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Why Strengthening Calf Muscles are Important?

With the limelight in the muscles segment given to predominantly the bigger muscles like the quads and hamstrings, the calf muscles are often ignored. However, our calf muscles punch more than their weight for our body to function. Calf muscles are vital for driving you forward with each step as they absorb loads with each impact and support your body and lower limbs.  

The calf muscle is made up of 2 different muscles: the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The gastrocnemius is the large muscle which can be seen beneath the skin, and the soleus is a smaller muscle which lies beneath the gastrocnemius.  

Benefits of strong calf muscles 

Just think about all daily activities your calves are involved in be it walking, running, jumping or even climbing. Some strong calf benefits are –  

Better foot support 

Strong calf muscles pay a pivotal role in foot support, as they play a pivotal role in the movement of the plantar flexion. You use the plantar flexion whenever you stand on the tip of your toes or point your toes. Any injury to the plantar flexion muscles can limit your range of motion.  

Strong calves for running 

Another of the benefits of strong calves is that it helps you in running. When running, the calves are involved and provide the push needed to propel upwards and forwards. Calf pain is also a common grievance in runners, so keeping your calves in strong condition is a must to help you run at your optimum.  

Prevention of injury  

Prevention is better than cure. Weak or tight calf muscles are prone to injury as they reduce your range of motion and misaligns your muscles making the stronger muscles overcompensating the weaker muscles leading to faster wear and tear. Calf exercises benefits in strengthening your muscles and improves your range of motion and improves misalignments in your lower body leading to lesser injuries.  

Strengthen your calves with these simple calf muscle exercise’s 

As you have read above there are a plethora of benefits of calf muscle exercise. Here are 3 of the best calf muscle exercise’s;

Straight Knee Calf Raises 

Begin with both feet on the ground near a wall or something to support you.  

For the Straight Knee Calf Raise lift your heel as high as you can and be on your toes. Make sure that your weight is centered on your toes evenly. Slowly lower your heels back down to the ground. Keep your knees straight.  

Repetitions: begin with 3 x 1 

You can carry weights for added pressure.  

Bent Knee Calf Raises 

For the Bent Knee Calf Raise follow the above steps and just bend your knees as you begin the raise.  

Repetitions: begin with 3 x 1 

You can carry weights for added pressure.  

Seated Calf Raise  

To feel the benefits of a calf workout do not forget the seated calf raise.  

You may need to be at the gym for this one, but it is one of the best exercises to strengthen your calves. 

Simply sit on a seat and place your toes on a step or stool with your heel just hanging off. Place some weights on your knees and slowly lower your heels down and raise back up as far as you can.  

Recovery for calves is important as recovery is to any other part of the body. Recovery is just as important as strengthening because it gives your body time to repair, rebuild, and strengthen itself between workouts. Without adequate recovery time you may be at increased risk of exhaustion and injury.  

Regular exercise or participation in sports means you are pushing your body beyond its current level of fitness. Exercise – especially intense exercise – creates tiny tears in the muscles. Over time, as muscles heal, they eventually grow bigger and stronger. It’s important to remember that this self-healing process occurs during rest and recovery, not during the exercise session itself. Therefore, to keep continuing to exercise or play sports adequate rest plays a pivotal role.   

Calf muscles play an important part in any sport and exercise routine thereby calf muscle recovery is vital. If adequate rest is not allowed, you are also at risk of overtraining syndrome. For more information about overtraining syndrome click here.  

How to recover calf muscles? 

There are many ways to help with your calf recovery and here are some of the best ways. 

So, how to help calves recover 

  • RICE 

RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This is how you treat your muscles in the first 2-3 days after the injury. You need to get plenty of rest, especially to keep the affected muscles from exerting themselves even further. Apply an ice pack to the affected area for about 20 minutes every 2 hours. Next, apply compression; that means you need to bandage the limb to reduce swelling and pain and keep them slightly elevated.   

  • Over-the-counter medications  

You can get some over-the-counter medications to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Talk to the pharmacist to find what’s best for your condition.  

  • Physical therapy  

You don’t need physical therapy for temporary tight calves that happen after a workout.  However, if you have chronic tight muscles you need to find the cause and rehabilitate the muscles. Talk to your doctor if you experience persistent tightness in the muscles.   

  • Massage therapy  

Massage therapy is a good option if you are an athlete or on a strenuous workout routine. A massage therapist applies controlled pressure on your muscles to reduce tension, improve blood circulation, remove muscle knots and so on.   

  • Use Active Compression tools  

 Active compression tools are specially designed to apply rhythmic compression on affected muscles. They will reduce the swelling and inflammation of the muscles and help the calf muscle recovery process.  

There are a lot of active compression tools on the market. If you are a professional athlete, a gym enthusiast or someone with tight calf muscles, invest in an active compression tool. Find out how calf massagers work here.  

Consider the efficacy, affordability and usability of the device before you buy an active compression tool. SPRYNG is the best recovery tool you’ll find today. It’s a portable device that you can wear any time while you’re going about your usual activities. The device contains an innovative, patent-pending wavetec™ graduated compression pattern that prevents leg swelling and improves blood circulation. SPRYNG will reduce swelling and pain in your muscles easily in 15 minutes and speed up the recovery process.   

 

 

 

References

https://sportandspinalphysio.com.au/the-importance-of-calf-strength-and-the-best-calf-strength-exercises/#:~:text=Why%20is%20Calf%20Strength%20So,Become%20faster 

 https://head2toeclinic.com/three-reasons-why-you-have-tight-muscles/ 

https://www.uchealth.org/today/rest-and-recovery-for-athletes-physiological-psychological-well-being/#:~:text=Active%20recovery%20increases%20blood%20circulation,muscles%2C%20tendons%2C%20and%20ligaments. 

 

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