These Exercises Help Ease Muscle Cramps For Endurance Athletes

Feb 10, 2020
By: Lauren Keating

There is nothing more frustrating than showing up at the gym or going for that long-distance run or bike run and experiencing muscle cramps. No athlete wants to be mid-triathlon and start to cramp up and wonder if they can go on.

There are various theories as to why muscle cramping occurs among endurance athletes.

Many runners experience them as a result of lactic acid buildup. Other culprits include muscles being too tight, a common problem among triathletes and marathoners, as well as dehydration, poor diet, and overexertion.

The biggest theory regarding muscle cramping is not having enough sodium and electrolytes combined with dehydration. When there is a loss of sodium (via sweat), the fluid moves in the body which may cause a muscle spasm or cramp.

Prevention Is Better Than Treatment

The best way to treat muscle cramping is through prevention strategies. It’s much easier to prevent cramping than treating the cramps once they occur.

To do so, make sure to properly stay hydrated before, during an after the endurance event or training session. This also means choosing the proper sports nutrition product like Kramp Krusher energy chews that delivers electrolytes and contains natural sea salt to help with sodium regulation and hydration.

These chews are designed to prevent cramping before it even occurs. This is because it contains calcium lactate to prevent lactic acid buildup, another culprit of cramping.

Make sure to foam roll after an intense workout to loosen up tight muscles. Also, make sure to stretch before and after the workout or race,

It’s also important to watch the diet, eating foods high in magnesium to prevent muscle cramps.

Exercises To Ease Cramping

Of course, sometimes muscle cramps still occur. Endurance athletes can treat them by doing the following exercises.

Legs Up

One of the most beneficial things to do after finishing that endurance event is to lie on your back with legs up against the wall.

Not only ones this help get rid of leg muscle spasms, but it also is an instant way to ease fatigue after a grueling workout. It does so by improving blood circulation while relaxing the muscles.

Make sure to slightly bend the knees and focusing on breathing. Stay here for at least five minutes.

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Standing Calf Stretch

This is a great exercise for stretching out a cramping calf.

Stand upright with hands on a wall. Then lean into the wall, with right leg forward with a slightly bent knee. Make sure the left leg reminds behind and is straight.

When leaning forward, both feet should remind on the ground. Feel the stretch in the calf and hold. Then repeat on the other leg.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

This stretch is good for both the hamstrings and calves.

Extend both legs out while sitting on the floor, reaching to the toes. With a straight back focus on bending at the hips and hold the feet or calves. Feel the stretch and sit there for a few seconds.

Hip Lift

Endurance athletes sometimes suffer from back spasms. Ease these muscle cramps by doing hip lifts.

Lie on your back and bend the knees with feet firmly on the ground and hands at each side. Raise the hips offof the group and hold for a few seconds. Rest and repeat.

Child’s Pose

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This popular yoga move is also great for treating back pain.

Child’s pose is done by kneeling on the ground with knees slightly apart. Bent down so that the chest is down to the thighs. Stretch arms out past the head and hold the stretch.

Upper Back Stretch

A tense upper back can throw off form. Stretch the upper back by standing up straight and lifting the arms up and behind the head, bent at the elbows. Then bend back just a bit to make an arc.

Stay in this pose for a few seconds and stand straight. Repeat a few times.

Neck Exercises

Tight neck muscles and cramps occur when not properly warming up or calling down. Prevent this by doing neck exercises.

Stand straight with hands behind the neck for support. Move the neck to the right and the left, bending it downward. Hold it down on each side for a few seconds. Move slowly and controlled. Then bend the neck up and down.

Sources:

Muscle Cramps and How to Reduce Your Risk, Sports Dietitians, https://[www.sportsdietitians.com.au/​sda-blog/reduce-risk-muscle-​cramps/](http://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/sda-blog/reduce-risk-muscle-cramps/)

Here’s What Foam Rolling Is Actually Doing When It Hurts So Good, K. Alesiha Fetters, M.S., C.S.C.S., Self,https://www.self.com/story/​what-foam-rolling-is-actually-​doing-when-it-hurts-