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It would be very surprising to find a single human alive who has never suffered from a twitching muscle. Here in the bodybuilding sphere, muscle twitches are a necessary and accepted part of life. They usually come on at the worst possible moments too. Sometimes a muscle twitch will visit when you are mid-competition and desperate to look your best… So what causes your muscles to twitch and, most importantly, how do you stop it? 

CrazyMass turned to the professionals for advice.

Why Do Our Muscles Twitch?

There are several reasons why your muscles might start to twitch. Most of these are harmless reasons but some may be the symptom of an underlying condition. A muscle twitch happens when the muscle beneath your skin involuntarily contracts and relaxes. You will feel it moving under your skin but will have no control over it. The scientific term for muscle twitching is ‘fasciculations’.

It is important to note that a muscle twitch is a short contraction of the nerves in the muscle that happens in seconds, but often repeatedly. A muscle spasm is something different and constitutes prolonged periods of agony as your muscles cramp. So what causes this twitching? 

Various diseases cause muscle twitches, such as Lupus, Isaac’s Syndrome, multiple sclerosis – and even a pinched spinal nerve. However, we are primarily looking at muscle twitching in bodybuilding, so let’s discount the terrible diseases and look at some of the more common causes. You may want to make sure you are getting enough calcium and magnesium in your supplements though, as both of these can cause twitching if the body is lacking them.

 

Probable Causes of Muscle Twitching in Bodybuilding

Some of the more common causes of muscle twitching are as follows:

  • Stress and Anxiety – when you are anxious your body responds by tightening up. The prolonged tightening of the muscles can make them twitch. 
  • Dehydration/Hunger – your muscles need plenty of water to operate a full function. Water also transports any toxins out of your system, so aim to drink at least 8 liters every day. If you are working hard in the gym your diet needs to be working harder, too.
  • Not Enough Sleep – if you don’t get enough sleep you are likely to twitch. Sleep has a direct impact on your neurotransmitters, which can behave strangely if overly stressed. Making sure you get enough sleep could solve your twitching crisis.
  • Too much Caffeine – too much caffeine is a cause we are all guilty of. Caffeine sends the muscles signals telling them that they ought to be doing something, even when you are sitting still. This can lead to muscle twitching, particularly if you are exerting stress on that muscle.
  • Over Exertion – working too hard is the number one reason that bodybuilders end up with muscle twitches. It can be any muscle, at any time… More often than not it happens in the middle of a competition when you are stressed out and tensed up.

If any of the above sound familiar to you then stick with us. In a moment we are going to discuss how you can solve each of these muscle twitching triggers naturally.

Muscular man with dumbbells

How To Solve Bodybuilder’s Muscle Twitch – Naturally!

Let’s start with the obvious things and move on to the harder ones later.

 

Sleep 

Protein Synthesis is the body’s way of turning all of that protein you have eaten through the day and turning it into new muscle tissues. This process can only occur when the body is asleep. If you aren’t getting a full eight hours every night then you should be. Doing this will solve any muscle twitching caused by sleep deprivation.

If you are struggling to sleep before a big competition then try a little Valerian tea, one hour before bedtime. It is naturally rich in antioxidants and will soothe you into sleep. A few drops of lavender on your pillow is another safe way to ensure a good night’s sleep.

 

Caffeine, Food, and Water

Dehydration is a killer. It is one of the most common health issues in sport. 8 liters should be your minimum intake on any given day. Drink more when you are hitting it hard. 

Caffeine helps you feel like you are getting a more intense workout but studies have shown this might not be the case. Coffee is good for cutting, but you still need to measure your calorie intake. One less cup of coffee won’t hurt and might even solve your twitching crisis.

Diet is an important part of any bodybuilder’s regime. It needs to be balanced with the correct range of nutrients. We would advise to hire a dietitian if going professional, and having them plan a specifically tailored diet that accommodates your needs. Also, if whey protein isn’t in your morning routine already, add it.

 

Stress and Anxiety

Competitions are fierce and you have every right to feel a little stressed out going into one. If you aren’t a bodybuilder but do suffer from stress and anxiety then these same rules apply:

Tighten every part of your body. Every. Single. Muscle. Hold it for a breath and then release it. Your twitching may not be gone but you will feel a fraction calmer. Repeat this as many times as you need to and the twitching will eventually go away.

 

Over Exertion

Holding a pose too long, putting too much work into one muscle, or muscle fatigue caused by working too hard can all cause muscle twitching. Relaxing won’t help it, either. Stretching it out will help a little, as will a warm or cold compress. We suggest that you try replacing some of your electrolytes lost through sweat. Do this with mineral water, by adding a little rock or natural salt to your water bottle, or by indulging in a specialized electrolyte drink.


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