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Sharpsburger
October 9th, 2009, 03:25 PM
Back in the pool about a month now, just bumped up my yardage in workouts. Now getting leg cramps (foot, calf, sometimes thigh) at about 2k yds.

I know I need to step up my hydration.

I also should be doing more stretching, but my stretching routine hasn't been designed for swimming. Can anyone recommend good stretches to work into my routine that will help prevent cramping?

Thanks -Sb

redstripe
October 9th, 2009, 03:46 PM
To prevent foot cramps, try crouching on your knees with your toes under your butt, stretched upward, so your butt is on your ankles and your toes stretch with the weight of your body. Like any kind of stretching, don't overdo it---just a couple reps of 10 seconds or so.

MatthewSwimmer
October 9th, 2009, 04:12 PM
Hi there:

I have the same issue(s). The calf muscles are generally more difficult to keep conditioned and well stretched. They are the farthest from the heart and tend to atrophy the quickist when not working out. Also, many swimmers do not have well developed calf muscles which can contribute to inadequate conditioning and cramping early in a workout. Stretching will help but you probably need to spend some time building up your calves. I would try the calf raise machine (cybex) or other brand at your local health club. Do this at least twice a week, 3 sets of 10 repititions. You don't need a ton of weight but it should be enough to work the calve muscles thoroughly. Good luck.

Matt

Sharpsburger
October 9th, 2009, 10:31 PM
Hi there:

I have the same issue(s). The calf muscles are generally more difficult to keep conditioned and well stretched. They are the farthest from the heart and tend to atrophy the quickist when not working out. Also, many swimmers do not have well developed calf muscles which can contribute to inadequate conditioning and cramping early in a workout. Stretching will help but you probably need to spend some time building up your calves. I would try the calf raise machine (cybex) or other brand at your local health club. Do this at least twice a week, 3 sets of 10 repititions. You don't need a ton of weight but it should be enough to work the calve muscles thoroughly. Good luck.

Matt

Well, I've been conditioning for a couple of years, including calf raises during lower body workouts (twice weekly) and cycling in good weather, so I don't think that's the problem.

I think it's more how legs are used in swimming versus how they're used in cycling, hiking, and strength training. It's not all the same. Nothing else requires you to hold your legs in the positions that swimming does, or to use them in the same way.

Allowing a build-up of workouts is one element. Hydration is another. But stretching is also important, and I think that's the missing link for me right now.

Sharpsburger
November 11th, 2009, 09:32 AM
Update: I've been using some stretches from Complete Conditioning for Swimming post-workout, and rarely have problems now. For the leg portion, I do the quad, hamstring, calf, ankle, and hip flexor stretches. Plus I try not to tense up my foot unnecessarily.

orca1946
November 11th, 2009, 03:59 PM
When at the gym or home, try to do 50 - 100 toe raises from a step or other raised level. This will make your calves stronger.

Sharpsburger
November 11th, 2009, 08:39 PM
When at the gym or home, try to do 50 - 100 toe raises from a step or other raised level. This will make your calves stronger.

I don't think calf strength is a factor for me. In fact, my calves are stronger than they've ever been. I work them pretty good in my dry-land workouts already. Stretching, hydration, and proper swimming technique seem to be the answers.

jmkregor
November 11th, 2009, 09:16 PM
I've noticed recently that I get calf cramps if I do a lot of pulling with the pull buoy at my ankles. I think it makes me point my toes in order to keep the buoy in place. I was doing it this way (instead of at my knees), to help with over all body rotation and not swim so "flat". But! if I pull a lot that way--bad calf cramps. I also don't think it's a strength issue with my calf muscles.

magick17
November 13th, 2009, 01:27 PM
i have the same issues..it starts in my feet and then the calves...