Muscle Cramps after Workout: What to Do?

muscle cramps after workout

It is very unpleasant when, after an intense workout, a sharp and painful sensation suddenly occurs, which is accompanied by involuntary muscle cramps. This lasts from a few seconds to 15 minutes, and can be repeated periodically. The range of pain varies from simple imperceptible tingling to unbearable pain. Therefore, it is necessary to be able to immediately determine the cause of cramps and provide first aid. This will help to ease the athlete’s condition and prevent subsequent risks.

Which Muscles are Prone to Cramps and Why?

Of course, most often muscle cramps are affected by people who lead a more active lifestyle. If you do not take into account sports, then elderly people with reduced muscle mass, young children and pregnant women are at risk. Cramps are associated with a sharp weight gain, taking medications and overtraining. Athletes most often face this problem in the pre-season when the body is most prone to fatigue and overwork.

The main cause of cramps is muscle fatigue and impaired neuro-muscular control. In simple terms, the protective functions of the body are triggered, which do not allow the muscles to experience the maximum load.

Muscle cramps are directly associated with a deficiency in the body of potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium. The loss of these trace elements with sweat during an intense workout can cause a sharp muscle spasm, since these elements are involved in the process of muscle contraction and nerve impulse conduction.

During workout, the so-called dehydration occurs. The body loses water and the concentration of electrolytes in the blood becomes less. Therefore, it is necessary to constantly keep your condition under control.

Cramps can also be caused by circulatory disorders, osteochondrosis, metabolic disorders, hormonal imbalances, poor nutrition, vitamin deficiencies, diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

If muscle cramps occur frequently and are painful, then a doctor’s consultation is necessary, since such manifestations may indicate some diseases.

Absolutely any muscle can begin to disturb, but most often are at risk the gastrocnemius muscle, as well as the hamstring and quadriceps muscles.

first aid for muscle cramps

First Aid for Muscle Cramps

If you become a victim of muscle cramps during or after a workout, then try to immediately take a position in which this muscle will be as relaxed as possible.

Gently pull it, without using the antagonist muscles to stretch, as this may cause a second spasm.

Stay at rest for a few minutes. If the muscle has hardened, then gently begin to knead it and warm it up. In the future, you can apply an elastic bandage wrap.

The old method of getting rid of muscle cramps is also popular. For example, when the gastrocnemius muscle begins to disturb, you need to take a safety pin or sewing needle, and slightly tingle the surface of the muscle. It is said that this method effectively helps to solve the problem.

How to Prevent Muscle Cramps after Workout?

It is necessary to follow some rules in order to reduce the risk of muscle cramps:

  1. Warm-up before workout. It is necessary to perform cardio training in combination with dynamic movements aimed at warming up the muscles and joints.
  2. Stretching after every workout. It is imperative to stretch all the muscles that were involved in physical exercise.
  3. Relaxing massage. In this case, point impact and rubbing of the limbs will be effective.
  4. Warm bath with herbs, salt and essential oils. This will not only relax your muscles, but also have a healing effect, as well as cause positive thinking.
  5. Diet. Proper nutrition is the main component of the prevention of muscle cramps. The foods consumed must contain potassium, magnesium, zinc, and calcium. This will strengthen the connecting tissues. You should exclude from your diet: fried, sweet and fatty foods. In general, these are the foods that affect the metabolism.

muscle cramps prevention

Stretching Exercises

  • Stand on your toes and walk on a flat surface for a few minutes;
  • If it is not possible to stretch the gastrocnemius muscle well, then just squeeze your toes for a few seconds. This can be done alternately on each limb. This stretch is perfect when working in the office;
  • Stand facing a wall a few feet away. In turn, try to lean each foot completely against the wall, but so that the heel just touches the floor. In this stretching exercise, you can feel the work of not only the calves, but also the hamstring muscles;
  • A classic exercise for stretching hamstring muscles. Sit on the floor and straighten your legs. Slide your palms along the floor surface towards your ankles. Once you reach the peak, then hold for 30 seconds in this position;
  • Standing position. This stretching method requires a support assistant such as a chair. Take a stable position near him. Grasp the top of the foot with your right hand. Then try to pull it with your heel towards the lower back (you can lean forward slightly). In this exercise, the quadriceps femoris muscle is perfectly stretched;
  • A good option would be to imitate any form of twine. Transverse and longitudinal splits stretch various muscle groups;
  • You can master yoga if you wish. It uses more complex stretching exercises. Yoga has many directions. The main thing is to determine the desired result and the level of your training.

Do not forget to perform such exercises regularly: at work, at home or in the gym. Try to devote time to prevention, as it depends on your success in workouts.


In order to avoid muscle cramps, eliminate the main risks by following the rules and doing the stretching exercises mentioned above. At the same time, it is recommended to take mineral and vitamin supplements, potassium and magnesium in combination with other minerals. Enrich your diet with dairy products and B vitamins. Drink water or isotonic drinks during workout.

Try not to overexert yourself, feel your body, and use the correct weights. Review your workout plan. Perhaps some muscle group is in constant activity, and this does not give it the opportunity to recover. You can use alternative medicine, folk remedies in the form of honey, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar. For a long time, there is a belief that if you hold a handful of salt in your hands, the cramps will pass faster. You can also hold a metal object against the muscle that is disturbing you. But don’t forget that we live in a modern world that has more effective and proven methods.

If you cannot determine the cause of muscle cramps after workout, then contact your doctor.

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