Leg cramps: beginners guide

Leg cramps: beginners guide

Sometimes while swimming you might feel a muscle cramp in one of your legs. A cramp is a sudden, involuntary muscle contraction or over-shortening; while generally temporary and non-damaging, they can cause mild-to-excruciating pain.

So how to prevent cramp and why do you get them?

There are many reason. Here are most popular ones:

  1. Because you just started using muscle you never used before and you have an unnecessary tension in them. It happens often in breaststroke, while you are performing leg kicks and your legs are too tense. Here is a link to some exercises you might find helpful http://lifeasaninvestment.com/2015/10/15/dry-land-exercises-for-swimmers-breaststroke/
  2. You need to drink more water during the swimming session. We give our students a water bottle with our logo at the start of every new course. Do not be shy to use them at the class. Drink water.
  3. Water in the pool is too cold. If you are not familiar being in the pool where water is colder than the usual water temperature, you might have a crap, because you feel cold. That is why we have a warming up time in the pool. Be active, move more to feel warmer.
  4. Kick from the core. We already highlighted at the class that all movements we are doing are coming from the core. Kick from the core, not your bottom.
  5. Lack of vitamins in your body. This rare condition can cause cramps. Multivitamins dose per day with a glass of water might help in a long term perspective.

How to handle a cramp?

Outside of the pool.
Stretching exercises are commonly advised. However, there is a lack of good research evidence to prove that they work. One research study concluded that stretching exercises did reduce the number and severity of cramps; however, another study did not confirm this. Nevertheless, many doctors feel that regular calf stretching does help. So, as it may help, it is worth trying if you are able to do the exercises.

Go out of the pool and come to the wall and:

Good luck!



Help your body to develop muscles so the muscles will help you to swim longer and faster.

Together with Life as an Investment we prepared a wonderful set of dryland exercises for crawl swimmers. It is a selection of exercises from Swimming Anatomy book by Ian McLeod. All of them you can do at home with just a little use of equipment or without equipment at all.

We start with


swimming school stockholm swimming school swimming dry land exercises  photoClose grip push up


  1. Facedown, slide both hands under your chest so that your thumbs touch along the midline of your body at nipple level. Your toes support your lower body.
  2. Holding your body in a straight line from your ankles to the top of your head, push your upper body upward until the elbows are almost locked.
  3. Lower your body until your chest is 2.5 cm off the ground.

Be careful if you already have pain in the shoulder joint and avoid dropping too far into the ending position.

A common mistake is to take the head out of line with the rest of the spine, which will lead to either arching of the back or dropping the hips to the ground.

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