Wednesday we talked about foam rolling for the larger muscles, such as your quads or IT band. Today let’s talk about the smaller muscles, such as your calf. While you can foam roll the calf, it is much easier to roll out with a Tiger Tail or Stick.
The Tiger Tail is an athlete’s version of a rolling pin. As a point of fact, the Tiger Tail is a foam roller, yes, but the effect achieved by this instrument is decidedly distinct. There are handles at each end and a foam covered roller in the middle. The roller spins allowing it to glide over the muscles and help release tightness and knots.
It is important to roll out the calf muscle because it is constantly working to help you walk, balance and climb subway steps on a daily basis. If you are involved in any sports activities like running, cycling or dancing you will want to roll out your calf after every practice or rehearsal.
Start by sitting in a comfortable chair with your feet on the ground. Hold the Tiger Tail against your calf with your palms facing away from you. Applying even pressure roll through the muscle bulk of your gastroc-soleus muscles. Next, hold the Tiger Tail at a 45 degree angle and work the side of the muscle. When on the outside of your lower leg be sure to stay off any bony areas, like the head of the fibula which is about an inch below your knee.
Rolling the calf takes about 3-5 minutes, depending on how tight you are. If you find any knots, hang out on them for 30 seconds to a minute to help the muscle relax. Always work in a pain free and strain free way. When you have finished rolling, stand up and do some gastroc or soleus stretches.
Rolling out your muscles will help them return to optimal length and perform with the power and force that they were intended to have. If you have any issues with your calf muscles or any other area of the body, reach out to our team at Miccass Physical Therapy today! We are here on the Upper West Side to make sure you can run through the park or walk to the store pain free.