Let’s play with the calves!!!!
Ok, maybe not these calves, but the calves on your lower limbs. The things attached to your feet and to your hamstrings.
What are the jobs of the calf muscles? Flexion and extension. Load and unload. They are not your prime movers, but for most people they end up being the prime movers because their glutes won’t work well, but that’s for another post.
Below is a step by step gallery of images that show you the inner muscles on your posterior side of your lower leg, and it’s important that you realize that it is more than the Gastrocnemius that is doing all the work. It’s all the other surrounding tissue (fascia) and ligaments (connective tissue) that help you be springy and move forward (or backwards, or sideways). They are there to help you move your feet as well, and if your calves are not sliding smoothly, if they are always rock hard, then your feet will not function well at all.
In the last picture where you see one of the main calf muscles (Gastrocnemius medial and lateral head) can you see how it attaches to your hamstrings? If you were able to scroll down you’d also see how they are connected to everything that is foot related as well.
I have a hard time understanding why people think it’s ok to have rock hard calves, because I imagine if your biceps were that hard and tight? You would not be able to put your clothes on because you would have T-Rex arms that you couldn’t straighten. Same is true for your calves if you think of them as your biceps.
Here is what I want you to do each day for five minutes that should help open up your T-Rex calves, and you can think of this as YOUR CALF day!
Grab a small ball (I don’t care if it’s a lacrosse ball, golf ball, or even a softball), put it behind your knee. Now lay down on the ground, keep the other leg perfectly straight, and grab that shin that has the ball behind the knee. Squeeze that leg towards your chest (don’t do it too hard, just to the point where you feel it). Next you will do the following:
20 times draw circles with the big toe to the right
20 times draw circles with the big to to the left
20 times point and flex that foot
Do both legs, and this should take less than 5 minutes a day. Let me know if this helps you move better, run better, swim better, or even squat better!