First Aid : Prevent Cramps During MTB Races | LIMBC Malaysia 2015

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First Aid : Prevent Cramps During MTB Races

0 Comments 📁 Community, Info, Slider 🕔14.April 2014
First Aid : Prevent Cramps During MTB Races

Having a muscle cramp up on you in the middle of a ride can affects your emotions as well. And its hurts. When athletes cramp in a mountain bike race it is most often the large working muscles in the legs that go first. Cramping is a painful experience and always slows you down.

The problem is that nobody knows what really causes cramps. Well for some there are certain dietary things that can help, but to be real there are many different causes of cramps.

The best we can do as athletes is to review all the cramping theories, compare them to our own personal cramping history and cover the preventative scenario we think applies to us in our training and race day plan.

Fatigue Theory

Muscular fatigue is thought to be the most likely cause of muscle cramps. When you push harder or longer than your muscles are used to, the strain can cause cramping.


There are two ways to prevent cramping from fatigue which is  pacing and training. Pace yourself during the race to reflect the level at which you’ve trained.

The point is do not exceed your limit.

Riding harder in a race than you’ve ridden in training is a recipe for muscle cramps. A good tip is to hold back in the first half of your race to keep your muscles from becoming fatigued early.

Low Electrolyte Theory

Muscle cramps are brought on by loss of sodium, chloride, calcium, potassium or magnesium in sweat during exercise. This is the oldest cramping theory, and recent evidence suggests it’s also the most unlikely cause of muscle cramping. However, as athletes it’s an easy one to fix during a race.


Before the race, add extra salt to your meals to top-up sodium levels. During the race, supplement with a solution like Elete or use Endurolyte capsules to replace electrolytes lost in sweat.


Hyper-hydration Theory

Hyper-hydration is linked to the low electrolyte theory. Drinking too much will dilute the sodium concentration in the blood.


Just drink the right amount of liquid and not too much. Drink only when you are thirsty.

Personal Susceptibility

Some people are simply more susceptible to muscle cramps than others. There’s evidence too that susceptibility increases with age.


Regular stretching may help reduce the incidence of cramping. If you have frequent muscle cramps, you should stretch regularly. If you have a pill or tonic that prevents muscle cramps, keep taking it. The placebo effect might be working nicely for you.

If your muscle cramps become too intense to keep the pedals moving, stop and stretch the affected muscle.


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