Question

Stretching

What should I do if my calves feel tight?

A Answers (3)

  • NASM as usual is absolutely correct, I personally will spend evenings foam rolling and static stretching both my soleus and calf muscles in the method mentioned above.

    In addition to self myofascial release I also incorporate trigger point release as it is a bit more centralized and can get deeper than foam rolling.  I use both techniques.

    Trigger point release is extremely similar to a trigger point or deep tissue massage.  Trigger point release allows you to get into areas that a foam roller will not. (not really calves but more things like upper traps, shoulder blades, ect. but I still use it on my calves)

    For instance I will roll my calves and soleus and I can release the muscles well but if I pin-point a few areas that are ultra tender I can get even deeper.  I will do foam rolling for an overall release and then use the Body Back Buddy to get in even deeper on a few areas.  

    Check out the link to the Body Back Buddy:

    www.bodyback.com

  • A great soother for tight calves is to use a foam roller.  Sit on the floor and place the roller under your calf, while raising your body slightly off the floor with your arms behind you.  Roll slowly until you detect a tender spot and then hold for 20 seconds until the tension begins to dissipate.  Repeat with the other leg.  Do this both as a warm-up and cool-down to your workout and enjoy the benefits of relaxed calves!
  • A great way to decrease tension and soreness in the calves is to perform self-myofascial release on your calf muscles followed by static stretching.  Similar to massage, self-myofascial release is useful for locating and relaxing tender spots or 'knots' within your muscles that can be overactive, and when irritated will cause an increase in tension.  Self-myofascial release for the calf can be accomplished with the calf foam roll technique.  Perform this technique by using the method described below. Start in a seated position on the floor with your legs out in front of your body.  Next, place the foam roller under the mid-calf and use your arms to move your body over the roller.  Slowly roll up and down the lower leg from the back of the knee to the ankle and apply pressure on any tender spots for at least 30 seconds.  To increase pressure on the tender spots, cross the opposite leg on top of the leg you are rolling (optional).  For best results, follow this technique with the standing calf stretch.  The standing calf stretch can be performed by using the following procedure. Facing a wall, stand with your feet pointed straight ahead and in a staggered stance.  Lean against the wall with your upper body while keeping your rear leg completely straight with no bend in the knee. Maintain a straight line from your head to the heel of your back foot, while bending your arms to move your chest closer to the wall until a slight stretch is felt in back of lower leg.  Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds and repeat for a total of 1-3 repetitions.
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