Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Exercise Induced Muscle Cramps

Welcome to the "World of Exercise"......................

Believe it or not when we exercise we start to realise that we may have just more than 1 or 2 muscles in our body.  But when we exert ourselves a little harder then normal we discover the agonising pain of Cramps.

Cramps are a frustrating problem to us in the sports and physical activity world and commonly occur even in the fittest of athletes.  They mostly come during the height of competition, immediately after (whilst driving home in the car) or even at night in deep sleep.  There is no definite cause of cramp and there are a lot of reasons that can cause cramping, as well as there be little known prevention to cramping.  On a more serious not muscle cramping can be the result of rare medical conditions, however more are exercise-induced or associated.

Types of Exercise Associated Muscle Cramps EAMC

  • Fatigue Associated Cramp
    • Biological process- excitation of the muscle spindle & inhibition of the Golgi tendon organ. 
    • Localized to the over worked muscle
    • Risks factors
      • Age
      • Poor Stretching habits
      • Cramping History
      • Excessive exercise intensity & duration
    • Treatment
      • Rest
      • Passive Stretching of the effected muscle/group
      • Holding the muscle in a stretched position until muscle activation is relieved
  • Exercise Associated Cramp
    • Electrolyte deficits
      • When the athlete has been sweating extensively and have significant sodium and chloride disturbances
      • This usually starts in a small localized muscle and leads to muscle spasms, mainly starting in the legs at first.
    • Treatment 
      •  Ingestion of high-salt solution (3g in 500ml of sodium electrolyte beverage every 5-10min), this is after exercise measurements
      • Massage
      • Ice application can help to reduce swelling of effected muscle and relieve pain
      • Re-hydration 
  • To prevent EAMC's
    • Athlete to be well conditioned, to reduce muscle fatigue
    • Regularly stretch the muscle groups prone to cramp
    • Maintain hydration and electrolyte levels, carb stores before/after and during exercise that is  over 1hr
    • Reduce the intensity of exercise and duration if necessary  Key factor to training****

*****  Having the right Training program, balanced to your ability and also the time of the season or timing to you Target event.  At Paradise Tri we manage and plan your training to target this and eliminate  risks of injury (Cramps) and train your body to be ready for that start line.*********

CONTACT US ................

Friday, 27 April 2012

Improving your Freestyle

Over the past 6 months I have come across many varied different strokes of "Freestyle" "Frontcrawl".  I have worked with and coached different level ability of swimmers from "Learn 2 Swim" all the way up to Regional County Swimmers.  However no matter what the level is of the swimmer, everyone could do with working on Technique and Drills to improve their efficiency.

Here is what I have dubbed as "Select Six"
  1. Kick, Kick, Kick !!!        The world's best freestylers are some of the world's best kickers.
  2. Pacing                              
      • Work on even pacing for endurance training, or even having a faster 2nd half on training repeats.  
  3. Technique
      • ALWAYS important.  However tired you may be, remember swimming is a resistance sport .... the less you create the faster you will be.
        • Body Position        Maintain a streamlined body position for as long as possible, keep it tight and "Long & Strong"
        • High Elbow Recovery    Keep a high elbow, this will allow you fully extend into the front of your stroke and to position your hand correctly for entry between the line of the head and the shoulder.
        • Drive Phase     Through the Drive Phase of the arm action, keep the hands under the body, trying to use the forearm a s much as possible as an extension of the hand.
        • Head in line      Look to keep the head in line with the spine in a neutral position throughout the stroke.  Even on the breath stroke keep the rotation in line with the spine.
        • Breathing         Breath air out when face is in the water so that when you turn the head to breath you can use the time solely for taking more air in   
        • Kick     A constant leg kick will provide the body with great balance for  more powerful stroke.
  4. Stroke Count
        • Count per length to keep track of how efficient you are.  Over time see if you can reduce the number of strokes you do each lap down, whilst maintaining or improving your time.
  5. Maximise the walls
        • When swimming laps in a pool, try to come off the wall quickly and streamlined.  Throughout your lap there is no other time that you are more streamlined than when pushing off from the wall.  So touch the wall and turn as quick as possible, not to break your breathing rhythm up and stop.  Once pushed off from the wall hold a good streamlined position and start to kick then as you surface the water do not take your first breath till you have done at least 2 strokes.
  6. Breath Both Sides
        • Whilst racing many swimmers have a "favourite" side on which to breathe, in training it is a good to breathe to both sides in order to keep your stroke balanced.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Taking part in Triathlons, HAVE A TRAINING PLAN

I have now been involved in Triathlons for 20 yrs now and seen and met a lot of different aged and ability athletes out, however one thing in common for all athletes is having structure to their training. I've seen far too many athletes trying to complete their first triathlon or improve their performance by simply following an 'ad hoc' approach to their training.  

Here are the major problems I've witnessed first hand that you will need to overcome:
1.  Despite your best intentions, you may lose the motivation to train and never start that first triathlon, let alone finish it.
2.  You will struggle to fit your training into your already busy life.  Job, family and other commitments all compete with your valuable free time and 99% of the time it will be your training session that will be sacrificed.
3.  You will under-train for your weakest event.  Everyone has a weak link and human nature dictates that if left to make the decision of "what type of training should I do today" more often than not you will train for the event you enjoy.
4.  You will overtrain.  I mean two things by this.  First you may literally overtrain - that is, not give your body enough time to recover, burn yourself out or injure yourself.  But second, and equally dangerous in my opinion, is that you will spend more time training than you are required to.  You must do the precise amount of training that will improve your performance and not a minute more.  Anything more than this is simply wasting your time; time which could be spent with your family or friends.
A Structured Training Plan Will Help You go from being a COMPLETER to a COMPETER  
Following a training plan has been proven time and again to dramatically reduce these dangers.
More importantly, you are committed to "Training Smart".
Set Your Goals and Commit to Them
The first thing to ask yourself is what are you trying to achieve?  This will obviously depend to an extent where you currently are in terms of physical fitness. It's better to start small (with, for example, a Sprint Triathlon or an 'easy' Olympic distance) and your goal should be both challenging and realistic.
You must be passionate about your goal - without the passion you will not be willing to push yourself that extra mile in training or get out of bed to train when its still dark outside.  Write your goal down.  Once you have your goal you have a target to focus your training plan design on. 

PARADISE TRIATHLON TRAINING can help you set out these Targets / Goals and make sure your on the right track to be safe and injury free.  Contact us...........