The calf muscle is made up of two muscles: the gastrocnemius and soleus. The gastrocnemius is larger and more superficial. Both of these muscles combine to form the Achilles tendon.
All parts of your body are linked and interrelated. When one part, for example a tight calf muscle, is not doing its job properly, other body parts have to compensate.
I’am going to provide you with 3 simple techniques to help reduce muscle tightness in the gastroc and soleus which form the Achilles tendon. These techniques do not take much time and can be very beneficial. Like any thing else, you will receive the benefit for as long you continue to incorporate these techniques. Lets get to it.
Gastrocnemius/Soleus Self-Myofascial Release.
1. Place the foam roll toward lower part of one calf.
2. Slowly roll calf to find the most tender spot.
3. Once a tender spot is located you can cross one leg on top of the other to increase pressure(optional).
4. If a tender point is located, stop rolling, and rest on the tender point for 30 seconds.
Gastrocnemius/Soleus Static Stretch.
The picture above shows a stretch for the gastroc muscle. In order to get a good stretch on the soleus we would bend both knees, bring our back foot closer to the front while keeping both heels on the ground.
1. Use a wall or stable surface for this stretch.
2. Place one foot in front and one foot behind you.
3. Keep the back heel down the entire time.
4. Slightly lean forward by bending the front knee until you feel a pull in the leg with the back heel down.
5. Hold the tension and stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds per side.
Now you are armed with the knowledge to identify and address calf muscle and Achilles tendon tightness before it turns into an injury! The key is to be proactive so you can keep doing what you love.