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Self Myofascial Release for the Calf Muscles

Self myofascial release for the calf muscles is a technique that would benefit many people especially when they take up running.

Many people find that their calf muscles become very tight when they take up running, increase their mileage, transition to less cushioned shoes or even try running barefoot.

The reasons for this could simply be the increased load on the calf muscles, although they could also lie with the Gluteus muscle group, which might not be doing their share of the work, passing this on to the Soleus and Gatrocnemius instead.

Regardless of the cause, allowing your calf muscles to remain sore and tight whilst maintaining your running will almost certainly make the situation worse, predisposing you to injury.

Self myofascial release for the calf muscles is a very effective way to keep them in good shape whilst they acclimatise to the demands of running, which include the absorption of forces up to twice your body weight on every foot strike.

The approach uses some of what a good massage therapist or physio would use to treat your calves: trigger points, cross fibre friction and pressure along the length of the muscles. While they can help to prevent injury, if issues persist, it's always a good idea to see a professional therapist.

My usual advice about over-treating an area applies here too. Do a bit of work on your calf muscles, treat two or three tight spots and then leave the rest for tomorrow. I've lost count of the number of athletes I've seen attack their mobility issues with the same focus they have on training, only to injure themselves due to their enthusiasm. Treat your body with care, stop before you hurt yourself.

Of course, this is only part of the solution; modifying how you run, using specific drills, barefoot running on grass and a focus on tempo are interventions that will prevent you having to treat your calf muscles constantly.

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Will Newton

In over twenty years of coaching, Will has coached everyone from absolute beginners to world champions. His interest in getting the best results for athletes who compete for the love of the sport, rather than as professionals, drives him to find the most effective ways to get results.

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