I'm a triathlete and tend to get some pretty nasty calf & leg cramps from swimming, especially on longer swims. From reading the forums it looks like I should bend/relax my knees more. Maybe it just takes me longer for the blood to move from my swimming muscles to my legs? It's frustrating because it takes a while for the cramps to subside and my then my competition is too far ahead on the bike to catch. I eat 2 banans a day, strech, and drink tonic water. Any suggestions would be great.
Sometime, the transition from water to land and especially vice versa will cause cramps for no apparent reason. Your broad scope answers include things like hydration, electrolytes, and stretching. After that, sometimes it feels like dumb luck... like you've covered your bases and still get the cramps. Bananas are great, but won't make you immune. Be consistent with the above items, and hopefully, you will get them less frequently.
I used to get these too, tried everything but nothing worked. Then a physiologist suggested that simple exhaustion / overuse is the main cause of cramps.
They only happened to me during sprints at masters practice, when I use the legs a lot. During a race I barely kick at all to save energy so I never had a problem. Perhaps you need to 1) swim more often, 2)do strength training for those muscles, and 3) learn to swim with a 2 beat kick for races.
I am guessing that you are not a swimmer but rather a runner or biker. I usually fine that when I train triathletes they can run and bike but have difficulty swimming. When they try to swim they over emphasize the use of the muscles and this causes cramping. When you kick there is a power phase and a recovery phase to a kick sequence. The kick originates at the hip and has a downward snap to the kick. The leg is then relaxed which allows you to recover raising the leg to the starting position. There is a knee bend to the kick. More than likely you are keeping your leg tensed throughout the kick and the constant tension is causing the cramping. Of course check your potassium, hydrate, etc. and if this is not happening with any of the other exercising you are doing then I would believe that its what I previously stated.
After I posted last night I was getting ready for bed and stretched pointing my toes. Imagine this, my one calf started to feel like it was going to cramp. I am betting that while you are swimming you may be continually pointing your feet/toes. This is going to tighten your calves. In swimming we teach floppy ankles so your muscles stay relaxed. When I teach adults I often have them use swim fins. It gives additional power, helps you feel the stroke, and with the form of the fin it will allow you to develop a better kick. Hope this offers some help
Calf cramps are among the most painful types of cramps. They can come on suddenly and without warning. Considered a skeletal muscle that can be voluntarily controlled, the calf is among the most common muscles to cramp. A cramp is described as a sudden and involuntary contraction affecting one or more muscles. There are many different causes of calf cramps, but the good news is there are steps you can take to help prevent them from occurring, as well as recommended treatments if a cramp does occur.
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