Calf Cramping

hyruleherojoe

Senior Member
So lately when I play, either at practice or live show, my tibialis anterior cramps up. Its the muscle in your shins. It starts burning and playing the bass drum becomes extremely painful. I play primarily heel-toe. Any tips or advice? Been playing for ten years relatively pain free. I suspect its my drum throne height. I know when I sit too low, my hips hurts.
 

Headbanger

Senior Member
Throne height is important, but also take a look at the position of your bass drum. Ideally your bass drum should be aimed off to the right if you play it with your right foot, or to the left if you're a lefty.

If your bass drum is in the centre then you will have to bend your foot at an awkward angle to play the pedal.
 

hyruleherojoe

Senior Member
Throne height is important, but also take a look at the position of your bass drum. Ideally your bass drum should be aimed off to the right if you play it with your right foot, or to the left if you're a lefty.

If your bass drum is in the centre then you will have to bend your foot at an awkward angle to play the pedal.
Huh, I didn't think of that! Thanks a lot, I'll try to adjust accordingly and see how it goes.
 

Chollyred

Senior Member
Had the same thing happen while playing heel down. The Angle of the pedal board is too steep. My cheap @$$ throne was as high as it would go. I found myself trying to artificially hold my leg higher to play more with my toe, but that was causing hip pain. I finally got a new, taller throne and play more heel-toe and haven't had any more problems.

While my bass drum points straight forward, I actually face maybe 30 degrees toward the hi-hat side.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
Sounds a lot like shin splints. With your heel planted, rapidly tap the front half of your foot... this will loosen the shin muscles. Also, keep hydrated and stretch out your legs - quads, hammies, calfs, everything!!
 
J

JohnoWorld

Guest
I have knee, shin, calf, hamstring and hip issues all because I have loose joints.

I have also had 4 shoulder operations so I keep all my gear within a reachable area.

With regards to shins, I can't actually find a place with my throne and pedals where I am 100% comfortable. Every day i practice my shin hurts, so I play heels up for a bit.

Then my arse bone starts to hurt.

My only way of dealing with it is to stretch properly beforehand. Calves, hips, ankles, thighs, back, shoulders. It is quite a ritual, but it works, I really notice it when I cannot be arsed to do that.
 

Stefan Brodsky

Senior Member
Had a similar problem last nite, after a gig at a local mountain saloon, The Little Bear, which has been an eclectic music venue in our part of the country (Evergreen, Colorado, USA) for over 40 years, and where our band has appeared 5 times over the past year and a half. As much as we enjoy playing there, the problem as I see it, is that their drummer's riser is not deep enough, to allow me to fully stretch out my right foot. I am literally up against a large mirror directly behind, and have to play IMHO, much closer to the kick, than I normally do. No doubt the riser was designed for 14" deep kicks, which are not the norm these days. Mine is a 20" x 16". I feel for the drummers playing there with 18" deep kicks. I have fairly long legs and arms. (34" inseam and sleeve length). Most of the time I play heel down, though there are some numbers where I play heel up. After returning home, I went to bed, but was awakened when the entire inside of my right thigh cramped up, so much so, that it was very painful, particularly when I tried to get out of bed. Needed to take a muscle relaxant to return to sleep. Drank plenty of H20 and even had a banana prior to taking the stage.
 
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lsits

Gold Member
What works for me is the old fashioned remedy of tonic water. The quinine ib it seems to do the trick. If I'm playing in a bar I just order a gin and tonic (without the gin).I'm also taking Quinine sulfate tablets before bed so I don't get cramps in the middle of the night.
 

philrudd

Senior Member
Not at all discounting any of the technique and positioning advice give above, but I used to regularly suffer from muscles locking up and cramping.

I almost never have any problem with that anymore, and I chalk it all up to relaxation. I didn't realize at the time how tightly I was wound when I played, but now that I can play without stressing out all the time, I can't remember the last time I had any muscle problems.

If none of the above advice works...really focus on staying loose and see if it makes a difference. Playing a hard, accurate shot on a drum takes way less effort than I could have imagined when I began drumming..
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
When I turned 48 (two years ago), the yearly blood test and physical revealed that my body wasn't producing enough potassium, and my bass drum calf would cramp up from time-to-time. The doctor put me on potassium supplements (unless I wanted to consume a couple of bananas daily) and I started to watch what I eat and drink, and a lot of those muscles issues subsided. It could be a technique problem for you, but it doesn't hurt to get with your doctor to make sure the body has what it needs.
 
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