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Rec's for weak legs? calf cramps and kicking practice.

Discussion in 'New Divers & Those Considering Diving' started by Ladyvalea, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. Belce

    Belce Divemaster

    # of Dives:
    Location: Victoria, BC
    There are things that you do besides changing the flipper you use and practice swimming. You need to exercise the big leg muscles and also work to get them used to extended continuous usage. I think you would find that walking would help. Walking does work the needed muscles, 30 minutes or so for duration, and the effort is right as well.
  2. Ber Rabbit

    Ber Rabbit Floppy Ear Mod ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ohio
    We do an exercise called "pushing the wall" to practice flutter kick form and work the larger muscles.

    Instead of swimming laps wearing mask/fins/snorkel put your hands against the wall of the pool with fingers about 6 inches below the surface. Lay face down with arms extended and stiff then start swimming toward the wall, pretend you are pushing it. Keep your knees nearly locked as you kick, the only bend should be from the resistance of the water. The kick should originate at your hip, when you are doing it right your butt will wiggle back and forth. If you are in water that's about 3 feet deep try to extend the kick so your fin tip touches the bottom on the down stroke and the bottom of your foot touches the water surface on the upstroke. Your butt will REALLY wiggle on this one, reach for the bottom with your hip rather than your knee on the stroke. Pushing against the wall can give you enough leverage to arch your back and keep your butt and fins underwater. The nice thing about doing this into the wall is the ability to be stationary and focus on your form.
    Ber :lilbunny:
  3. diver 85

    diver 85 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: SW Louisiana
    My wife had sort of the same problem.......after her original Tusa (soft) fins of almost 20 years went out, I bought her another pair of stiffer ones & she started getting a few cramps.......Went back to a softer fin(in this case the Aeries Velocity Duo split fins) and they feel 'much better'......I would try a different 'softer' kind.....
  4. Bob Evans

    Bob Evans Contributor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Santa Barbara, California USA
    How about a pair of Force Fins?
  5. SkipperJohn

    SkipperJohn Captain

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Oceanside NY
    Having just completed this, my instructor had me sit atop the inflated BCD, put my hands in the arm-holes and slide down. It was as easy as falling.
    As for your weak legs, while I am not yet a diver I know a thing or two about body building. I think the best advice you got was stretching and the question about heals. Bottom line, if you want to strengthen your lower leg muscles get a good sneaker & jump rope making sure you spring off of and land on your toes. But keep them (& all muscles) stretched out. And remember, there really isn't any such thing as weak legs. They support your body weight and are therefore the strongest muscles you have (& this is where if I were talking to my GF I'd have to say except the jaw muscle (I hope she doesn't see this :wink: )).
  6. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    I see ScubaStaci already suggested increasing your potassium levels in addition to the exercises, etc., mentioned by others. I eat a banana each day I can.
  7. Blair Mott

    Blair Mott Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    For fitness swimming I recommend Slim fins slim_product or the Mulit Force Fin multi_force_product
    These fins are a great enrichment tool for fitness swimming and are recommend from swim instructors to build leg strength. For scuba diving I would recommend the Original Force Fin. Force Fins have an open toe pocket which will not stress your ankle and over extend its normal range of motion that a closed toe pocket has proven to do.

    This could be a simple case of your fins putting undue stress on your ankles which will cause mirco trama on your lower leg muscles and result in cramps.
    The Truth About Dive Fins
    Good luck and safe diving!
  8. LowVizWiz

    LowVizWiz Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: South FL but way too far from shore...

    Ladyvaela, you've gotten great advice so I will not try to add to what has already been said. I just want to say is do not get discouraged. I had cramps when I first started diving due to bad finning technique and it gets better with practice even just emulating the way your instructor kicks will help you. Also you may want to ask your instructor to teach you the modified flutter kick.

    Keep at it!
  9. themagni

    themagni Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Canada's Pacific Southwest, BC
    Chemically speaking, low magnesium, potassium, and calcium levels can cause calf cramping. I read this online, so it might be an urban legend.

    I have noticed that some stretches (downward-facing dog) have really helped keep my calves comfy. I bike to work, so I get a pretty good leg workout.

    I've had one cramp in the last few years, and that was at the end of a very cold, very bad dive during a prolonged surface swim in rough conditions. Which, of course, is the BEST time to get a calf cramp.
  10. sberanek

    sberanek Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Champaign, IL
    you can also do calf-raises if you have a set of stairs or any kind of step-up at home. Just stand so that only the ball of your feet are on the step and raise your self up and down. Try to use the fullest range of motion that you can so you get both the strength of raising yourself up and the stretch of lowering yourself so your heels are pointed toward the floor. I would recommend doing this at the bottom of the stairs so you don't have a long way to fall if you loose your balance.


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