Muscles locking during swim

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Valgarv, Apr 25, 2008.

  1. Valgarv

    Valgarv Guest

    First thing: I know this is caused by over training so don't bother telling me that.

    Background: I've been training again for about a month and have wanted to introduce swimming into my training for years. Two days ago I did an intense sprint session (2.5 miles) so I decided to make yesterday my first swim day. After flopping around in the pool for about 150-200 meters both my calves locked up on me and there was no way I could continue. Today I can barely move due to the pain in my left calve.

    Situation: I was hoping to swim 500-1500 meters on days when I need more time to recover before running. The swim technique I'm trying to use is freestyle. I thought swimming would be hard on the arms and thighs... calves never really crossed my mind but I don't know how to swim so that doesn't surprise me.

    Is this swimming a bad choice for recovery from running?
    Should I try to use a different swim technique?
     
  2. BayAreaGuy

    BayAreaGuy Good Day

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    1. Did you loosten your body properly before swimming?

    2. Did you warm up before swimming?

    3. Is the water really cold or something?




    Or maybe when you swim you put a lot of emphasis on your calves. Try loostening your calves before swimming (without stretching, rotate your foot) and if that doesn't work try a different form if possible.


    Long time ago my calves used to start hurting and then get really sore after, and that was because of overstretching before running, I've since done dynamic stretching before any workout and found it's a lot better than static stretching- static stretching after the workout.


    best of luck
     
  3. BayAreaGuy

    BayAreaGuy Good Day

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    btw, what do you mean by "recover before running"?



    Also you say "I thought swimming would be hard on the arms and thighs."

    Whenever I swim I've never really noticed anything on my calves. Calves should be used just to keep your feet straigth so you can push the water- you should be using your arms to basically pull yourself (when they're infront of you) and then push your body (when your arms are at your sides)- keep your hands in a cup shape. Your thighs should be doing a similar motion as running to push your body forward.


    hope that helps at all


    cheers
     
  4. liquid!

    liquid! mens rea

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    Your calf probably cramped because it was fatigued and swimming was novel stimuli. The only cramps typical to swimming are abzors and bottom of the foot.

    Try some eggbeaters with your hands out of the water. Great for your hips. Maybe 1min on/ 30rest x5

    If you want to make it a more strenuous workout try to hold an object (diving brick) just above the surface of the water.


    This video is elementary, but she explains eggbeaters.
    <object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/GvAd3s5869Y&hl=en"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/GvAd3s5869Y&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

    This is way more than you'd ever want to know about eggbeaters.
    <object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/AVCGUTRFc2o&hl=en"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/AVCGUTRFc2o&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

    Mix some breaststroke and bust out the kickboard too.
     
  5. Valgarv

    Valgarv Guest

    1. I thought so but I targeted my arms mostly.
    2. Dynamic stretching is usually my warm up before exercising.
    3. It didn't seem unusually cold or anything but I wouldn't really know since I don't normally swim.

    Sounds like you've read Stretching Scientifically. That book completely changed my pre and post workout routines overnight.

    After running hard sprints I have to take at least one day off before running, riding and most other forms of cardio. I was thinking I might be able to use swimming to train during that recovery period.
     
  6. Valgarv

    Valgarv Guest

    Eggbeaters look like they take a lot of coordination to pull off. I didn't know there were three different ways to tread water. That's going to take some practice. I'm sure i'll be providing some entertainment for people at the pool.

    Squats, Deads and Cleans are core for S&P.
    What are the core techniques to focus on for swimming?
     
  7. fufu

    fufu White Belt

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    It very well may not be from overtraining.

    It could be some of the following -
    improper warm up
    imbalance of electrolytes
    knotting of fascia tissue

    Have you looked into foam rolling before(myofascial release therapy) ? I used to have the same problem while swimming. I also used to get very painful calve cramps in the middle of the night. I've been foam rolling for a couple years now and I haven't had one since.
     
  8. Sean.

    Sean. Purple Belt

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    Have someone who has swam competitively watch you swim and have them give you pointers on what you are doing wrong. Its almost impossible to tell you why you are cramping without seeing what you are doing, much in the same way its hard to tell someone their technique on a lift is wrong without seeing them do it. All I can tell you is to hydrate yourself more and stretch your calves specifically before swimming, and the bulk of your power in swimming comes from your core. Abs, obliques, lower back etc. are where true speed and strength come from, its why you will never see a decent competitive swimmer with anything less than a 6-pack.

    Overall I'd just say take your time with it, just because you can run 15 miles or lift for hours on end doesn't mean you will be able to swim well. 200 yards or so is fine, just don't try and muscle your way through the water.
     
  9. JinKazama

    JinKazama Red Belt

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    did u eat before getting in the water?

    i know its an old adage and it might not apply in this situation but its something to think about
     
  10. ahheadlock

    ahheadlock God**** Sexual Tyrannosaurus

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    Aside from all the rest of considerations like warming up and proper hydration and so forth... how good is your technique? You really need to spend some time getting it right when you first start swimming.

    When i first started swimming it used to thrash my legs because i was putting all this effort into kicking. It wasn't until later on with a few friendly pointers from my fellow pool dwellers that i realized that your legs should almost just be trailing behind you, with short and gentle kicks. Your core and upper body does most of the work and you should try and stay as relaxed as possible in between pulls. Also another mistake i made, is that my legs would drag and sink and then tend to do more work than they should. A good way someone told me to correct this was to 'swim downhill'. Stick a foam pad in between your thighs for buoyancy and do a couple laps and you'll see how much better it feels.

    Take that with a grain of salt cause i'm far from an excellant swimmer, i'm just saying what has helped me improve. If anyone can correct me, please do - the more i can learn the better.
     
  11. thepedestrian

    thepedestrian White Belt

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    Anyways, I recommend using a pull boy - it basically isolated your legs from moving. Use just your upper body if you want to give your legs a rest and don't kick at all. I swam competitively and I'd say that's your best bet if you want to give your legs a rest...

    If you're doing short distance sprints in the pool eventually you'll want to use your legs - their crucial, but for long distances you'll want to use them a lot less...
     
  12. liquid!

    liquid! mens rea

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    Valgrav. From your first post it sounds like your goals for swimming are recovery and improved stroke familiarity/technique, not an intense cardio session. Correct?

    If you looking to recover from running, you wouldn
     
  13. liquid!

    liquid! mens rea

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    This is a great little site I found for swim workouts:

    50 swim workouts

    Most of the workouts on the frontpage are too long for begineers so check out:

    Lunchtime swim workouts
    Intro to Swim Workouts
    0to1650

    Notice all swimming workouts consist of broken sets, ladders, pyramids, etc...

    Please don't go to the pool and "swim laps." If you always swim like your driving a bus through the pool (beep, beep coming thru...really slow), the second you give it any throttle your stroke will fall apart and you'll gas. Sorry / rant : )
     
  14. foofie

    foofie Yellow Belt

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    The reason is simple I think , it is an unnatural movement and its normal ( swimmers always have this problem in the beggining ) that their calves "lock up" ( english is not my language so Im not sure I mean the right thing , by lock up you mean that you get this ... pain in your calve and cant really move it , right ? its not really pain its , just like you need to rest a second and and cant move it , need to stretch it to normal position , right ? )

    Its not a nice feeling in water , but ... it will get better , for me the main reason for it is , when I swim , trying to bend the knees as least as I can . Everything you say seems to be normal , it will get better with time , but the pain in 1 day after ? Is it like a normal overtrain pain ?
     
  15. Valgarv

    Valgarv Guest

    liquid!, you got it. My intention is to use swimming as a form of active recovery from training.

    Ruth Kazez' Adult Learner seems appropriate for where I'm at. I'll focus on learning the Freestyle and Backstroke for 100-400 meters as well as the 3 treading water techniques.

    foofie, what I mean by locking up is an uncontrollable contraction of the muscle that results in self damage. More commonly called a cramp.
     

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