A Key to the locked calf, Soft Tissue Work "Part 1"
It's fair we all have experienced calf tightness or pain at one time or another.
The lower leg "calf" is a complex group of many muscles, today we will focus on some of the posterior muscles that are common sore spots.
There maybe many reasons why you are having calf pain and if you are, you should seek professional medical guidance, like right now. Calf pain can be as nasty as a blood clot in disguise or something just as simple as muscle soreness. I take these things very seriously. If you are having calf pain, swelling, discoloration and or weakness - it's time to pay your doctor a visit. Medical professionals will be able to diagnose without a doubt your discomfort.
If your discomfort is related to muscle overuse or general soreness this is one of the secrets from my tool box.
Alright here's the skinny!
For this technique you will need a foam roller and a lacrosse ball.
1.) Stack the lacrosse ball on the foam roller and rest your calf on top of the concoction
2.) Now you roll the foam roller with your hand allowing the weight of your leg to identify tight spots of your calf musculature.
"Avoid tender tissue under the knee and distal achilles tendon region."
3.) Once you identify the tender spot simply rest on it for 30 seconds to one minute and proceed to the next tender spot.
I like to recommend spending around 5-7 minutes per leg. Don't rush through these maneuvers, allow time for the muscle to release itself.
Follow this foam rolling technique up with these two stretches,
The straight leg calf stretch and the bent leg calf stretch. Hold each for 30 seconds before progressing.
As always anytime you work on muscles be sure to drink plenty of WATER, not flavored water or tea, WATER.
In closing, this is a great key to calf success however there maybe more locked doors.
Consider the following; you recover your calves and things are great, but they're constantly sore post workout. You may have a muscular imbalance causing this issue. Maybe you need to reduce the intensity of workout routine if your calves are always sore. Is your foot wear contributing to poor recovery? What types of exercise surfaces are you training on? Often it could even be as simple as not enough protein and sleep.
Look for a complete picture to the puzzle!
This concludes part 1. Stay tuned for part 2 where we address underlying issues and solutions for stubborn calves.
Success and enlightenment,
David Piggott (CPT,CES,PES)