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Old 01-20-2009, 05:42 PM   #1
Tyler Short
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Question Leg Stabilizer Muscle Imbalance/Weakness

This past weekend I met up with my brother-in-law for an ice-climbing trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He is an experienced climber and hiker and has been on a few trips this season already. As for me, it was my first trip and I hadn't done any real hiking to train for it. I figured since I Crossfit (for about 6 months now) I should be fine. I've also done my fair share of humps courtesy of the Marines. I'd never hiked in deep snow before. About a mile and a half into the approach, wobbling and post-holing the entire time, I started getting fierce cramps on the lower, inner thigh. I assume this was the sartorius muscle or some of the other adductors. After that started, we turned around and the cramping continued and I had to stop frequently. I was not out of breath (some on the ascent, but not at all on the descent) and my quadriceps felt fine. We rested for the night and the next day we did some climbing in a cascade (minimal slogging) and I felt fine all day)

3 questions:
1) Am I right about it being the sartorius?
2) Could I be doing something wrong with my Crossfit lifts that caused this?
3) What exercises can I include in my workout to correct this? I am thinking plia(sp?)/crossover lunges and diagonal lunges.

Sorry for the long intro, thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 01-20-2009, 05:56 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Leg Stabilizer Muscle Imbalance/Weakness

1. Pic would be good. Heck, with a pic you could probably figure it out yourself, heh. Inner thigh is probably not sartorius as it runs across the quad.. maybe gracilis or any of the adductors.

2. Who knows.. could be posture related, tight muscles, could be from CF, etc....

MY guess would most likely be that hiking through deep snow = stressor that you haven't encoutered before = stressed your muscles ways they haven't used = something got out of whack.

3. Massage (myofascial & cross fric)/ART/foam roll. More recovery type work.

If any exercises hurt I would avoid it. You might want to see a professional though.
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Old 01-20-2009, 06:07 PM   #3
Remington Jones
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Re: Leg Stabilizer Muscle Imbalance/Weakness

I'm no expert but I don't think a muscle cramping up is a sign of weakness. I think you were probably just dehydrated. If you had never hiked in the snow before I can guarantee you were not drinking enough water.
Unless you have other reasons to believe leg is weaker then the other I would not worry about it.
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Old 01-20-2009, 06:14 PM   #4
Steven Low
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Re: Leg Stabilizer Muscle Imbalance/Weakness

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Originally Posted by Remington Jones View Post
I'm no expert but I don't think a muscle cramping up is a sign of weakness. I think you were probably just dehydrated. If you had never hiked in the snow before I can guarantee you were not drinking enough water.
Unless you have other reasons to believe leg is weaker then the other I would not worry about it.
Could be dehydration. Well, if it goes away without anything else occurring I'd say you're probably right.

Muscle overuse (in ways you haven't used them before) can lead to cramping. Hip flexors are a huge one for example.
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:49 PM   #5
Remington Jones
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Re: Leg Stabilizer Muscle Imbalance/Weakness

Agreed I've just never heard anyone thinking they have an imbalance because of one instance of cramping. I mean the other leg could of been very close to cramping too. I'm sure the muscle was being over used. I just think he would not of cramped if he had been drinking more water.


The cold dry mountain + high altitude air will suck water out of your body as fast the desert, yet since your cold you don't feel the need to drink as much water.
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:48 PM   #6
Thomas Bailly
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Re: Leg Stabilizer Muscle Imbalance/Weakness

Was the hiking slightly uphill so you had to turn your feet out (duck foot)?
Was it steep uphill where you had to side foot?
Where you wearing snowshoes?
Did you have a heavy pack so maybe you were having to balance just a little bit every step?

If yes to any of the above it was just a new movement for you,or possibly just fatigue/length/lifting your legs higher at each step had you recruiting muscles less used.

skis man,it's the only way to go !!!
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:00 AM   #7
Tyler Short
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Re: Leg Stabilizer Muscle Imbalance/Weakness

Yes to all of the above excluding the snowshoes. Dehydration was probably a factor as well on the way up, given the dry air. I guess all the new stressors (heavy pack, deep snow, steep slope) did me in. Next time I try to tackle Mt. Washington, I'll do some more moderate hiking. It ended up being a real blessing that we bailed. A big storm rolled in that night and we would have been stuck in a high avalanche danger area. Thanks for the input.
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