My calf muscles cramp when I do speed play or jumping jack intervals that last more than 30 seconds. How can I alleviate these cramps and what can I do to prevent them?
Many people unconsciously engage in abnormal foot motion, or hyperpronation, by walking on their instep or rolling their feet; this places a constant strain on the calf muscles to compensate. If this is something you are doing, the added stress from spinning and from doing plyometrics could cause the discomfort. When spinning, try to keep your feet aligned with your ankles at all times. You want your foot to be flat across the bottom of the pedal stroke and your ankle to remain fairly stiff. Think of how your foot would be in a downhill ski boot. This will prevent any rocking motion you may be doing with your foot and ankle. When doing jumping jacks or other hi-impact moves, be sure and land with soft knees and not locked knees or other joints. Keep your knees just slightly bent or loose. Make sure you keep most of the work in the upper leg and don’t tighten your toes! Also be sure that you hydrate – drink lots of water during class!!
If these suggestions don’t work, it may be that you just need to acclimate to the routines and movement. Your muscles will get stronger. Exercise is a learned skill, so it takes time for your body to be fully able to do the routines. Until then, take a break when you need it and jump back in as soon as you can.