How do I prevent spams/cramp in my calf?

This is now the second week in a row where I’ve either finished a workout with the onset of cramp in my left calf or where I had to throw myself off the bike and scream in pain as my left calf muscle spasmed.
This particular instance happened at the end of Huxley +1 on the final sprint @ 140%. I don’t think this episode had anything to do with diet since each time it’s happened, or almost happened, it’s been at the end of some extremely hard efforts.
What can I do to reduce the chances of this happening again? Would exercises to strengthen my calf help? If so, which exercises?

what is your cadence at? the answer you don’t want to hear likely is that the cramps are due to fatigue assuming hydration and electrolytes and temperature are reasonable. Short term increase cadence, long term get a fit with the cleats slid back as far as they will go

do you foam roll? might help to do before and after…you might have tight muscles (?) or the intersection of achilles / calf… good luck!

Prior to the sprint effort I was at >90rpm, but then could only muster around 70-80rpm when the intensity went up from 110% to 140%.
If it’s fatigue then surely I can improve the muscular endurance of my calves?

I’ve started foam rolling again in the vain hope it might help.

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Stretching might be the issue rather than strengthening. Doing this before and after might help.


Edit: don’t do it in your underwear if the steps are the communal stairs in your apartment building.


My pharmacist has me on Magnesium citrate, calcium citrate, a daily vitamin and fish oil. I also foam roll now and do hip/glute exercises 3 times a week. Not one cramp since I started and used to have cramps like yours.


LOL!!! great call on the underwear. sidenote, make sure you’re at LEAST wearing underwear as well! great point on stretching vs strengthening

that’s really interesting. i wonder if the no cramps is more specifically the magnesium. I take that as well, mostly for sleep though. thanks for sharing that!

If the cramping is only, and repeatedly, in the one calf, it makes me wonder if you have an issue with your technique or with your cleat position, or with your fit.
You may be doing more ankling on that side. Perhaps figuring out why will lead to a solution.
If you don’t care about why it’s happening, and just want to do something, shotgun style, try moving that left cleat back 1-2mm and lowering your saddle 2-4mm. Perhaps then you’ll trade calf cramps for knee pain in the opposite leg, or perhaps you’ll be golden.
These aren’t easy things to diagnose over the internet with the amount of information given in a forum post!


That’s a good shout, I’ll take a lot at the cleat position. I do feel it in both calves but it’s happened to be the left one that gave up first. Seems to be when I get out the saddle that pushes it over the edge.

I get calf pain as well and have tried all sorts of PT, dry needling, among other things – less cramping and more sustained pain. I have found that rolling with a baseball/lacrosse ball is easier to target than a foam roller. Also, I believe it has to do with my ankle’s limited movement and general posterior chain tightness and weakness. Laying flat on my back, with a resistance band around my foot, one leg raised straight, the other on the ground really helps with this. And if you push though your heel, you get more calf activation. Like this…

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And of course, there are a lot of software solutions for the spam…