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Climbing stamina?

muffin topmuffin top Posts: 78
After 3 or 4 hours on a hilly route, I cramp in whatever muscle it is that's just above the knees (both sides together, so it's good to know I'm nicley symmetrical!) This is clearly a climbing muscle as once I'm back on the level I can still work hard without a twitch in this little darling, but as soon as the road goes up I have to ease off otherwise the cramp will return.

If I go out and climb a big hill ot two I'm not even aware that I've got these above-the-knee muscles (do they have a name?) It's got to be a long hilly ride, er, just like a sportive.

I'm a reasonable climber. I can climb seated or standing: it doesn't seem to affect the onset of this cramp.

Okay, other than riding a sportive every week (Mrs MT wouldn't like that) does any one have any tips on building climbing stamina? Specific gym exercises perhaps or cross training?
I should get out more (on the bike)

Posts

  • softladsoftlad Posts: 3,587
    cramp has more to do with mineral deficiencies than lack of stamina. I'd be looking at drinking/eating more and maintaining your electrolyte levels first, before adjusting your training...
  • rjh299rjh299 Posts: 721
    Your quads?
  • redjeepǃredjeepǃ Posts: 517
    I've just started taking magnesium tablets to try and help with cramp in my calf when swimming or cycling and so far so good, but it's still way too early to be 100%.

    Failing that make sure you put a pinch of salt in your water bottle and make sure your well hydrated.
  • KillerMetreKillerMetre Posts: 199
    Pinch of lo-salt in your drinks and you should be fine.
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    softlad wrote:
    cramp has more to do with mineral deficiencies than lack of stamina. I'd be looking at drinking/eating more and maintaining your electrolyte levels first, before adjusting your training...
    Not true :D
    Cramp is more to do with over use of muscles though in extreme heat and dehydration cramp can arise.
    I got cramp in a race last week after 55 miles due to the pace of the race as I had not prepared enough so was half expecting to get cramps, as the OP does, mine was quads also.
    I wil probably take me another two or three weeks of higher intensity work to prevent this.
    I did the Marmotte on a hot day and only used 4 bottles and had no cramp at all, but I was well prepared for that ride :D
    So IMO the OP needs to do higher intensity rides :D
  • petejukpetejuk Posts: 235
    I recommend hill reps- take a long steady hill that takes between 7 and 10 mins to climb. Take the first rep easy. Then 5 mins easy pedalling. Then next rep harder and so on. The final rep should be a balls out effort. This should give you a gauge of when your cramp kicks in. I suggest hill sessions based around the effort immediately before the cramp kicks in with the hope of increasing 1 rep a week. This should help to develop the muscles through frequent use and therefore suffer less cramp.
  • softladsoftlad Posts: 3,587
    Not true :D
    Cramp is more to do with over use of muscles though in extreme heat and dehydration cramp can arise.
    I got cramp in a race last week after 55 miles due to the pace of the race as I had not prepared enough so was half expecting to get cramps, as the OP does, mine was quads also.
    I wil probably take me another two or three weeks of higher intensity work to prevent this.
    I did the Marmotte on a hot day and only used 4 bottles and had no cramp at all, but I was well prepared for that ride :D
    So IMO the OP needs to do higher intensity rides :D

    you're right, I suppose...;) - but I think there's a bit more to it than that...

    muscles are more likely to cramp when they are tired - but mineral deficiency will also play a role. I have cramped in races many times (not so much these days, for some reason), and there was usually plenty of life left in my legs when I got cramp - mainly because I hadn't drunk enough (or enough of the right sort) during or before the race...
  • muffin topmuffin top Posts: 78
    Thanks for the feedback ladies and gents.

    I've checked the anatomy diagrams. I'm looking at the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis - yes, part of the quads.

    On reflection, I have neglected higher intensity training this year. After some solid base training, work and family life has got in the way a bit. Some hill reps for me I think.

    Yes, I need to look at hydration a bit more seriously too.

    MT
    I should get out more (on the bike)
  • GarzGarz Posts: 1,155
    and most definitely no muffin tops!
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