Okay a stretching question!

  • Kazeai84

    Posts: 10

    Dec 08, 2007 4:51 AM GMT
    Okay here's my issue, whenever I go jogging I can only get in about 7 minutes before my calves start cramping up. They always cramp up, even when I stretch for 10 minutes, or maybe I'm stretching wrong? I'm a kinda short stocky guy, with very muscular calves, so I'm sure if it's my body type? I just wanted to get some perspective from you guys....
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    Dec 08, 2007 9:46 PM GMT
    Could the cramping be physiological...as in, not enough potassium in your system? Just a thought.
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    Dec 08, 2007 10:30 PM GMT
    It may also have something to do with your running form. Toe runners oftentimes get cramps due to over exerting the calves.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Dec 12, 2007 1:06 AM GMT
    SDtrainer is probably right...
    your calves or your gastrocs are fatiguing which is why they're cramping up
    Look on the web for calf stretches...make sure that you stretch them out prior to a run
    also when you run try to make sure that you're running in a heel toe pattern and not placing all your weight on your front part of the foot
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    Dec 30, 2007 3:23 AM GMT
    All the above is good advice. Remember that if you are planning on adding stretching prior to your run, you MUST warm up your muscles before you do so. Any sort of rhythmic limbering or repetitious large-muscle activity will do. 5 minutes at least.

    Also, consider that the concept of a "tight" muscle has to come from somewhere. Muscles are not tight by osmosis or alignment of the stars. Muscles that are "tight" are such because they are often contracted to maintain stability and integrity to the area to which they attach.

    If the body perceives that a limb or joint needs stability, the motor cortex sends efferent stimuli for the muscles of this region to contract in order to increase stability to the area. If your ankle is an unstable one, you might be suffering from an oft-contracted gastrocnemius, in which case, when placed under strain of running, could lock up altogether. It would do this resulting from the "stretch reflex," where a muscle's nerves sense that is being stretched beyond a typically tolerable range. If the muscle has become accustomed to always being contracted, the eccentricity, or release of that contraction is going to feel like an over-stretch, and the muscle will contract deeply in response to the reflex in the Golgi tendon organs of the muscle's tendons. Enter your muscle cramp.

    I know that's a lot of science, but hopefully it made sense.

    How do you solve it? Not necessarily just by stretching. Obviously this is going to help, but remember that if the muscle is programmed not to stretch, stretching it isn't necessarily going to solve the problem. The muscle is contracted in response to a perceived weakness. So if you can strengthen the area the calves control, as well as the calves themselves, stability will be increased, and muscle tension will decrease. I recommend ankle strengthening exercises, calf raises, and GENTLE stretching.

  • Artesin

    Posts: 482

    Dec 30, 2007 4:27 AM GMT
    I have issues of tight calves caused by walking on the balls of my feet, whenever Im shoeless, from when I was 5 to now, not even realising it. To fix it my mom, who is a massage therapist, advised drawing the alphabet in the air with your toes while sitting down and your legs stretched out infront of you so that your body makes a 90 degree angle. So far it seems to be helping but you can also stand on the edge of a stair with the balls of your feet and let your heels drop down.