Today's Edge: Keep your calves and achilles happy. Here's a 3 step routine to fixing tight calves and warming them up for action.
1️⃣ Foam Roll:
This will help you to address soreness and keep good tissue quality in the lower leg. Roll the entire length of the muscle up and back. Roll the bottom leg side to side to cover all parts of the calf musculature. Hang out and do small back and forth rolls when you find extra tender areas. Another trick is to hold on a tender area and repeatedly pull the toes of the bottom leg to your face followed by pressing them in a gas pedal motion. Shoot for 20-40 full length rolls and 1-3 minutes of focused trigger point work.
2️⃣ Wall 1-Leg Heel Raise:
This exercise will help to activate and strengthen the larger of the calf muscles (gastrocnemius). Keep your chest pressed away from the wall, your knee at waist level on one side, and your knee straight on the back/down leg. Raise up on your tiptoe, slowly lower, and repeat. Shoot for 1-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions.
3️⃣ Closed System Run Drill:
This exercise brings a plyometric challenge to the lower leg. It will help to activate and prepare the calf/achilles complex for explosive or dynamic work. Stay on the balls of your feet when they hit the ground and keep the body still as your legs move. Shoot for 1-3 sets of 6-12 repetitions on each side.
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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and founder of TD Athletes Edge. He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
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