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Why do I get Cramps during Pilates?

This question has boggled the minds of many trainers as cramps affect everyone differently. I usually respond by asking “Have you been drinking enough water lately?” Often the response is “Oh yeah, but I should be drinking more I suppose…” or the classic “I used to drink a lot of water, but lately I’ve stopped …”

As a result, we Instructors often end up repeating the following over and over:

• Drink more water (more electrolytes.)

drinking water

• Eat bananas (I know this works as I myself eat one everyday for breakfast. If I don’t eat them for three days I begin to feel cramps.)

• Take more potassium and magnesium (all conveniently found in bananas.)

• Take even more calcium.

Despite these precautions, cramps still sometimes occur. Involuntary contractions of muscles, they are quite painful and are caused by strain or muscle fatigue. I have found that a couple of people in each class get cramps.

While I could fill your brain with science-y jargon, my good and simple advice is this:

Warm up appropriately. Do some intense exercise to work your muscles — though not to the point of fatigue. Do a standing warm up, followed by a matwork warm up if you are taking part in a matwork class. Vary your warm up each time for the enjoyment of it all. Pilates is not meant to be boring!

• At the start of each class your movements should be controlled at a slow-to-moderate rate. Avoid starting off with exercises that you discover may bring on cramps. As your class progresses, ease them in after the first half hour. This is the time that exercises should intensify anyway, and you can avoid discomfort by working your muscles at an even rate. Perhaps you might prefer to stop toe-pointing and keep your feet dorsiflexed; there’s no need to place extra tension on muscles not involved in the work, your hands & feet in particular.

• Another vital consideration is footwear. Think about the footwear you wear during the day? Check if you are prone to tight ankle joints.

• I heartily recommend that you begin to stretch when you arrive for your class, even if the instructor is not ready to begin. You have a couple of minutes waiting on the mat anyway, so use them wisely as a warm up.

Remember, even if you do all of the above — drink plenty of water, eat bananas and nuts, take magnesium, warm up and cool down correctly, and take your time in your Pilates class — there will always be some predisposed to muscle cramps, tight tendons, ligaments, and osteoarthritis, but don’t panic!

Eat healthily, drink plenty of fresh water, enjoy a good warm up, use a spiky ball under your feet and those cramps will begin to subside.

 

This question has boggled the minds of many trainers as cramps affect everyone differently. I usually respond by asking “Have you been drinking enough water lately?” Often the response is “Oh yeah, but I should be drinking more I suppose…” or the classic “I used to drink a lot of water, but lately I’ve stopped …”

As a result, we Instructors often end up repeating the following over and over:

• Drink more water (more electrolytes.)

drinking water

• Eat bananas (I know this works as I myself eat one everyday for breakfast. If I don’t eat them for three days I begin to feel cramps.)

• Take more potassium and magnesium (all conveniently found in bananas.)

• Take even more calcium.

Despite these precautions, cramps still sometimes occur. Involuntary contractions of muscles, they are quite painful and are caused by strain or muscle fatigue. I have found that a couple of people in each class get cramps.

While I could fill your brain with science-y jargon, my good and simple advice is this:

Warm up appropriately. Do some intense exercise to work your muscles — though not to the point of fatigue. Do a standing warm up, followed by a matwork warm up if you are taking part in a matwork class. Vary your warm up each time for the enjoyment of it all. Pilates is not meant to be boring!

• At the start of each class your movements should be controlled at a slow-to-moderate rate. Avoid starting off with exercises that you discover may bring on cramps. As your class progresses, ease them in after the first half hour. This is the time that exercises should intensify anyway, and you can avoid discomfort by working your muscles at an even rate. Perhaps you might prefer to stop toe-pointing and keep your feet dorsiflexed; there’s no need to place extra tension on muscles not involved in the work, your hands & feet in particular.

• Another vital consideration is footwear. Think about the footwear you wear during the day? Check if you are prone to tight ankle joints.

• I heartily recommend that you begin to stretch when you arrive for your class, even if the instructor is not ready to begin. You have a couple of minutes waiting on the mat anyway, so use them wisely as a warm up.

Remember, even if you do all of the above — drink plenty of water, eat bananas and nuts, take magnesium, warm up and cool down correctly, and take your time in your Pilates class — there will always be some predisposed to muscle cramps, tight tendons, ligaments, and osteoarthritis, but don’t panic!

Eat healthily, drink plenty of fresh water, enjoy a good warm up, use a spiky ball under your feet and those cramps will begin to subside.