Preventing Leg Cramping after Swimming

This is the first in a three-part series for triathletes.


It’s not uncommon at all.  You spend a good 15, 30, 60 minutes in the pool and walk out to stiffening leg cramps. Your legs can’t adjust to carrying the weight of your body again.  It takes away the pleasure in the fun of swimming, knowing it might knock you out afterwards. But it’s easy to prevent leg cramping after swimming with some exercise pointers relevant to swimmers. This will help swimming enthusiasts and triathletes in general. Here they are.

Electrolyte loss

The main electrolytes are potassium, magnesium, chloride, calcium, sodium, and phosphate.  In a liquid form, they facilitate hydration in the body.  To keep yourself hydrated, the standard is to drink 6 – 8 glasses of water a day. It’s also important to be drinking during exercise.



Certain exercises are better for swimming than other sports. The arms get a lot more attention in general; push-ups and pull-ups don’t do the job that rows and reverse flys do. A lot of guys in the gym also forget to work their legs in general. Incorporate more glute (butt) and hamstring workouts into your routine. That’ll facilitate a routine empowering your kicking when you’re not on land, making muscle recovery easy after a long time in the pool.  There’s more info on building a swimmer’s body here.

Unnecessary tension

Leg cramps while swimming are very common among triathletes, most often striking the calves. But in general swimmers often forget to relax their legs, particularly the toes and ankles.  It creates strain once the muscles wear down, which would happen faster with the extra tension.  This tendency is common among swimmers and triathletes; it might be the main reason why swimmers’ legs can be less flexible.


In my personal opinion, the most important advice here is to keep the emphasis of your workout routine on your legs. It’s very common for gym-goers who want to perfect their physique to focus on biceps and triceps – especially the guys. But leg exercises also work the largest muscles in the body. The bigger the muscles, the faster the metabolism, so the stronger the largest muscles are the even more lean you’ll look with that healthy metabolic rate. Check out some simple leg exercises if you think you could use some more quads and hamstring exercises in your routine – it will definitely keep you from cramping up when you get out of the pool.

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