General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming Rss Feed  
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2018-05-20 2:13 PM

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24

Kingston Upon Thames, England
Subject: Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming
I swam 4kms this morning, I drank a glass of water before. My swim was in a lake with a 1km loop, water temperature was 17.5C quite nippy. My full wetsuit on, I cramped 5 times all servere, one occasion I had to swim to shore to wait for pain to go..

Does anyone have any tips, do I need to drink lots of electrolights before a swim? Or is it muscle stretching? I have my Compex Muscle Stimulator arriving tomorrow, will this help? Is this my technique? I never have had cramp running or cycling.

Cramp has happened in the pool & open swim.....I'm really confused why this is happening usually after about 1700-2000m
Cramp is annoying and extremely painful, I have an Ironman in France in 1 months time, last thing I want is cramp!



2018-05-20 2:37 PM
in reply to: mortirolo

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Subject: RE: Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming
One of the things to look for is how hydration was the two days leading up to the swim. Hydrating just before the swim is often times too late.
2018-05-20 4:02 PM
in reply to: #5243488

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24

Kingston Upon Thames, England
Subject: RE: Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming
Ok, I never thought about that, good point. Will track my hydration leading up to swim.
2018-05-20 5:18 PM
in reply to: mortirolo

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McAlester, Oklahoma
Subject: RE: Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming

Originally posted by mortirolo Ok, I never thought about that, good point. Will track my hydration leading up to swim.

I have done 4 open water swim races.  I cramped very sevely in the first three.  The 4th one I made hydration my #1 priority the week of the race.  I also went from a Medium Long wet suit to a Large wet suit.  I don't know if either made the difference but cramping is a big problem form me on races with open water swims.  My wetsuit may have been too tight causing the cramps, I may swim harder on race days, etc.  I think Hydration will be a big goal of mine on race mornings (and the days leading up in the future).  

2018-05-21 1:18 PM
in reply to: mortirolo

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Subject: RE: Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming
Also consider the sighting that's require in open water more than in the pool.
Sighting requires extra strain on the legs to keep kicking and moving as you move your head up and arch to sight to the next landmark. A lot of people forget about that going from pool workouts to open water.

Practice sighting more in the pool.

I also use Hot Shot as I cramp up due to exercise induced cramps. Doesn't matte the level of hydration, electrolytes, etc, some people have a propensity to cramp after intense or long periods of exercise.

https://amzn.to/2s1Uj8D
2018-05-22 2:32 AM
in reply to: mortirolo

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24

Kingston Upon Thames, England
Subject: RE: Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming
I've been loading up water last 2 days, with salt in my dinner which I usually don't use. My swim is tomorrow early morning will be 2.5km in open water with a wetsuit, let's see........been based in the UK I purchased a starter kit from these guys and plan to do a hydration test, the owner said to me that he's just come back from the US and now has distributors there. If go to the website and go through the free online test, but obviously the "real test" will be accurate. He told me that High5, PowerBar etc electrolyte tabs are no good...well he wants to sell his products I guess!!! https://www.precisionhydration.com/



2018-05-22 3:05 AM
in reply to: 0

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24

Kingston Upon Thames, England
Subject: RE: Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming
Hi, that's an interesting observation, I noticed my hamstrings have been hurting since that swim and calfs, since open water I notice I'm looking up more watching out for buoys and other swimmers. maybe that could be the cause, straining muscle combinations I'm not use to. My final 4 weeks before France Ironman is open water training only, with wetsuit.

My Compex Stimulator arrives today or tomorrow, which has a Cramp Prevention mode, not sure it will help!, hope so!

Edited by mortirolo 2018-05-22 3:07 AM
2018-05-23 4:44 AM
in reply to: mortirolo

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24

Kingston Upon Thames, England
Subject: RE: Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming
Well I didn't cramp today after a nice open swim this morning 2.5km

Though I could feel my muscles tightening up a little around 2K mark, but no cramp. I had a 500ml electrolyte drink about an hour before my swim, last 2 days I made sure I was drinking plenty of water.

A friend said that you can buy PowerBar Magnesium shots that will elevate muscle tension before training or a race, I might try some.

2018-05-25 5:03 PM
in reply to: mortirolo

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18

Sarasota, Florida
Subject: RE: Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming
I’m sure you’ll find excellent advice on this forum about preventing cramps with proper nutrition and hydration. My field of expertise is helping you shorten the duration of the cramp and then stretching without injuring the musce fibers.
The muscles of your calf pull up on your heel so you can stand on your toes. You repetitively use these muscles when you are doing any of the three triathlete sports. As you swim your calf muscles are contracted the entire time.

Muscles have an “all-or-nothing” response. The muscle fibers will contract 100%, or they won’t contract at all. The difference is when you’re doing an intentional movement, only the right percentage of muscle fibers are going to contract 100%. However, during a cramp 100% of the fibers are contracting 100% in rapid order.

Too many athletes immediately try to stretch the muscle to stop the cramp. A muscle isn’t going to stop in the middle of a contraction and make a U-turn. So, the muscle is pulling one way and you are stretching in the opposite direction. The muscle fibers may tear and you’ll either hurt, or limp, for a few days. It’s best to help the muscle finish the contraction a quickly as possible and then treat the fibers so they aren’t injured. Then it’s safe to stretch your calf.

To help the muscle finish the contraction as quickly as possible, grab both ends of your calf and push them together. This will hurt, but the cramp is hurting already and this at least speeds up the process. When the muscle fibers are finished contracting, hold the push for about 15 seconds more and take in several deep breaths. Release and repeat the movement. The second time won’t hurt, you’re only doing it to make sure all fibers have completed the contraction.

Next, squeeze your calf like you’re wringing out a wet beach towel. This will feel good, and it’s forcing out hydrogen ions (H+) that formed during the cramp, plus it’s drawing in blood to heal the muscle fibers. After you complete this movement you are safe to stretch without injuring the muscle fibers.

Wishing you well,
Julie

YOU are your own Best Therapist! Visit www.FlexibleAthlete.com and www.Julstro.com for logical explanations and advise about tight muscles and sports injuries.
2018-05-28 11:25 PM
in reply to: FlexibleAthlete

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Subject: RE: Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming
How's your kick? Just curious. I have a weak kick... which is non-existent in a wetsuit. I wonder if lack of blood flow could cause a cramp?
2018-05-29 3:40 AM
in reply to: pistuo

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24

Kingston Upon Thames, England
Subject: RE: Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming
Originally posted by pistuo

How's your kick? Just curious. I have a weak kick... which is non-existent in a wetsuit. I wonder if lack of blood flow could cause a cramp?



Hi, I would say my kick is normal sort've average speed in the pool & I still kick in open water but not as much.


2018-05-30 5:37 AM
in reply to: FlexibleAthlete

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24

Kingston Upon Thames, England
Subject: RE: Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming
Originally posted by FlexibleAthlete


To help the muscle finish the contraction as quickly as possible, grab both ends of your calf and push them together. This will hurt, but the cramp is hurting already and this at least speeds up the process. When the muscle fibers are finished contracting, hold the push for about 15 seconds more and take in several deep breaths. Release and repeat the movement. The second time won’t hurt, you’re only doing it to make sure all fibers have completed the contraction.

Next, squeeze your calf like you’re wringing out a wet beach towel. This will feel good, and it’s forcing out hydrogen ions (H+) that formed during the cramp, plus it’s drawing in blood to heal the muscle fibers. After you complete this movement you are safe to stretch without injuring the muscle fibers.

Wishing you well,
Julie

YOU are your own Best Therapist! Visit www.FlexibleAthlete.com and www.Julstro.com for logical explanations and advise about tight muscles and sports injuries.



Thanks I will try these exercises. Last night I used my Compex Muscle Stimulator in "Cramp Prevention" mode, after 40minutes my calfs loosened up and felt fantastic. I went for a 2,500m swim this morning no cramp. I think the importance of stretching properly and hydration is the key to prevent cramp. And my Compex system hopefully will help here!
2018-06-02 8:01 PM
in reply to: #5243488

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Subject: RE: Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming
I used to cramp a lot when I started Tri. Did extensive research and found that the only scientifically proven way to reduce cramps is to ensure your electrolytes are well balanced before you start your workout. Whatever you take on the day itself or even the day before will have minimal impact. Salt/electrolyte have not shown any preventive effect in trials. But for some it may reduce the severity of the cramps. So what most of us benefit from is to ensure proper daily intake of magnesium and calcium. Potassium and sodium you will typically get more than enough of through your food. There are plenty of sources for magnesium and calcium, Google and I'm sure you'll find some you like. Personally I try to take minimum a banana and a glass of milk a day.

If you are new to long distance training, it is also likely that cramping will reduce when you get fitter.
2018-06-03 4:52 PM
in reply to: mortirolo

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18

Sarasota, Florida
Subject: RE: Cramp in the calf's whilst swimming
Great! I believe that the fact that you worked out the tension in the muscles, and then swam without a cramp, is saying a lot. When you are going down your muscles, press in deeply to find the spasms that are way below the surface. If you can slide on the skin while you're pressing, you aren't pressing deeply enough. To get to the very deepest muscle fibers, it should be difficult, if not impossible, to slide without letting up on the pressure. As you find a spasm, stay on it for around 30 seconds. Then let up on the pressure for 5-10 seconds, and then press in again for another 30 seconds. You may need to repeat this sequence again if the spasm is really tight.

After you release the spasms you'll be able to safely stretch your calf muscles. To stretch your soleus muscle (deeper than the thick gastrocnemius muscle on the surface of your calf) you need to bend your knee as if you were trying to sit on your ankle (obviously impossible). If you go to my Instagram site (@JulstroMethod) you'll see a picture of doing the calf stretch that will demonstrate what I'm trying to explain.

Wishing you well,
Julie

YOU are your own Best Therapist! Visit www.FlexibleAthlete.com and www.JulstroMethod.com for logical solutions to questions about muscle and joint pain.
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