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  #1  
Old 09-22-2013, 11:01 PM
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Default Cramping calf muscle?

OK - I've been playing long enough that I'm wondering if this is just age, or not stretching. I don't think it's a seat- height issue either.

On the gig last night, I noticed my left calf (I'm left-footed) started to tinge like it wanted to cramp up on me. It was especially doing this when I was playing a busy bass drum part, and relaxed when I went back to my usual pedal dance and just laid down the 1 & 3, a bit softer.

At my age, I stretch before playing, I drink alot of water, and my last doctor's visit showed low potassium, which we're countering now with potassium tablets (which are also bright yellow like bananas too - clever). So I think physically I have the bases covered. Has anyone experienced this? I've tried varying seat heights and get the same kind of result. I admit, one set lasted about 45-minutes long, and they were all up-beat tunes (like a juke box with no ballads), but that shouldn't bother me either. My technique is fairly sound, I'm not doing anything weird with my feet - it's just the constant hell-and-toe movement, maybe louder than normal.

Am I missing something? Or is this Nature's way of telling me not to play to busy?
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:00 AM
wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Cramping calf muscle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post

.... it's just the constant hell-and-toe movement, ....


Hell and toe has been known to cause calf cramping.



LOL
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:14 AM
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Pocket-full-of-gold Pocket-full-of-gold is offline
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Default Re: Cramping calf muscle?

Low magnesium levels can also be a factor, mate. Maybe try some magnesium tablets as well. Or even look into rehydrating sports drinks that contain high levels of all the minerals usually associated with cramping. Potassium, magnesium and calcium can all be found in most of those products high in electrolytes.

Failing that, I have a mate who swears by the old wives tale of rubbing cork along the muscle that's cramping. I've never done it, but he's completely convinced of its merits.
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:26 AM
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Default Re: Cramping calf muscle?

If you're playing with considerably more intensity/volume than you practise, and you're talking a 45 minute set, then I think that there's enough repetition and time involved involved for this to be a "training" issue.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:34 AM
wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Cramping calf muscle?

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post

... It was especially doing this when I was playing a busy bass drum part, and relaxed when I went back to my usual pedal dance and just laid down the 1 & 3, a bit softer....

Just kidding you on my earlier reply - ha ha.

If the busy bass drum part is something you don't normally do, it's probably to be expected.
Pushing yourself outside your normal comfort zone is bound to have some effect.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:12 AM
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Default Re: Cramping calf muscle?

Its probably a combination of diet, age and technique. As far as the technique goes, if you are activating foot muscles more than they need to be, then that will cause calf tension/cramping that will *eventually* lead to problems (especially since over-activating a muscle will cause the opposing muscle group to activate to maintain balance, and this can create a tug-of-war that last beyond the activity in question.

Calf muscles are used to point the foot and curl the toes. The toes of course should never be used in drumming, and if you are

Another possibility is that you are leaning forward while playing / slouching. This would cause the center of gravity to be over your legs and cause the calf to activate in order to maintain balance. It would be especially prominent when you are really working out your feet.

A third possibility is that your leg is cramping from a non-drumming activity. Been walking up many stairs lately?

Diet and age also matter, as with a youthful age and a good diet, you can walk up stairs forever and not have to worry about cramping... unfortunately, we don't stay that way forever!
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:23 AM
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Default Re: Cramping calf muscle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Lamb View Post
Its probably a combination of diet, age and technique. As far as the technique goes, if you are activating foot muscles more than they need to be, then that will cause calf tension/cramping that will *eventually* lead to problems (especially since over-activating a muscle will cause the opposing muscle group to activate to maintain balance, and this can create a tug-of-war that last beyond the activity in question.

Calf muscles are used to point the foot and curl the toes. The toes of course should never be used in drumming, and if you are

Another possibility is that you are leaning forward while playing / slouching. This would cause the center of gravity to be over your legs and cause the calf to activate in order to maintain balance. It would be especially prominent when you are really working out your feet.

A third possibility is that your leg is cramping from a non-drumming activity. Been walking up many stairs lately?

Diet and age also matter, as with a youthful age and a good diet, you can walk up stairs forever and not have to worry about cramping... unfortunately, we don't stay that way forever!
Aside from the whole aging factor (damn you!), I did notice that in this venue, the little drum riser is sloped a bit - it's higher where I sit, and the drums actually angle downward from me. And the cramping issue has only happened in this place. Hmm....

I will check that with how I play at home on a flat surface - that could be the culprit. But I know, I'm not getting any younger and pushing is, well, pushing ;)
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Old 09-23-2013, 06:15 PM
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Default Re: Cramping calf muscle?

regarding age - just to be clear cramping is *not* inevitable. It is just that younger bodies recuperate from damage much faster than older ones (this is where diet plays in as well), and so younger people can do damaging things for longer without pain. There are ways to play the drums at the highest levels, day in and day out, without any sort of pain.

regarding the stage being level... wasn't there a joke about that somewhere?

How sloped is it? I know I've had a devil of a time playing on less than properly assembled stages, boats and the like. I kinda figured those were balance issues, though. Might extending the spurs on your bass drum work?
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:40 PM
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Default Re: Cramping calf muscle?

Sounds like a stage issue to me. If your foot is at even a slightly different position than you are used to, your muscles will be working just a little differently than usual, thus leading to cramping and fatigue. Same thing will happen if you move your seat forward or backward a few inches, the way you use your leg changes.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: Cramping calf muscle?

Sounds like a magnesium deficiency and this could help. I use it 3-4x a week in water. Good stuff. Most health stores should sell this, and maybe even Whole Foods.

http://www.calmnatural.com/natural-c...erry-lemon-8oz
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  #11  
Old 09-25-2013, 01:37 PM
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Default Re: Cramping calf muscle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocket-full-of-gold View Post
Low magnesium levels can also be a factor, mate. Maybe try some magnesium tablets as well. Or even look into rehydrating sports drinks that contain high levels of all the minerals usually associated with cramping. Potassium, magnesium and calcium can all be found in most of those products high in electrolytes.

Failing that, I have a mate who swears by the old wives tale of rubbing cork along the muscle that's cramping. I've never done it, but he's completely convinced of its merits.
Bo:

If you do go for extra magnesium, then avoid Magnesium Oxide. The bioavailability of this stuff is so low that you would be better off getting your magnesium from an 8oz glass of water. The best magnesium is Magnesium Malate (it also goes by DiMagnesium Malate). Magnesium Citrate is good too, but can act as a laxative which can result in loose stools.
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Old 09-25-2013, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Cramping calf muscle?

I played guitar for this band, about 7 or 8 years ago. We had a 'thing', in which we would all eat a banana together before the show, to prevent cramping. Sure enough, I still cramped during songs with large amounts of bar chords, but I could never quite figure it out.

I certainly wouldn't blame your case on age, though.
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Old 09-25-2013, 04:05 PM
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Default Re: Cramping calf muscle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Aside from the whole aging factor (damn you!), I did notice that in this venue, the little drum riser is sloped a bit - it's higher where I sit, and the drums actually angle downward from me. And the cramping issue has only happened in this place. Hmm....

I will check that with how I play at home on a flat surface - that could be the culprit. But I know, I'm not getting any younger and pushing is, well, pushing ;)
That looks like the culprit if it doesn't happen in other situations. Probably over-extending/under-extending something.
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