Prone to Severe Cramping after Hard Rock Climbing / MotoX Session
Hey guys and gals,
I been seemingly prone to muscle cramps since before I went primal. Road racing superbikes in the south Florida heat, clad head to toe in leather and helmet, causes you to lose a LOT of fluid. Obviously with that you are losing electrolytes. By the end of a long day, my hamstrings, groin, and forearms would start locking in tension.
I did tons of reading on the subject of fueling, hydration, etc, and tried different approaches. The guidelines laid out for endurance athletes made the most sense in this context, so I tried various electrolyte replenishment products (Endurolytes seems to be very well thought out). Unfortunately, varying intake amounts of electrolytes netted almost no gain.
These days I am doing more rock climbing and thought my cramping had somewhat improved. I don't sweat nearly as much, as I'm half naked and the days are shorter. At worst I would have trouble once I jumped in the shower with my biceps locking in a 90* position, requiring the other arm to straighten. I started supplementing with some extra magnesium (200-400mg/day chelated), and thought I saw improvement. Yesterday I had a pretty long day of intense climbing, but the weather was great, probably only 73* and breezy. I never had any standing sweat on me (though I know I was losing fluids). I climbed for maybe 4 hours with plenty of downtime between climbs and drank 50oz of water with 2 Endurolytes caps dissolved in (+ 200mg magnesium and 200mg of potassium that morning). On my last climb, my forearms started cramping badly. My middle and ring fingers were locking curled up (while I was on the wall). I could not physically open them and had to pry them open on the rock. I know that 50oz over that time period is not quite enough, but other times I've brought twice the amount of water and still had issues. Aggressively hydrating can further dilute levels of electrolytes too.
I called it a day and eventually the cramping subsided, but I know there has to be some way for me to make improvements in this. I'm not the only one who climbs at that level of intensity, but I haven't met anyone else that seems so prone to cramping.
I should also mention more about my diet/supplementation. I supplement Vit C, 2000-4000IU D3, 200-400mg Magnesium, ~200 Potassium, occasionally K, and cod liver oil. I also drink about 1 gal / wk raw whole milk. I'm 5'11, 160lbs, ~6 %BF (according to my Tanita)
I really do love coconut water and at one point had a brand that was pretty good. But lately they all have a more processed taste and added preservatives. I usually buy 1-2 young Thai coconuts / wk and drink the water; though I haven't brought any to the crag. They taste pretty sweet to me, so I keep it limited.
This is exactly the way I use to feel after spending a day at the track or a long ride on my Ducati - So now I ride a KTM 990 ADV..
Originally Posted by Lars86
I use to put it down to the torque placed on the joints and the acute angles they're bent at. I mean, if you get out of your chair and adopt the sports bike crouch, it feels pretty unnatural.
I really use to cramp bad in the ab's (even hunched over the tank) but found after starting martial arts all the forced stretching really helped with this.
If you take creatine, some people have cramping issues with it, other than that the only thing that helped was the stretching.
On a side note, mega dosing supps did / does absolutely nothing for me.
Hmmm, well I've been doing a bit of yoga on my own and always try to do the stretching actively, not passively relaxing the muscle but strengthening it. The problem comes with muscles like the biceps that are hard to effectively stretch. I could try to stretch my forearms even more but I feel like there must be an underlying cause...
Anyone else?? Now that it's getting hot here, the cramping is worse. I drank 96oz of water during about 5 hrs of climbing, 40oz of it had a couple Endurolyte pills mixed in. Bad cramping set in towards the end.
Could it be a case of not eating enough carbs before such a strenuous and long stint? By nature I eat VLC, but don't really have much body fat to tap in to...
That's not enough water if it's hot and you're doing strenuous exercise (28oz/hour x 5 > 96 oz). A "couple" endurolytes (if you're referring to the Hammer Nutrition product) is not enough either for that duration. I was taking 2-3 per hour while doing some ultra runs in the heat. Sounds like you're doing the right things but not the the proper magnitude to match your activity level.
Hey Lars. It sounds like you're muscles are tight and tense. Full of knots most likely. Climbing and biking are likely to create, and perpetuate these. I had this for months and was at a loss as to why. Cramps, pain, weakness, clicking joints, etc. I had the lot. It got to the point where I couldn't even walk without pain, and I had to switch rooms with my housemate (now I'm on the ground floor) because I could barely climb the stairs. Anyway, someone on bikeforums.net (I'm a cyclist) told me to get the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. Long story short, I did, and it helped, a lot.
Not only does it show you how to remove the knots, or 'trigger points' in your muscles, you'll know why they form - so many reasons, and so you'll be better at preventing them in future. Work the knots out, then you can improve flexibility and strength. I had little success with flexibility until I removed the knots. Now, for the first time since I was 15, I can sit cross legged without any knee pain. Big improvement.
Over time you'll just find yourself working on the knots naturally. It's second nature to me now. If I feel any pain I'm immediately massaging the source (not always where the pain presents itself). You learn about that - referred pain patterns, in the book.
It probably sounds like I wrote it or I'd somehow benefit from you buying it. But I'm just confused as to how few doctors and physio's know about it, considering how simple and effective it is. But then I read somewhere, you're worth more to the doctors and drugs companies when you're in pain. If you know how to treat it yourself, they're out of business...
I find when I don't drink enough water is when I cramp. I have tried everything while doing just about all sports in Arizona (it's a dry heat, for sure). The only time I go outside of water I make my own replacement drink. Every single time I cramp can be traced back to not enough water.