Pre-workout Corrective Exercise #4 | Calf Massage

I have yet to meet a client who does not have tight calves and therefore good ankle mobility.    I have seen a lot of compensatory foot, knee and back pain that can be caused by tight, inflexible calves.   Foot and ankle mobility is essential for any movement we are performing on our feet – from Standing Cable Chest Press, to Jogging, to playing basketball or golf.    If your ankle range of motion and mobility is limited you will compensate elsewhere when you move, leading to less optimal performance and potential injury.    It is important that you try to massage the calves before you give them a good deep stretch.    

Pre-workout Corrective Exercise #4 :  Calf Self Massage with the foam roller, stick, or your hand.

Alignment Issue:  Foot pronation and outward rotated foot.   Limited ankle flexion.  

Muscle Imbalance:   Tight calves (Gastrocnemius and Soleus) 

Pain Symptoms:  Achilles tendonitis.   Foot and shin pain.  Compensatory lower back  and knee soreness.

Common Cause:  Sitting down for long periods.  Non-flat shoes (any shoe with a slight lift in the back compared to front).  Excessive exercise (specifically running or walking)

How this works:  Self massage, using your hand or a foam roller, helps to ‘break up’ any knots (myofascial adhesions), thus priming it for a good stretch after.  Static stretching is an effective technique for lengthening muscle and myofascial tissue.   

Equipment:  None (hand and body weight) 

OR:  Foam RollerAvailable at Amazon for $10 - $20:    Amazon Store Foam Roller Link

The Stick Roller.  Available at Amazon for $20 - $30:  Amazon Store 'The Stick' Link

Even a tennis ball works great!

Self Massage the Calf Muscles


  • While sitting down bend forward and use both hands to massage the backside of your lower leg (calves).  These muscles extend from just behind the knee to your heel.   Kneed and investigate the tissue.   If you find a tender area, stay there.  
  • If using the foam roller, roll the weight of your lower leg on top of the area.   Again roll slowly and investigate.   If you find a tender area spend time rolling slowly there.
  • Trigger point therapy:   If you find a tender spot you can also stop and directly push on it for 30 seconds with your fingers, the weight of your leg on the roller, or with The Stick roller.    This works very well to ‘release’ tight spots.    
Calves - Standing Hand Massage.jpg
Derek Heintz