At the beginning of the year, I started running again. As such I’ve been experiencing some muscular aches and pains. One area I’ve always struggled with is my calves. Years of teaching step aerobics on gym floors. Over the years I’ve learned ways to work on my tight calves. One way is this calf release with a tennis ball.
One thing I really got into during my yoga training was using tennis balls to release tight muscles. From my feet, glutes, the knot between my shoulder and my calves. If you haven’t tried it, and have tight calves I highly recommend it.
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Calf release with tennis ball
With any self-massage I think it’s important to take a baseline. For the calves I’d suggest a pose like dandasana. Noticing the contact the calves have to the floor.
- Does the right calf have more connection to the floor?
- Is there a difference in how the right heel connects to the floor compared to the floor?
- Are the toes pointing forward? In? Up? Out?
- Maybe notice the space under the knee, is there a difference between the right and left?
Bend the left knee, grab your tennis ball and place it under the middle of the right calf. Halfway between the ankle and knee. The torso should be upright with a line from the head, heart and hip. Lift the foot away from the floor so the weight of the leg is fully supported on the ball.
From the right hip rotate the leg inwards towards the left leg, then outwards towards the right. I like to imagine this as “waving” with my foot.
Continue this for a while noticing where there is more tension. After a minute move the ball 1″ towards the ankle and repeat the wave. After another minute of waving, move the ball again 1″ towards the ankle. Waving for a short while more.
Before doing the other side retest in dandasana. Do the legs feel any different right to left? Maybe take downward facing dog, or try chair pose. Then repeat on the left leg retesting and reassessing at the end.
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- Do you suffer with tight calves?
- Did you know you could massage your own calves?
- Have you used a tennis ball for self massage before?