Published on December 30th, 2012 | by admin0
Calf Warm Up – How to prevent that season ending tear
When preforming a calf warm up, the first step is understanding what the calf muscles job is. Firstly the term ‘Calf’ refers to the Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles that make up the back of the lower leg. Beneath these lies the Calcaneal Tendon (often called the Achilles Tendon). These are the muscles responsible for pointing our toes (up or down) , and therefore play a big part in running and controlling stability while on the move.
when doing a calf warm up we’re all familiar with the run of the mill static Calf stretching, this is where we take one foot forwards and lean onto it, keeping the back heel down, but did you know that these are no longer recommended for a warm up? There are many reasons, including: decreases in muscular strength and power, and dramatic cooling of the pre-warmed muscle.
This is where Dynamic Stretching comes in. Dynamic Stretching is a type of warm up stretch that uses your momentum as well as opposing muscular contractions to propel your muscle into a stretch position while at no time exceeding the muscles maximum Range of Motion. Preforming dynamic stretching is an excellent method of stretching before exercise helps prepares our body for activity,this is done by increasing blood flow and in turn blood oxygen, to the muscles and other soft tissues. This in turn all goes on to help reduce further our risk of injuries.
What you want to do is mobilize and stretch the calf & Achilles group whilst doing your calf warming up, and the best way to do this, is to carry out the following exercises, after completing our dynamic quadriceps warm-up, start with:
Calf Warm Up- Heel lift climber x20/ side
Place your hands on a wall and take the feet back, so you’re at approximately 45 degrees. Now alternate lifting each heel in a controlled, but slightly lifted tempo.
Calf Warm Up- Around the clock stretch x3/ side
Plant one foot down and take the other to different numbers on a clock. So, starting with your left foot planted step the right to 11 (10 when experienced & ROM allows) and back to the centre. Repeat all the way around to 4 or 5 (ROM dependant). Now the key here is to make sure that the supporting foot stays flat on the floor, but also the the shin moves closer to the top of the foot during each stretch otherwise it won’t be stretching the calf at all. Also, be sure to move the hips throughout too. When stepping to 11 (or 1), the hips should rotate left (or right) and when at 3-onwards (or 9-onwards) that the hips open right (or left).