I know that there are no conclusive answers explaining the reasons for cramping. I often have cramps in my left leg in races/rides where I’m trying to do my best. The muscle that usually cramps up is vastus medialis (a thigh just above the knee, slightly to the inside). Today I took part in a hilly ride (65miles - 7000ft) and around mile 22 I started having cramps, first in my usual left leg, and then in both). The fact that mostly I get it in the left leg can be explained by the fact that it’s weaker (as evidenced by power meter readings). Now, apart from the usual factors contributing to cramping (eg. hydration), I think the following might have been the reason:
- starting too hard
- beginning of the season
- those muscles in questions are too weak.
Now, can I ask you about the third bullet point. Do you think if I go to a gym an focus on those particular muscles, it should help? I’d hope that it’d firstly balance the power between the two legs, and make those muscles stronger, and therefore less prone to being over-fatigued?
What gym/home exercises would you recommend to strengthen those muscles?
Obviously, I understand that working out ONLY those particular muscles would be a mistake (need to balance the exercises to train other parts of the body as well)
Also, would working on my pedalling technique help? I’ve noticed that the cramps always happen on a climb. Very often my legs are fatigued or I don’t have enough power to pedal smoothly. Instead of pedalling “in a circle”, I tend to do movements as if I was pushing the feet down (if that makes sense).
Any other tips? This is becoming a real nuisance for me.