Every woman is obsessed with her glutes — their shape, size and firmness. But calves? Meh. Most of the time they are sidelined or forgotten in a training lineup – until they hurt, that is. The thing is, if your calves are tight, your ankles are tight; if your ankles are tight your mobility is limited; if your mobility is limited you’re not going to be able to do those heavy squats, sister, and your Beyonce bubble-butt is yet another day out of reach.
Tight calves can be the result of many things, not the least of which is a lack of flexibility training. Foam rolling can help break up tight fascia — the connective tissue surrounding your calf muscles — and work out the kinks and knots that come from the intense training typical of our Oxygen women.
Here are four foam-rolling exercises to do pre- or post-workout. Perform each move for several minutes, holding and breathing when you discover any tight or tender areas. Combine these moves with a regular flexibility routine for your lower leg and you’ll experience improved power, strength and drive, not only in your calves but also in your entire kinetic chain.
The Ankle Roll
Sit on the floor with one calf on the roller an inch or so above your Achilles tendon. Roll your ankle slowly in a circle one direction five times and the other direction five times. If you find a sore spot, hold and press for several seconds before moving on. Work your way up in this manner from your ankle to just below your knee and back down again for both legs.
Place the foam roller underneath your calf muscles. Place your hands on either side of your hips and lift your bodyweight up off the floor. Using your arms as a fulcrum, roll your calf slowly from top to bottom and back again, turning you leg inward and outward to hit all areas of the muscle.
Place one calf on top of the roller and cross your opposite leg overtop, pressing downward with the top leg to create pressure. Place your hands on either side of your hips, and roll back and forth slowly, pausing when you find sore spots and using your top leg to control the pressure to make it more or less intense.
The Upper Crust
Lie on your right side and place your left leg in front of you, foot flat on the floor. Support your weight between your right elbow and your left leg and position the roller perpendicularly to your right shin just below your knee. Roll back and forth slowly along the roller, pausing to do slow ankle circles when you hit a tender area.
Choosing A Foam Roller
We’re not going to lie: If you’re new to foam rolling or are recovering from an injury, it can hurt like hell. That’s why we like the Trigger Point CORE roller — it delivers moderate compression with minimal agony! Its grid pattern is designed to break up those knots and scar tissue to speed up recovery and healing. It’s available in two sizes: the versatile 18-inch roller and the 36-inch size that’s designed to roll large muscle areas.