Tight calf muscles are an extremely common occurrence for ADF and Police applicants who are new to running and are training for the PFA or APSAD or any other Police recruiting fitness test. The amount of running training you do each week needs to be slowly increased over time to ensure that you don’t injure yourself however this is often overlooked especially when your PFA or Police fitness test is just a few weeks away and you want to train hard to ensure you can pass the beep test. The result in this sudden increase in running training generally, always, leads to tight calf muscles and, if not addressed, can progress to injuries such as shin splints.
the calf muscles
the release techniques
Below are 3 release techniques which can be used to help manage tight calves. There is a 4th technique which is probably the most important, REST, but no one wants to hear about that..... right?!
1. BROOMSTICK TREATMENT
This is great if you are the one applying the treatment, not so great if you are the one on the receiving end. This will require a broomstick to apply pressure and a foam roller or something similar to rest your shin on.
During this movement you will work from the top of the achilles up to the head of the calf muscle below the knee joint. Take care when applying the pressure. Start off light then slowly add a small amount of pressure. This can be quite painful for someone with tight calves. Work your way up and down rolling the broomstick in your hands as you go. Do this for 2 minutes each side.
2. TRIGGER BALL RELEASE
This will require a hard ball of some sort whether a tennis ball, cricket ball or pressure point release ball. During this release technique you can apply pressure to the calf in a few different ways.
1st - Simply just rest your calf on the ball with your leg out straight. You may apply more pressure by resting your other leg on top.
2nd - Move your leg in a motion so that the ball is rolling from one side of your leg to the other. In a rocking motion so the ball is moving across your leg as opposed to up and down.
3rd - Circular motion. Create small circle in the tight areas of your calf.
4th - Up and down. Shifting your weight so that the ball is rolling from the bottom of your calf up to the head.
There are several different types of calf stretches however the one we find most effective is where you place your foot against a wall, pole or some other structure then you bring your hips as close as you can to the wall. The key is to try and get your heel as close to the wall as possible. If you have poor ankle mobility (dorsi flexion) then you may find this one difficult. Remember to always pull your hips towards the wall throughout the entire stretch.
Hold for 30 to 60 seconds each side.
There are 3 great release techniques you can use to help with tight calves. Remember that REST may actually be the one thing you need. Don’t hesitate to lay off running for a week to allow the healing process to catch up. The last thing you want to end up with is shin splints or another overuse injury.
If you are unsure where to start, with your running training for the PFA or Police fitness test, so that you don’t give yourself an overuse injury then check out our Couch to 2.4km Program or Beep Test Resource here or get in contact with the Team.
Michael and Carly both have walked the path you are about to take and are commited to help you get started with your training for a successful enlistment with free tips and articles.