5-minute recovery massage to loosen up calf muscles


After an intense sprint, or a long-distance run, you may notice that your calf muscles begin to tense and experience cramping as you cool down. This may make it difficult to walk, or even feel discouraging after a strong athletic effort.

The calf is comprised of an extremely important muscle group that is used to keep balance, absorb shock and provide power to all forward movement. While running, you are forcing these muscles to provide all of this support for an extended period of time. After exhausting the muscle’s energy supply, it can build with lactic acid and experience minimal tears. Neither of these are bad for the calf, but they can cause you to experience pain or stiffness at times if stretching and massage are not regularly applied.

Quick fix

The five-minute recovery massage that will be described and explained below should help you ease any stress or stiffness that your muscles may experience after exercise. Though this massage is most beneficial in the recovery phase, directly after a run, it can also be used at any other time during the day. Regular application of massage will have better and longer lasting affects on your muscles, and increase your ability to improve after events.

It is important to note that you should be performing this massage with the help of a portable massager. Calf muscles will require myofascial release during this short massage, and it can be difficult to apply the proper amount of pressure with your hands. Using the Moji 360 massager, you will be able to apply the proper amount of pressure and directed release to gain full benefits.

Begin the massage by applying general pressure to the calf. Roll the portable massager against the back of the leg, slowly moving it from the top of the calf and down to the ankle. Repeat this at least four times, or continue until you feel the muscles begin to relax. Next, you will want to pass the massager from the right to the left of your calf, focusing on the gastrocnemius and the soleus muscles. Often, the area where ​these muscles attach to your Achilles tendon can have a significant amount of tenderness because of an unequal share of stress during running. Focus the left to right movement on this area. Lastly, you will apply more specific pressure to knots or sore areas of your muscles. Apply steady pressure, making small concentric circles over the area. This should only take five minutes, but feel free to continue massaging your calf if you feel the need.

Jill Lohmann is a Director of Operations for Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers and a certified physical therapist. Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers is a physical therapist owned and operated rehabilitation company with a network of 170 outpatient rehabilitation centers located throughout the Midwest, Arizona and Georgia.


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