is really not necessarily the case. It certainly can be, but absolutely not always.