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-   -   Stretching and resting (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1230510)

Kabuki12 05-19-21 09:29 AM

I ride quite a bit and I am not prone to cramps . I drink plenty of water and use an additive to my bottle when I go on long rides. I do stretch not only before riding but at least once during a long ride. For me stretching is helpful for fighting fatigue . I have had non cycling related injuries and gone to physical therapy where they teach various forms of stretching. Even after healing I continue the treatment on my own with what they taught me.

slickrcbd 05-19-21 08:39 PM

I think people missed the point of my question.
How long can I not be riding before I need to stretch again? Often I'll take a 30-45 minute rest when riding more than 3-4 miles (yes I know, I've been trying for years to get back into shape but it seems every winter I lose 90% of all progress I made).
I know I need to stretch again after 45 minutes, but how long can I be stopped and either resting, walking around (aka shopping), or standing (aka waiting in line) before I need to stretch again?



Originally Posted by wolfchild (Post 22060025)
I am 51 and I never stretch, I find no benefits in stretching., it's just a waste of time and it doesn't do anything for me..

I used to feel that way, until about 10 years ago when I started getting these cramps the next day after riding. I looked up recommended stretches for bike riders, tried them, and surprise, no cramps the next day.
After some experiments, I found that the if I stretched, I had no pain the next day, but if I did not bother stretching, I got horrible cramps.
Before I was 30, I never needed to stretch, even when I went 5 miles up hill to college that time when my car was in the shop after somebody sideswiped me (and the repairs were on their dime).

Originally Posted by Bmach (Post 22060038)
Try stretching after you ride.

I should have mentioned that I do that too.

Originally Posted by rsbob (Post 22060207)
As people age they tend to stiffen. We have all see older men with a shuffling gate due to stiffness. I stretched before going on runs and have always done the same for cycling. At 66, I stretch before and after a ride. I stretch before to limber and after to help prevent cramps since I am an egg-head and like to push myself on every ride.

Internet search on Stretching for Cyclists and you will find pages and pages of dedicated stretches and videos. The sheer number of pages shows that stretching is not an anomaly.

How many miles to Walmart? How old are you? If you are getting cramps just riding a few blocks, you may want to consult a physician.

Not really relevant, Walmart isn't the only place I go, it was just an example. Still, it's about 2.5-3 miles, I never clocked it exactly.

Originally Posted by guachi (Post 22063712)
There's no evidence that cramps have anything to do with hydration or electrolytes. I'd certainly stay hydrated and consume electrolytes on a longer ride, but not because of cramps.

I sometimes think I go overboard on staying hydrated, and cut back last year due to the water fountains being turned off due to COVID, but normally if I'm going more than a mile I carry two water bottles and do not hesitate to drink from them, refilling at practically every opportunity.Even when I'm going only a mile (which is frequent as the library and the shopping center with the bank, grocery store, and dollar store are only 1 mile away) I always fill the smaller 12oz bottle on the principal of "better to have it and not need it than need the water and not have it".
Being hydrated has no effect on the cramps, stretching does.
Again, I never needed to stretch before I was 30.

guachi 05-19-21 11:17 PM


Originally Posted by Inusuit (Post 22063835)
Mayo Clinic disagrees with your assertion.

They list both dehydration and mineral depletion as contributors to cramps.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-...blood%20supply.

They can list whatever they want but actual scientific study after study shows no relation between hydration or electrolytes and cramping. One study I read had participants get ridiculously dehydrated. Result? No additional cramping.

From another study: the "electrolyte depletion" and "dehydration" hypotheses do not offer plausible... mechanisms... that could adequately explain the presentation of [cramping].

You'd think if what Mayo Clinic said was true it would be easy to find lots of studies to back it up.

livedarklions 05-20-21 12:35 AM


Originally Posted by slickrcbd (Post 22067630)
I think people missed the point of my question.
How long can I not be riding before I need to stretch again? Often I'll take a 30-45 minute rest when riding more than 3-4 miles (yes I know, I've been trying for years to get back into shape but it seems every winter I lose 90% of all progress I made).
I know I need to stretch again after 45 minutes, but how long can I be stopped and either resting, walking around (aka shopping), or standing (aka waiting in line) before I need to stretch again?


I used to feel that way, until about 10 years ago when I started getting these cramps the next day after riding. I looked up recommended stretches for bike riders, tried them, and surprise, no cramps the next day.
After some experiments, I found that the if I stretched, I had no pain the next day, but if I did not bother stretching, I got horrible cramps.
Before I was 30, I never needed to stretch, even when I went 5 miles up hill to college that time when my car was in the shop after somebody sideswiped me (and the repairs were on their dime).

I should have mentioned that I do that too.
Not really relevant, Walmart isn't the only place I go, it was just an example. Still, it's about 2.5-3 miles, I never clocked it exactly.

I sometimes think I go overboard on staying hydrated, and cut back last year due to the water fountains being turned off due to COVID, but normally if I'm going more than a mile I carry two water bottles and do not hesitate to drink from them, refilling at practically every opportunity.Even when I'm going only a mile (which is frequent as the library and the shopping center with the bank, grocery store, and dollar store are only 1 mile away) I always fill the smaller 12oz bottle on the principal of "better to have it and not need it than need the water and not have it".
Being hydrated has no effect on the cramps, stretching does.
Again, I never needed to stretch before I was 30.


I've found that stretching does absolutely nothing for me, and I regularly ride centuries without cramps. I'm 60 y.o. I think you're missing the point of the comments--there's no scientific answer to your question, and no one here can answer what's going to work for you.

Don't take this the wrong way, but I don't think it's normal to get crampy after a 5 mile ride unless you're doing it very fast.
​​​​​​

PaulRivers 05-20-21 12:58 AM


Originally Posted by slickrcbd (Post 22067630)
I think people missed the point of my question.
How long can I not be riding before I need to stretch again? Often I'll take a 30-45 minute rest when riding more than 3-4 miles (yes I know, I've been trying for years to get back into shape but it seems every winter I lose 90% of all progress I made).
I know I need to stretch again after 45 minutes, but how long can I be stopped and either resting, walking around (aka shopping), or standing (aka waiting in line) before I need to stretch again?

The only real answer is that you are you and youu need to try things and record/remember the results to see yourself.

As people have mentioned some people never need to or benefit from stretching, while others it helps, while for others it's almost a requirement, just nobody can tell you what would work for you.

slickrcbd 05-20-21 02:20 AM

Ah, so just trial and error. Also apparently it can change, as when I was younger I never needed to stretch and never saw the point of all those stretches at the start and usually end of gym class. It was only when I got older that I started having problems if I skipped the stretching. I just dread what will happen when I turn 60 if I had so much bad stuff when I turned 30.

I can say something else, a few years back I pulled a muscle lifting some heavy boxes at work during an upgrade when we in IT had to bring a ton (actually it was probably two tons) of computers, monitors, and equipment from a receiving area to the IT department and process it. The Orthopedist asked me if I'd stretched before doing what was essentially weight lifting. I said no, and he tsked at me and said I wasn't 18 anymore, and that I needed to stretch before lifting more than about 30-40lbs or I risk that happening. He also recommended stretching before moving a lot of boxes even if they only weigh 10-20lbs if I'm going to be moving a lot of them.
This was years AFTER I discovered I needed to stretch on the bike. '
Then years later I pulled a muscle again, this time I was working a part-time survival job at Sam's Club in the electronic department while looking for a permanent full-time job. I was asked by a customer to put two 40-packs of 500ml bottles from a nearby endcap on her cart for her. That's 44lbs of water plus the weight of 40 16.9oz bottles and packaging, somewhere between 45 and 50lbs. I picked up both at once and put them in the cart, and somehow pulled a muscle. I went to the same orthopedist who said "Didn't I tell you about the importance of stretching the last time this happened? Maybe you will learn this time." I did, and now I'm a bit paranoid about doing the few simple stretches the doctor went over with me before lifting anything heavy. So I guess stretching is now necessary for me, but it didn't used to be before I turned 30. I should mention that what the doctor told me to do before lifting heavy stuff and what my high school gym teacher made me do before using the free weights however is very different, with the gym teacher's taking far longer and being far more comprehensive, while the doctors' were just a few simple stretches.

livedarklions 05-20-21 05:39 AM


Originally Posted by slickrcbd (Post 22067831)
Ah, so just trial and error. Also apparently it can change, as when I was younger I never needed to stretch and never saw the point of all those stretches at the start and usually end of gym class. It was only when I got older that I started having problems if I skipped the stretching. I just dread what will happen when I turn 60 if I had so much bad stuff when I turned 30.

I can say something else, a few years back I pulled a muscle lifting some heavy boxes at work during an upgrade when we in IT had to bring a ton (actually it was probably two tons) of computers, monitors, and equipment from a receiving area to the IT department and process it. The Orthopedist asked me if I'd stretched before doing what was essentially weight lifting. I said no, and he tsked at me and said I wasn't 18 anymore, and that I needed to stretch before lifting more than about 30-40lbs or I risk that happening. He also recommended stretching before moving a lot of boxes even if they only weigh 10-20lbs if I'm going to be moving a lot of them.
This was years AFTER I discovered I needed to stretch on the bike. '
Then years later I pulled a muscle again, this time I was working a part-time survival job at Sam's Club in the electronic department while looking for a permanent full-time job. I was asked by a customer to put two 40-packs of 500ml bottles from a nearby endcap on her cart for her. That's 44lbs of water plus the weight of 40 16.9oz bottles and packaging, somewhere between 45 and 50lbs. I picked up both at once and put them in the cart, and somehow pulled a muscle. I went to the same orthopedist who said "Didn't I tell you about the importance of stretching the last time this happened? Maybe you will learn this time." I did, and now I'm a bit paranoid about doing the few simple stretches the doctor went over with me before lifting anything heavy. So I guess stretching is now necessary for me, but it didn't used to be before I turned 30. I should mention that what the doctor told me to do before lifting heavy stuff and what my high school gym teacher made me do before using the free weights however is very different, with the gym teacher's taking far longer and being far more comprehensive, while the doctors' were just a few simple stretches.


I believe the most recent evidence on this is that stretching before strenuous activity actually makes it slightly MORE likely that you'll get injured. I'm not sure I'd want to take your orthopedist's word on this. But if it seems to be working, do it. If it doesn't, maybe look somewhere else for advice. An orthopedist really isn't a muscle specialist.

Inusuit 05-20-21 07:42 AM

[QUOTE=guachi;22067752]

Originally Posted by Inusuit (Post 22063835)

They can list whatever they want but actual scientific study after study shows no relation between hydration or electrolytes and cramping. One study I read had participants get ridiculously dehydrated. Result? No additional cramping.

From another study: the "electrolyte depletion" and "dehydration" hypotheses do not offer plausible... mechanisms... that could adequately explain the presentation of [cramping].

You'd think if what Mayo Clinic said was true it would be easy to find lots of studies to back it up.

All of the following sources list dehydration and electrolyte imbalance as factors that contribute to muscle cramps. This is a partial list. I did find one study that said consumption of fluids after dehydration could cause cramps. Some sources say the actual cause of cramps cannot be determined for certain. Age, pregnancy, some medications, muscle overuse, fatigue, and some diseases such as multiple sclerosis also contribute to susceptibility to cramps.

​​​​​​https://www.healthline.com/health/muscle-cramps

​​​​​​https://my.clevelandclinic.org/healt...-muscle-cramps

​​​​​​https://www.health.harvard.edu/stayi...-muscle-cramps

​​​​​​https://facty.com/ailments/feet/10-c...-leg-cramps/7/

​​​​​​https://osteopathic.org/what-is-oste.../muscle-cramp/

​​​​​​https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/...s/muscle-cramp

​​​​​​https://muschealth.org/medical-servi...mps-and-spasms

With respect, I assume we can agree to disagree.

Flip Flop Rider 05-20-21 10:22 AM

never stretch, and rarely cramp (once every couple of years). Think it's a nutrition issue

ride more is a winning recipe

rydabent 05-20-21 10:32 AM

I have never gone in for the stretching routine, but at 83, I find that cycling every other day is a good thing.

shelbyfv 05-21-21 06:41 AM

You shouldn't need to stretch before or after a 3 to 4 mile ride and certainly not in the middle of it. If you are uncomfortable riding that distance the problem is more than cycling related. Even with a poor bike fit that distance should be unremarkable for any normal adult. Work on fitness and flexibility off the bike. Walking and yoga will bring faster results. :thumb:

cubewheels 05-21-21 05:44 PM


Originally Posted by livedarklions (Post 22067790)
I've found that stretching does absolutely nothing for me, and I regularly ride centuries without cramps. I'm 60 y.o. I think you're missing the point of the comments--there's no scientific answer to your question, and no one here can answer what's going to work for you.

Don't take this the wrong way, but I don't think it's normal to get crampy after a 5 mile ride unless you're doing it very fast.
​​​​​​

Yup, too fast for the fitness level

At least begin the ride slow to have proper warm up. Warm up is what works for the most part. Stretching seems to work because it is also a warm up activity but to a lesser degree. Warm ups are better because you can perfectly do it on the bike. Saves a lot of time, for commuting.

cubewheels 05-21-21 05:50 PM


Originally Posted by slickrcbd (Post 22067630)
I think people missed the point of my question.
How long can I not be riding before I need to stretch again? Often I'll take a 30-45 minute rest when riding more than 3-4 miles (yes I know, I've been trying for years to get back into shape but it seems every winter I lose 90% of all progress I made).
I know I need to stretch again after 45 minutes, but how long can I be stopped and either resting, walking around (aka shopping), or standing (aka waiting in line) before I need to stretch again?

You just need to have a proper warm up. Warm up is what really works. Take it easy when you start the ride. Start slow, avoid going fast at the first two miles, use easy gears (install lower / easier gears on your bike for that purpose). And definitely avoid grinding hard gears at the first two miles of the ride.

The benefit you get from stretching is the warm up it causes. So why not go straight to the guy and do proper warm up on your bike?

PeteHski 05-21-21 06:13 PM

I definitely need a warm-up on the bike, but stretching does nothing for me. I might do a little bit as a token gesture now and again. I'm not particularly flexible, but could never touch my toes without bending my knees even when I was in primary school. So I think that's more of a genetic limitation for me.

vane171 05-21-21 06:24 PM

some thirty years ago, when I was thirty :D I was taking aerobic gym classes and thought it useless when the instructor would make us limb up with all kinds of stretching, even turning and swiveling head around, but now at 60+ I need to do these kinds of exercises, my neck makes noises when I turn/swivel my head LOL. my knees make some sounds when I do dips and overall my body flexibility around mid waist area leaves something to be desired. Still I am better off than most at this age but to keep it, I do some basic exercises besides riding my bike. Bicycling alone won't keep you fit in this regard.

Flip Flop Rider 05-21-21 07:15 PM


Originally Posted by livedarklions (Post 22067790)
I've found that stretching does absolutely nothing for me, and I regularly ride centuries without cramps. I'm 60 y.o. I think you're missing the point of the comments--there's no scientific answer to your question, and no one here can answer what's going to work for you.

Don't take this the wrong way, but I don't think it's normal to get crampy after a 5 mile ride unless you're doing it very fast.
​​​​​​

this

guachi 05-21-21 07:34 PM


Originally Posted by Inusuit (Post 22068015)
All of the following sources list dehydration and electrolyte imbalance as factors that contribute to muscle cramps. This is a partial list. I did find one study that said consumption of fluids after dehydration could cause cramps. Some sources say the actual cause of cramps cannot be determined for certain. Age, pregnancy, some medications, muscle overuse, fatigue, and some diseases such as multiple sclerosis also contribute to susceptibility to cramps.

​​​​​​https://www.healthline.com/health/muscle-cramps

​​​​​​https://my.clevelandclinic.org/healt...-muscle-cramps

​​​​​​https://www.health.harvard.edu/stayi...-muscle-cramps

​​​​​​https://facty.com/ailments/feet/10-c...-leg-cramps/7/

​​​​​​https://osteopathic.org/what-is-oste.../muscle-cramp/

​​​​​​https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/...s/muscle-cramp

​​​​​​https://muschealth.org/medical-servi...mps-and-spasms

With respect, I assume we can agree to disagree.

Exactly zero of those are or reference even one scientific study. I'm not aware of any actual scientific studies that link dehydration or electrolytes to cramps but there are studies that specifically look at dehydration and electrolytes and find no relation between them and cramps.

You believe what you want. As for me, I'll trust actual science.

guachi 05-21-21 07:42 PM

[QUOTE=Inusuit;22068015]

Originally Posted by guachi (Post 22067752)

All of the following sources list dehydration and electrolyte imbalance as factors that contribute to muscle cramps. This is a partial list. I did find one study that said consumption of fluids after dehydration could cause cramps. Some sources say the actual cause of cramps cannot be determined for certain. Age, pregnancy, some medications, muscle overuse, fatigue, and some diseases such as multiple sclerosis also contribute to susceptibility to cramps.

​​​​​​https://www.healthline.com/health/muscle-cramps

​​​​​​https://my.clevelandclinic.org/healt...-muscle-cramps

​​​​​​https://www.health.harvard.edu/stayi...-muscle-cramps

​​​​​​https://facty.com/ailments/feet/10-c...-leg-cramps/7/

​​​​​​https://osteopathic.org/what-is-oste.../muscle-cramp/

​​​​​​https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/...s/muscle-cramp

​​​​​​https://muschealth.org/medical-servi...mps-and-spasms

With respect, I assume we can agree to disagree.

Exactly zero of those are or reference even one scientific study. I'm not aware of any actual scientific studies that link dehydration or electrolytes to cramps but there are studies that specifically look at dehydration and electrolytes and find no relation between them and cramps.

As for the study you mention about consumption of fluids AFTER dehydration causing cramps that study had this to say: "It has been documented, in recent studies, that EAMC stems from an imbalance between excitatory drive from muscle spindles and inhibitory drive from Golgi tendon organs to the alpha motor neurons, rather than dehydration or electrolytes deficits".

You believe what you want. As for me, I'll trust actual science.

cubewheels 05-22-21 03:42 AM


Originally Posted by PeteHski (Post 22070460)
I definitely need a warm-up on the bike, but stretching does nothing for me. I might do a little bit as a token gesture now and again. I'm not particularly flexible, but could never touch my toes without bending my knees even when I was in primary school. So I think that's more of a genetic limitation for me.

Not every muscle pain is caused by insufficient flexibility

You can get muscle pain even in fully upright riding position if you suddenly do hard or high resistance efforts without warm up.

Inusuit 05-22-21 07:35 AM

[QUOTE=guachi;22070559]

Originally Posted by Inusuit (Post 22068015)

Exactly zero of those are or reference even one scientific study. I'm not aware of any actual scientific studies that link dehydration or electrolytes to cramps but there are studies that specifically look at dehydration and electrolytes and find no relation between them and cramps.

As for the study you mention about consumption of fluids AFTER dehydration causing cramps that study had this to say: "It has been documented, in recent studies, that EAMC stems from an imbalance between excitatory drive from muscle spindles and inhibitory drive from Golgi tendon organs to the alpha motor neurons, rather than dehydration or electrolytes deficits".

You believe what you want. As for me, I'll trust actual science.

I suppose Harvard and the Mayo Clinic came to their conclusions by consulting chicken entrails or Tarot cards.

PeteHski 05-22-21 07:47 AM


Originally Posted by cubewheels (Post 22070808)
Not every muscle pain is caused by insufficient flexibility

You can get muscle pain even in fully upright riding position if you suddenly do hard or high resistance efforts without warm up.

For sure. As I get older (53) I find that warming up has become more and more important. Not just muscles either, cardio too. Ideally I like to warm up slowly at very low power (<100W) for a good 15 to 20 mins before ramping up. Stretching I can do without, but prefer to stretch as a cool down rather than warm up. Stretching as a warm-up seems like a good way to risk pulling a cold muscle. I do light strength training off the bike too, which involves a bit of stretching. But I certainly don't go out of my way to stretch or follow any sort of formal stretching routine. I just stretch whenever I feel like it, similar to our dogs, lol :)

bikehoco 05-22-21 08:56 AM

Every body is different, mine is extremely stiff. I stretch before & after rides and on days I donít ride.

Regarding post ride stretches, you need to do it while your muscles are still warm.

rsbob 05-22-21 09:22 AM

The OP apparently is rather unique in his proclivity to cramp. Many of us can ride many miles and/hours and never cramp or need to stretch. Since he is so unique, general practices, or non-practices, don’t seem to apply to him. I would think trial and error as well as a gentle conditioning program might tell him what he needs to know.

livedarklions 05-22-21 09:58 PM

[QUOTE=Inusuit;22070922]

Originally Posted by guachi (Post 22070559)

I suppose Harvard and the Mayo Clinic came to their conclusions by consulting chicken entrails or Tarot cards.


I think you need to read these websites a little more closely. Yes, electrolyte imbalance can cause cramping in extreme cases, but you're probably going to be too sick to workout in the first place. Seriously, it's on a list with multiple sclerosis and pregnancy! They're not describing workout-related cramping, which is listed as a different cause. With electrolyte imbalance, this is going to be system-wide cramping, not just a leg cramp.

slickrcbd 05-23-21 03:22 PM


Originally Posted by cubewheels (Post 22070444)
You just need to have a proper warm up. Warm up is what really works. Take it easy when you start the ride. Start slow, avoid going fast at the first two miles, use easy gears (install lower / easier gears on your bike for that purpose). And definitely avoid grinding hard gears at the first two miles of the ride.

The benefit you get from stretching is the warm up it causes. So why not go straight to the guy and do proper warm up on your bike?

I'm really out of shape, because I start to get tired after 2 miles and can't really go much more than 3.5 before I'm stopping at the first place I can to rest. I'm also now using a 24-speed bike with 3 gears on the pedal and 8 on the rear wheel, since when I was bike shopping I couldn't find any 10 or 12 speeds. It was either 5-speeds, 21, or 24 and the 24 was a little cheaper.

The only time I start in a higher gear is if I have to stop suddenly and don't have time to shift, and even then I try to shift by lifting up the rear wheel and pushing down on the pedal. However, I rarely use the major gear shift on the pedal and leave it in the highest gear.


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