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Trigger  thanks  to Mr. Takuras   calf  cramps.
I  got a  set of   interesting mails as well as  some  cases   from the  now ending  winter season in cross country skiing.
Cramps in the lower  leg  sections ( what ever  cramps  may mean )  is  very common in cross country skiing. I like to name it lower leg discomfort  rather  than cramps.
I see in our  small community  somewhere between 10 +-  cases  per  ski season on  the  is lower leg  discomfort  situation  from cross country skiers.
Now  we  are  talking here  from top skiers  to  starters .

The most successful solutions is  for  most the  same  so I take this cases here  as  it shows immediately , that the idea of a  strength training  over the summer to solve the problem is most likely  not the  first or  most successful choice.
There are  2  common main areas.
In skate skiing  the  discomfort  of   tib. anterior  and or peroneal  area.
 In  classical   technique  the medial  calf  muscle area.
Step  one  we do is  NIRS    attachment on the discomfort muscle  and  than ski. The  client  does not  tell us  , when the problem starts  but tells it to the coach  who then has a time set point  for subjective  feeling  and we  than look at  NIRS  and see , whether the  NIRS trends  and the idea  fit with the  subjective time  stamp. This  winter   we where  good  as we had only one  mismatch
Now  as we have the information live  we than immediately  try to  play  with the  options.In top athletes  it is easy as they have multiple  skis  there . In kids  we have  to  work first  on the skis  so we  have to  reassess or  better we let them ski in the next possible    time. Now  here  for the ski coaches.
 Key . Do not take the  deco balance  or  ski mount. Use the real balance  and than    depending on  the  technique  you know  what  do  do  with the placement.
Now in jack rabbit kids  you have only one set of  skis  so go  for the  skating mount  as  the  tib ant  problem is much more  often the case  and has  much more   damaging overload  reactions.
So no strength or  any thing  other needed  than equipment  adjustment  to improve  overload  risk. In top athletes  you have  technique specific  skis. Now  here after  adjustment look at the ski motion and you may  have  to get some intermuscular  sling training going  for the summer.
Now remember the   muscle chain or sling are given  and  technique  will somewhat change  the   reactions.
The second  part to remember is , that in any sport  a  or any movement the first muscle contraction comes  always  from the main core muscle  so  the diaphragm.
So    for any intermusular  training  you  plan  be sure  the respiration i  on that  day  not the  first  hitting the limitation.

Below is a lower body spiral line.

sp 1.png 

Now look carefully  the spiral  or  muscle chains in the 2  techniques.
ski 5.jpg

ski 6.jpg 
ou  cna nicley pick up  fo r exampel which part of  the  calf  medial or laterla  will  eb  mor eused.
 Now  for the summer if  you not  can go on snow  or  roller skis   use  the sport  where you  as well   use the muscles  sling  for the medial  calf if that is your target or the lateral  calf.
 So  most  of  you will  bike  or  run or  walk imitation.
 Think twice  before  you choose   one of them  when you look at the  chain and  what you  try to target. If  you are not sure  use  a  NIRS   and you can see  fast  which  of the  summer activity  will benefit  most for  your  target.
 Nevertheless  try  not to focus  just in the lower leg.

Forget in most cases  actual strength training  for this weakness. There was  a phase in endurance sport, where  strength training  was pushed  far  above and  beyond  on what it   may  actually  do  and many  good  athletes  where much  worse the following winter.
It is most often  all about efficiency  and  energy supply and very seldom a strength  limitation.. This discussion  shows  up  every  15 +- years. There are some  basic  physiological  ideas  why strength has  to be taken  with  a  grain of  salt.
Here some points  from   one of the leading  researcher in that  field and it still holds  true . In fact  with NIRS  many of his theoretical points can  now  be shown live.

Here some key thoughts

all about energy 1 vershonjansky.jpg

all about energy 1energy production 2.jpg 

all about energy 1energy production.jpg 

nd  there is  where NIRS  comes in  when we look at  utilization and delivery. And it is  done live and not based on  calculation of magical 1  MAX  reps  or  CP  ideas  it  happens  as we do it as  every day is  somewhat different.
The fascinating  part of  our  classical  1  Max  rep  of  %  of max  ideas  was  , because we had  no tools  to  us e for real feedback so  we  where hoping to be  with the calculations as  close as possible. So there  is really a no brainer  to replace  this idea  with a tool  where we see it live as we do it.  Have a great summer training  and hopefully soon a lot  and early snow  for the upcoming season.

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