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Muscle Cramps SUCK!!!

Anyone who has been training on a program for a few weeks (or months) is bound to experience the sensation of muscle cramping from time to time. These minor interruptions usually don’t last longer than a minute or two, but regular cramping can disrupt your workouts and become an obstacle. Today let’s look at the top 5 reasons you’re cramping and what to do about it.

1. DEHYDRATION

As you sweat and workout you lose water from your body. Water transports important electrolytes to the muscles that allow them to contract and release. When there isn’t enough water, there isn’t sufficient delivery of sodium to the muscles, and the muscle nerves become a lot more sensitive. Think of a cramp as a muscle contraction stuck in the ON position.
Don’t forget the dehydration includes your total hydration levels for the day, not just in your entire workout. If you’re unsure when and how to get enough water in your system to prevent muscle cramps you may just be a couple of daily glasses away from relief.

2. LOW ELECTROLYTES

You may be fully hydrated after reading my list, but if you’re low on electrolytes then more water won’t help. Electrolytes like sodium and potassium allow your muscles to contract and relax repeatedly. These minerals and ions (along with magnesium, calcium, and phosphate) are vital to your workouts but also to your daily function. Have you ever had a cramp while sitting at your desk at work? What about when you’re stuck in traffic? Electrolytes and hydration work hand in hand, so make sure you’re getting enough.

3. FATIGUE

Your muscles tire out from the workload placed upon them they lose the ability to fire properly and function at an optimal level. This is normal. The usual remedies to fatigued muscles are rest and recovery, so if you’re not taking the time off that you’ve been prescribed or you’re denying your body the requisite 8 hours of sleep a night, over time your muscles will simply not be able to regenerate to keep up with the demand, so cramping becomes the sign of muscle failure and fatigue.

4. TOO MUCH TENSION + NOT ENOUGH STRETCHING

Many people notice that before and after cramping their muscles are tight and stiff, especially those exercising several times a week. All the muscle contracting and working out you do creates a lot of tension in those muscles, which is why most programs incorporate a 10 minute cool down and stretching program right after the workout out. Don’t skip the cool down, and don’t skip the stretch. You may not feel the immediate difference right after a stretch, but muscle tension adds up over 8 Weeks and flexibility is not something you can catch up on or rush overnight.

Another point where flexibility is emphasized is in the Warm Up portion of your workouts, so make sure you pay attention to form in each exercise and work through the muscles to warm them up and stretch them up properly. After several weeks of warm ups no doubt they will get much easier, but you’re not just going through the motions to make us happy, you’re doing to it wake your muscles up and initiate them in a proper sequence.

5. NEW PROGRAM

If you haven’t been working out, or you’re new to training, or you’ve been exercising at a low intensity, the dramatic difference an exercise program has on your body is simply a muscular overload that pushes your body beyond it’s capacity. This is part of the transformation process as your body tries to keep up with the new demand both within your session and the first two to three weeks of your program. As your body adjusts and muscle grows to meet the demand, cramps should vanish. Seeing as you are new to the program, it’s worth your time to pay attention to this entire list so you don’t spend several weeks plagued by cramps searching for remedy after remedy. Set yourself up to succeed in the beginning and avoid complications down the road.

HOW TO GET RID OF A CRAMP

Cramps are an annoying but minor interruption for even the most experienced athletes and exercise veterans, so don’t worry if they hit you from time to time.
Gently stretch and hold the affected muscle in a stretched position until it relaxes, and then hold it for another minute to complete release of the muscle tension. If it’s incredibly painful or the muscle continues to cramp repeatedly, you may have to pull the plug on your workouts for the day. Invest a bit more time in flexibility and stretching and remember you shouldn’t feel any pain when stretching, just tension. Another helpful method to release stiffness and prevent cramps is to use a foam roller and massage your muscles at home.

April 16, 2013 | Blog, Uncategorized | 0

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