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Old 08-22-2006, 09:25 AM   #1
Jim Lark
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Working with a client the other day and a guy came up to me and asked me about muscle cramps. He says that every since he intensified his workout, his stomach cramps when he bends over to tie his shoes, and shoulders also sometimes cramp while performing the simplest of actions.

He told me he eats bananas (for the potassium), literally drinks almost 3 gallons of fluids/day (possible problem flushing out minerals?), and takes calcium supplements. So, he's already taking care of my first line of defense against cramps, unless he's overhydrating and depleting his body - maybe???

So, any thoughts on this one? Any other suggestions to avoid muscle cramps?

Thanks,
Jim
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Old 08-22-2006, 10:12 AM   #2
Jerimiah Childress
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I had an elderly patient that started keeping gatorade in her fridge and drinking an 8-12 oz glass a night for night cramps and it nearly eliminated them for her.
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Old 08-22-2006, 12:24 PM   #3
Jim Lark
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Gatorade is good because it provides potassium and sodium. I believe this guy is already getting these minerals.

Thanks
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:06 PM   #4
Steven Low
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Is his routine balanced? If it is ab heavy and anterior deltoid heavy, then you might have some muscular imbalances which can lead to bad posture and possibly muscle cramps/pain.
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:55 PM   #5
Jim Lark
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I discussed with him the whole imbalance thing. He's pretty ab heavy so I told him he should be adding some back extensions - same for the rear delts (add some barbell presses).

I'm still not convinced that would cause the cramping. Back before CrossFit, I used to do a lot of abs and chest. I never had pec or ab cramps.

Any other thoughts?

Thanks,
Jim
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Old 08-22-2006, 05:31 PM   #6
Ben Kaminski
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Try having him stretch his abs and shoulders. To stretch the abs, do a bridge (gymnast bridge, not wrestling). Stretching the shoulders is pretty straight-forward.

I had a period of time where my quads were cramping up, and what solved it for me was stretching. I had a real flexibility imbalance between my quads and hamstrings, because I was stretching hamstrings every day and never stretched the quads at all. Now that problem is totally gone for me.

If you try this and find that he is very inflexible in those areas, there is a good chance that continued stretching will lead to a reduction of cramping incidents.
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:00 AM   #7
Elliot Royce
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I have occasionally gotten ab cramps, usually after a hard ab workout. Don't know why it occurs but I generally stop getting them the next day and then not for quite a while.

Has this been happening for a while? If so, it seems a bit odd. In addition to bananas, why doesn't he try some potassium tablets (be careful on the dose)? We used to take them for football practice and long days out in the sun exercising. That would at least rule that theory out.
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Old 08-23-2006, 06:05 AM   #8
Jim Lark
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I'll recommend the stretching. Do you think the amount of water he is drinking is diluting his minerals and causing some of the cramping?

Thanks for all the replies.
Jim
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Old 08-23-2006, 06:38 AM   #9
Jerimiah Childress
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I haven't seen that before, but I know it is possible, especially if it is 3 gallons of water.
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:47 PM   #10
Ragnar Speicher
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Jim,

Although the water might contribute to your clients challenge I don't think that it is the actual problem.

It seems like there is something else going on.

I'd try cutting down on calcium and taking some magnesium instead.

Why?

1) Calcium and magnesium are antagonists, so they need to be in balance. As far as I know calcium hardly ever is a problem, as it is abundantly available (e.g. dairy products). It is true that dairy contains magnesium also, but in considerably smaller amounts than calcium. As these two minerals compete with each other only little magnesium is actually being absorbed. In addition modern veggies seem to lack magnesium. This is why nowadays most people tend to have magnesium deficiency. Now, adding a calcium supplement will push this thingy out of balance even further.

2) Calcium promotes muscle contraction whereas magnesium relaxes the muscle. Too much calcium leads to too intense neural stimulation of the muscle - so you get cramps. Magnesium counteracts this effect. Of course too much magnesium would have negative consequences as well (e.g. reduced performance).

I might be wrong, but it could be worth a try. If I'm right your client should feel the difference very quickly. Magnesium citrate is said to be absorbed quite well.

Best,
Ragnar
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