Weird crampy stiff quads after a rest week?

I have been pretty consistent with my riding this year since April. I finished 3 weeks of a custom plan and then took a rest week at the end of October. Within a few days if being off the bike, my right quad started getting very crampy - nothing painful, but almost like it was beginning to seize up or I was losing control of the contraction. This happened with walking or mostly while going down the stairs. Going up the stairs didn’t cause any trouble, nor did jumping on the trainer and just spinning the legs.

I google and found a similar thread:

Anyone here have any insight or similar experiences?

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Hopefully not the same but a few years ago when I rested I experienced calf cramps too and no amount of hydration stopped it. A simple blood test revealed it was an iron shortage. This led to more tests which found bowel/colon cancer. As a relatively fit 65kg 43 year old then, it was the last thing I was expecting. In hindsight I put off that simple blood test too long which gave the bc time to grow. With a early diagnosis the same cam that found it would have pulled it out without the need for surgery. Fortunately, my doctor wasn’t as complacent as me and they caught it before it burst out of the colon and spread.

Its 99.999999% certain its not the issue for you but I’d urge you to have that simple blood test.


Oh boy, @HLaB, I really hope you have a speedy recovery! I lost my dad to colon cancer two years ago, and I could only wish his was discovered sooner than it was.

One reason I had the week off was because I actually had an endoscopy + colonoscopy done as well. The preliminary reports are normal, but I think we’re waiting on some pathology reports in a couple of weeks.

I would have attributed my crampiness to electrolyte imbalances during the colonoscopy prep, but I was actually very well hydrated (with electrolyte drinks and clear broth), I think. Also, the weird crampy/stiff feeling started even before I started the bowel prep for the procedures.

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Thanks. I had it whipped out last April and despite the subsequent chemo I actually managed to build through it.

Sorry for your loss but I’m glad your reports were normal :slight_smile:



Just reviving this thread in case anyone else is affected by this and needed to see it. The link in the OP has many tales of woe, which are familiar to me. Note the frequent use of the description ‘stabbing pain’!

I’ve just taken 3 days off, and during Colosseum -3 today I had tears in my eyes from the pain :face_vomiting: :rofl:. And I like to think I can deal with a decent amount of pain! I climbed off 3 times in the first 25 mins and did some ATG squats, which were extremely painful, but seem to temporarily relieve the pain when cycling. Felt ok-ish through the rest of the ride.

Not having more than 2 days off seems to be key (the wife will be delighted) to avoiding onset, although I noticed some low level nuisance on day 2.

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Is your body weight up?

Exercise followed by rest and adequate carbohydrate intake results in an increase in muscle glycogen stores. With that comes an increase in intracellular water (at an average ratio of 3 g to 1 g…in frog muscle, anyway) and some degree of cell swelling. (This, of course, is why some bodybuilders pursue a carbohydrate loading protocol prior to competitions, even though they don’t need the extra stored energy.)

It’s therefore possible that what you’re experiencing is nothing more than the typical rebound in glycogen that occurs whenever any endurance athlete backs way off on their regular training. (Personally, I always chose to embrace the sensations, knowing that the stiffer my muscles and the more bloated I felt at the start of a long road race, the better I would feel in the 5th hour.)


this is not the same. I have had the same problem for years now and have been hospitalised 3 times because of it. the underlying cause is unknown (I’ve seen multiple muscle specialists), but the end effect is rhabdo. I was in hospital with creatine kinase values beyond 80.000 (higher their scale wouldn’t go) and pain so severe they considered opiates. only fix is to never take too much time off and to be very strict with carbohydrate intake when not exercising. I can do one day off, two days and I’m risking things.

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I get the same thing as others here have described any time I take more than 2 days off. Muscles feel all bloated, and then if I try to do ANYTHING that’s more than normal chores or riding at z2 or below I get excruciating quad cramps. 1 day off is fine, two days typically fine. It’s coming back on day 3 or 4+ that do it.

Even going for a hike…I’ll be fine on the way up and then won’t be able to walk on the way down. It’s wild. A short/easy run and I’ll have to walk home. Typically by the next day everything’s back to normal and I can do whatever I want without cramping. And in normal race/ride situations I very rarely if ever cramp.

Being on a plane seems to guarantee that this will all occur, and that usually coincides with a few days off the bike.

Next time I have some time off I’m gonna force myself to stretch and roll daily and see if that helps. That’s so hard to do though, cause usually all I want to do on those days is absolutely nothing.

Hey, have you had any further information on that? Seems like I’m in the exact same situation like you. Already had a biopsy and a DNA test but nothing was found.

Nope, nothing new