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agrelon 25th April 2010 09:17 AM

Hi all,

I was wondering if any of you have a special way of avoiding cramps in long sessions of windsurfing.

I know that when I'm overpowered and wearing a wetsuit, after about 4-5h of intense sailing I always cramp up when water starting... either in my calf or my hamstring.

I've heard that drinking a lot of water and eating salt helps. Do any of you do anything particular to avoid cramping up?



COACHG 25th April 2010 01:25 PM

I’ve been a coach now for 30 years and I’ve yet to see scientific proof as to the cause of cramps. There have been lots of studies and plenty of theory backed by studies, but no actual physical proof that I have seen. If there was, I guarantee you the professional teams would be all over it.

Here are some of the causes of cramps that I have seen over the years.

1. People with higher fast twitch muscle fibers tend to be more susceptible to cramps. What I mean is that people that are genetically predisposed to be sprinters are far more likely to get cramps then people who are genetically predisposed to be distance runners.
2. Conditioning. People who are out of shape are far more likely to get cramps, especially when doing extreme exercising.

3. Tight fitting clothing, wet suits or spandex appears to increase the risk of cramps.

4. Heat. Muscle cramps appear far more often on hot days.

5. Hydration. Caused by #1. It’s not just hydration, but what you hydrate with. Soda’s lead to cramps.

You need to get in better shape if you are going to do 4-5 hour sessions overpowered. You may need to take more breaks and drink more water or gatorade type drinks.


Farlo 25th April 2010 03:10 PM

Hi Agrelon, your body just tells you it's time to go back home. 4/5 hours overpowered is enough for a session. If you fix the cramp issue it will tell you another, maybe less friendly, way. If you need to sail more than five hours in a row, for instance in a long distance event, bring food and beverage with you and moreover try to be "just" well powered. Only a few heroes can keep up overpowered and hope to finish.

Personally I don't suffer cramps too much but rather a kind of fever with pain everywhere. Two such days and I don't like WS anymore... till the next weekend.

agrelon 25th April 2010 05:42 PM

Thanks for your answers. I think the tight fitting clothing is definitely a big one, I generally get cramps when I wear a wetsuit. I've only got one sail for the moment, a 5.8m and so I'm overpowered occasionally and have nothing to rig up instead. Was sailing with the Futura 93l in 25-40 knots but also with huge lulls, it was pretty ridiculous, hardest chop I've ever experienced, mast high swells, but at least I was back on my board.

Got a couple of cramp spasms again whilst water starting (kicking with my legs) but thankfully they didn't lock up.

Roger 25th April 2010 09:30 PM

Hi Agrelon,
Get lots of potassium!
Bananas, potassium drinks and supplements, gelatin pills.
All of these have helped me over the years.

mark h 26th April 2010 02:57 AM

I'm with Roger, potassium shifts the build up of lactic acid. Bananas, eat plenty of them before and during a long session:)

IRL-250 26th April 2010 04:56 AM

I use High 5 energy products

I used to suffer alot from cramps myself, mainly in my Fore Arms and i hardly ever suffer cramps any more since using these. I use either the 2:1 (A high carbohydrate drink mix) or 4:1 (contains 4 parts carbohydrate to 1 part protein and contains our unique High Electrolyte Anti Cramping formula , which is designed to maximise fluid uptake and minimise the onset of cramp).

I also use the ZERO tablets which is the new electrolyte sport drink tablet from High5 with either of the two products i mentioned above. It is designed for use before, during and after exercise. One tablet dropped into 500ml of water produces a delicious, refreshing, zero-sugar, low-carb, anti-cramp electrolyte drink with added magnesium.

You can either get them online or at any cycling shop

Unregistered 27th April 2010 05:26 PM

pound back some redbull
the added bonus is that you can stay up later that evening, for a good pisser in the pub.

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