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We’ve all experienced calf tightness. It happens from time to time after running, working out at the gym, or going on a hike or walk. You don’t have to be an athlete to experience it. When that achy tightness sets in, you want a solution that is easy and helps you feel better.
This inexpensive tool is portable and works on all parts of your body. For sore calf muscles, the roller can massage the muscles and help you feel some relief. Depending on how you adjust the position of your leg, it can work the inner or outer muscles. It might not always provide instant relief every time you use it, but the more you use it, the better your calves will feel.
The muscles located in the calf are complex, much more so than most people think. In fact, three muscles make up the calf group: the Achilles tendon, the soleus, and the gastrocnemius. Foam rollers can help reduce muscle soreness and promote strength and mobility.
Here are some exercises you can do with the foam roller to keep your calves feeling good:
Achilles heel release
Put your heel on the roller and gently apply pressure. Point your toes back and forth to help loosen up the Achilles tendon that runs up the calf.
Start in the same beginning position as the first exercise and move the foot from side to side. Be sure to keep control of your heel so it doesn’t slip off the roller. To do this cup the roller with your hand.
The gastrocnemius is the largest of the calf muscles. While seated with your legs extended on the roller and toes pointed at the ceiling roller, roll the calf over the roller using medium pressure. Do this for 30 seconds on each side.
Short calf release
Start in the same position as the previous exercise and rotate the leg toward the other leg. You’ll only move the roller about three inches over the thickest part of the calf.
Get on your hands and knees and bring one knee toward your chest. Place the roller under the shin and, using light pressure, roll the muscle next to your shin bone over the roller, flexing the toes. Do this on each side about 20 times.
As with any kind of movement or stretching, if you start feeling any discomfort, stop immediately. Finding the right type of roller might take some work. If the roller is too soft, you won’t get the healing benefits of the massage. If it’s too firm, it might hurt too much to get the massage you need to feel relief. For the perfect roller, try the MojiHeat Foam Roller. This foam muscle roller combines the benefits of traditional foam rolling with the comfort and relaxation of therapeutic heat.
Just remember, foam rolling is an outstanding tool that many athletes use to keep their muscles limber and stretched. It can take time to get the desired results though, so be patient. The tighter the muscle, the more work it’s going to take to loosen up.
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Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride:
Whether you’re preparing for a cycling race, training for a triathlon or simply appreciate the exhilarating cardio workout you get from riding, your body (the lower half in particular) is certainly being challenged.
Most of your focus will be on the meat of your training – developing programs for each ride to incorporate different terrain, speeds, hills and other aspects of riding itself. But it’s also important to remember that your training doesn’t stop once your session ends. In fact, time spent after you hop off your bike is just as important as time spent on the saddle. Cooling down and taking part in athletic recovery reduces your risk of sore muscles and injuries, which can sideline you and set you back in your schedule. This is especially problematic if you are on a deadline for a race.
After each bike ride you should be taking the time to stretch out your muscles and allow your mind and body to return to their resting states. It’s also useful to incorporate self massage into your routine each week, especially after an intense ride. Massage will help loosen up muscles even further, which is important so you don’t create any imbalances.
There are several key muscles you should focus your massager on after a bike ride: