Functional cramps take more work. They usually strike the big muscles (the quads, hamstrings and calves are common victims), and they can stop you dead in your tracks. Metzl offers several prehab and strength-building techniques that can help you prevent them, allowing you to perform your activity with more confidence.
LEARN MORE: Training Tips: How to Deal with Muscle Cramps
When a cramp strikes during a game or practice, most people chalk it up to inadequate hydration or lack of electrolytes. That is often the case. According to Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine doc and author of The Athlete's Book of Home Remedies, such "nutritional cramps" account for 85 percent of all incidents. The remaining 15 percent are due to muscle weakness, inflexibility or overuse. These are called "functional cramps."
Metzl explains—and offers tips on how to avoid—both kinds of cramps in a new post
on DICK's Sporting Goods' "453 and a Half
" blog. He says that understanding which type of cramp you are prone to is an important step in avoiding future issues. If you are experiencing nutritional cramps, you might be able to prevent them simply by increasing your water intake 24 hours before activity. Or you could try upping your sodium levels with pretzels or dill pickles
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